Big Rapids edges Reed City in last week's game

Coyotes can't hold the lead

Steve  Ernst



File photo

REED CITY – A typical Big Rapids-Reed City boys basketball game: down to the wire.

The visiting Cardinals overcame a 37-20 third quarter deficit and 6-of-18 free-throw shooting to pull out a 50-48 win over the Coyotes on Monday.

Jack Ruggles scored 22 points for Big Rapids and had the game-winning triple with 17 seconds left, while Mason Dunn put in 13 and Demarcus Lee added nine to lead the Cardinal rally.

Reed City was up 25-18 at halftime as it was nearly a full house at RCHS as anticipated with a highly-intense rivalry game.

“It was a matter of sticking to the plan and gritting it out,” Ruggles said. “We were down on ourselves in the first half. Our coach told us we had to stay with it and we did and we got a comeback.”

Seth Jackson netted a triple to give the Coyotes a 12-9 lead going into the second quarter. Max Hammond scored for a 14-0 lead. Spencer Hansen’s triple made it 19-13. The Cardinals were struggling to connect and Jackson went from baseline to baseline for a 23-19 lead.

Big Rapids’ offensive struggles continued in the third quarter and Reed City took advantage. It was a 12-2 run capped off by Canyon Reed’s basket inside at 3:34 for a 37-20 lead. Ruggles had a triple and basket to cut it to 37-25. Xander Prince’s basket made it 37-27. Jackson broke the string with a Coyote basket. Mason Dunn closed the quarter for BR with a basket to make it 39-31 going into the fourth.

Reed picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth with Reed City up 41-32. Lee scored with five minutes to go to cut the RC lead to 43-38. Ruggles scored moments later for a 3-point game. Lee’s free-throw made it 43-41. Ruggles’ triple made it 44-43 at 3:01 for BR’s first lead since the first quarter. 

The battle to the finish was on. Lee hit a free throw for a 47-45 BR lead at 1:20. Dunn was at the line moments later but missed two. Reed fouled out at 1:17.

Hansen nailed a triple from the corner for a 48-47 Reed City lead with 41 seconds to play before Ruggles connected on a triple for a 50-48 BR lead.

“I knew there was quite a bit of game left and we had to keep going and finish it out,” Ruggles said.

Jackson was at the line but Reed City was called for a foul, giving BR the ball with 6.9 seconds to go. Mason Dunn was at the line but missed two. Jackson went to the line with 3.5 seconds to go. He missed his shot but RC got the out-of-bounds call at 2.6 seconds. Reed City got a shot off but couldn’t connect as time expired.

“It was a good fight and we could have done better at the start,” Gammons said. “At halftime. We were doubting ourselves but got a pep talk from our coach and put it in gear.”

The free-throw woes were perplexing for BR.

“We’re shooting 80 percent from the free-throw line,” Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said. “For that to happen...The emotions are high. They rode the emotions in the first half and we rode them in the second.”

“Big Rapids switched into more of a man vs. 3-2, otherwise that was the only thing that was different,” Reed City junior Xavier Allen said of the second half.

“We talked before the game about keeping BR off the free-throw line,” Reed City coach Steve Ernst said. “Unfortunately, we are not the same team when Reed fouls out and you can’t press the same way when the other team is in the double bonus that fast. I need to manage the style of game we are allowed to play better.”

Jackson had 18 points, Reed 12, Hansen 11, Max Hammond five and Ty Kailing two for the hosts. T