Johnson scores for Chatfield: 'I didn't think I was going to break the school record'
Reid Johnson has improved his game a lot of the past couple of seasons and now the Chatfield senior is on the brink of setting the school’s all-time scoring record in boys basketball.
Reid Johnson has done a lot of growing over the past four seasons for the Chatfield boys basketball team.
Johnson moved from Missouri to Chatfield with his family when he was in third grade. Six years later he was a skinny kid playing varsity basketball for the Gophers. Now the filled-out 6-foot-3 senior is set to become the Gophers’ all-time leading scorer.
“Coming out as a freshman, I didn't think I was going to break the school record,” Johnson said. “So this has all just been surreal.”
Johnson was just 26 points away from the school mark of 1,506 points heading into Thursday’s game against Kenyon-Wanamingo. He didn’t reach that point total by accident.
“He’s a gym rat,” Chatfield coach Jeff DeBuhr said. “He’s in there every second he can and he’s always improving.”
Johnson has always excelled with his mid-range jump shot, but he has really worked on his outside game over the years.
“I’d say Reid’s biggest strength is he can score at all levels,” DeBuhr said. “He’s a guy that’s capable of attacking the basket real well, he’s one of the best mid-range shooters I’ve ever coached and over the last two years his game has really grown at the 3-point line.”
Johnson is shooting 52 percent from the floor this season and a stellar 45 percent from 3-point range (39-for-87).
“I felt if I was going to play guard at the next level I was going to have to improve my perimeter shooting,” Johnson said. “And each year it has just gotten a little better. I was super happy with the end result.”
Starting QB for three seasons
His overall game has also grown over the years. This season he is averaging 22.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
“He’s filled out quite a bit and can take a lot more contact now,” DeBuhr said.
Johnson made it a mission to put on weight since his junior season. A year ago he weighed 170 pounds but after a year of solid weight lifting he is now a strapping 195.
“I feel like with all that (weight lifting), and the experience, I just feel like the game has slowed down a little bit,” Johnson said. “I don’t have to rush anything, it’s just like the game comes to me.”
Johnson, who enjoys playing video games, was thrust into a leadership role at a young age when he became Chatfield’s starting quarterback in football as a sophomore. That has carried over to basketball and he was usually tasked with trying to carry the team in past seasons.
“He’s kind of our calming presence,” DeBuhr said. “We like to play fast and when you play fast sometimes that can lead to out of control. He’s the guy that has a pretty good read for that and can kind of slow us down and get us in our comfort zone.”
During Johnson’s first three seasons on the varsity, the Gophers struggled. They were 9-17 last season, 11-14 when Johnson was a sophomore and 4-22 when he was a freshman. This year Chatfield is a very solid 9-3 and the talent of the rest of the team is on the rise.
“This is something I’ve been hoping we could build for the last four years so this is awesome,” Johnson said. “I don’t feel like I have all the same pressure I used to to take all the big shots. I’m totally comfortable with playing the second guy sometimes if somebody gets hot. I like it a lot.”
College on the horizon
Johnson will play college basketball after high school. He has narrowed his list down to three Division III colleges in Hamline, Wisconsin-Superior and Bethany Lutheran in Mankato. But with a solid supporting cast around him, Johnson is hoping the Gophers can make a run in the stacked Section 1AA tournament this season.
“I’ve never won a playoff game, so I’d like to win a playoff game,” he said. “And along with that, having the home-court advantage, as we’re set to have. I’d like that all coming together, and once we get past the first round, I hope we don’t lose after that.”
In terms of QRF rankings, Chatfield is currently eighth out of 16 teams in Section 1AA and one of 11 teams in the section with a winning record. Despite playing in a section with two ranked teams (Caledonia and Stewartville), Johnson wants his senior season to end on a high note.
“He’s one of those guys that desperately wants to win every game he plays,” DeBuhr said. “He’s highly competitive and pushes himself very well and has developed well into that leadership role.”