BIG RAPIDS — Pesky defense right from the opening tipoff Friday night paved the way for the Big Rapids Cardinals girls basketball team to stay undefeated in the Central State Activities Association Gold Division.

The Cardinals fired out to a 25-5 halftime lead and went on to a 41-19 win over Reed City.

Big Rapids is 4-0 in the CSAA and 4-4 overall. Reed City is 0-4 and 0-9.

“It’s nice to come out to a quick start and keep the intensity the whole game,” Big Rapids coach Jessica Haist said. “I’m proud of the kids. They played hard the whole game. They had a good week of practice and made a couple of adjustments and it paid off. It’s a good team win.”

The Cardinals pestered Reed City ball handlers, consistently slapping the ball away in the first half and causing several turnovers.

Aliza Hengesbach scored six points in the first quarter to ignite the Cards to a 13-2 lead. The press continued to haunt Reed City in the second quarter as Reba Bowen and Alexis Lyman both tossed in a pair of threes. Hannah Price hit Reed City’s only field goal in the half and had four points.

Big Rapids continued its domination in the second half, which Lyman opened with another 3-pointer. Emily Libey scored off the glass for the Coyotes at 3:08, but Big Rapids was up 32-7. Hunt’s basket moments later made it 34-7. Megan Donley followed with a 3-pointer for Reed City.

It was 35-10 after three quarters. Price, who led Reed City with eight points, had an outside jumper and a layup off a steal in the fourth.

“The first part of the game we were real nervous,” Reed City coach Brian Koopman said. “We came out and didn’t attack. We just sat back. They got out in the transition on us and we didn’t get back. That was really the difference of the game in the first half.”

Hunt and Bowen had 11 points apiece for Big Rapids.

“When we ran things and did them, we looked good,” Koopman said. “We’re young. For some it’s the first time playing Big Rapids on the varsity level. There were some nerves and that definitely hurt us.”

Reed City is home Friday against Chippewa Hills and Tuesday against Manistee.