Big Rapids captures second straight district title
BIG RAPIDS — All Reed City boys basketball coach Dean McGuire could do was tip his hat. The Coyotes did exactly what they wanted Friday night, but it still wasn’t enough as Big Rapids walked away with its second straight Class B district title, 58-42, at Big Rapids High School. “That’s when you know you are a good team,” McGuire said. “We played like we wanted and they still beat us.” Reed City slowed the tempo down for the first three quarters, being patient with the basketball and trying to work the ball into the paint to Jake Vincent, Ryan Willis and Kyle Wright. It proved to be the right formula, though the Coyotes never led in the game. Vincent finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Wright netted 12 points and 12 boards. “(Vincent) and their other big kids killed us down low,” Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said. “We wanted to contain (Chad) Samuels and I thought we did, but their bigs took it to us.” Though the style of play wasn’t quite the way the Cardinals have been playing all year — uptempo 94-feet — it didn’t bother players like Quinn Tyson, who finished with 11 points. Nick Baldwin led Big Rapids with 18 points and Dario Williams netted 12. Jake Daugherty and Tyler Pellerito each finished with eight points. “I feel like we played at a high level, even though the tempo was slowed,” Tyson said. Big Rapids led 10-4 at the end of the first quarter, but watched Reed City close to within 13-12 in the second quarter. The Coyotes would close to 26-23 early in the third quarter, but every time Reed City made a run, the Cardinals answered with a bucket. “This was a hard-fought game,” Daugherty said. “Our guards really played great.” The biggest Big Rapids’ run came at the end of the game. Reed City trimmed its deficit to 46-42 with four minutes remaining after trailing by as may as 14 points late in the third quarter and forcing a Big Rapids timeout. But the Coyotes would not score the rest of the game and the Cardinals tallied the last 12 points for the final outcome. “I told the kids that we got to the top of the hill and got back in the game, then we go back down,” McGuire said. “Give Big Rapids credit. They went 1-3-1, 1-2-2, press, no press and it really messed our rhythm on offense.” Ingles said the key to the runs was not the play of the guards like Williams, Baldwin and Tyson, but Pellerito. “He’s our energy guy,” Ingles said. “When (Reed City) would make runs, he was on the bench in foul trouble and they would come back. When (Pellerito) was in there, he would run the court and get lay-ups.” Big Rapids advances to Monday’s regional semifinal contest at Fremont High School where it will face Alma.