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No one sees slump for this Poway sophomore

12/26/2015, 3:00pm PST
By Michael Bower

Added muscle in the offseason helps standout battle under the boards

Zach Reiter helped Poway win the Granite Hills tournament title with 26 points in the final.

— Zach Reiter paused and thought. After a few moments, the Poway High sophomore still couldn’t find the exact words to describe his passion for basketball.

“I am not sure how to explain it,” he said. “I just love playing it.”

Watch Reiter on the court and there’s really no need to have him put it into words. The 6-foot-2 guard’s love for the game comes pouring out. Those around him can not only see it, they can feel it.

“His passion for basketball is obvious,” Poway coach Scott Fisher said. “He plays with such great energy and maturity. His game is improving and it is fun to watch.”

Reiter played big-time minutes as a freshman on the varsity last year. He was more of a role player with Dalton Soffer and Matt Beeler leading the way. Now that those two have graduated, Reiter has taken on a new responsibility for the Titans.

“This year I have had to step up as a leader on defense and offense and other stuff,” Reiter said. “It is a role I am really enjoying.”

And excelling in as well.

“His maturity on the court and in the classroom has really improved from last year to this year,” Fisher said. “And because of that, his voice is now being heard and he is viewed as a leader.”

Reiter and the Titans have gotten off to a fast start. Poway began the week 9-2, including a 62-59 victory over Morse in the championship game of the Granite Hills Eagle Invitational. That win avenged a season-opening 62-59 loss to Morse.

“We were really disappointed when we lost the first time we played them,” said Reiter, who had a season-high 26 points and seven rebounds in the championship game. “We were pumped to play them and it felt good to finally get them.”

Reiter scored from all over the floor in the win. He was getting easy putbacks on offensive rebounds, he was driving and finishing at the rim and he displayed an improved jump shot.

“He was huge in the championship game,” Fisher said. “He is really hard to guard because he can score in transition, he can hit the 3, he can drive and he can get offensive rebounds. So, he is a really tough matchup.”

Coming up big in big games is nothing new to Reiter. He made the game-winning basket in the final seconds last season to help Poway beat Rancho Bernardo in a thriller.

“I just take it to another level in those big games,” Reiter said. “A different kind of competitor comes out. I feel like if the team needs me I can be there for a big stop or if they need a basket I can provide that for them.”

Reiter worked hard in the weight room in the offseason to ensure he could play with the bigs inside. As a result, his 195-pound frame allows him to hold his own in the paint.

“He has really strong legs and he is hard to move,” Fisher said. “When he gets bumped he is able to control his body through contact because of his strength. That was a big emphasis through our whole program in the offseason — to improve strength and conditioning. I think we are bigger, faster and stronger this year and we are hoping it pays dividends.”

It has thus far for Poway and especially Reiter. He is averaging nearly 15 points and six rebounds per game. He thinks the Titans can surprise everyone with a deep run in the Division I playoffs.

“I definitely think we can,” he said. “I think the sky’s the limit for us.”

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