REED CITY — Trent Sturgell scored 21 points while Karsten Koopman added 12 and Cody Kailing added 11 in Friday's CSAA 67-59 loss to Central Montcalm for Reed City (4-14, 4-10).

It was the CSAA finale for both teams

“I thought the kids battled hard,” Reed City coach JJ Eads said. “Central Montcalm shot 40 free throws.”

Meanwhile, it was a struggle for about 2 ½ quarters for the Big Rapid Cardinals, who finally broke loose from archrival Reed City and fired away to a 60-35 victory, which clinched the Central State Activities Association Gold Division boys basketball title outright on Feb. 22

Demetri Martin scored 17 points while Austin Jennings added 11 and Braeden Childress scored 10 for Big Rapids (16-1,13-0). Trent Sturgell led Reed City (4-13, 4-9) with 16 points and Koopman added nine.

It was a far different than January in Reed City when the Cardinals had a 94-56 dominating win.

"Overall, I'm pleased with the effort, hanging on with one of the top teams in the state for 20 some minutes,"Eads said. "That's pretty good for us. They've got too many athletes, too many good ballplayers over there. We couldn't get some of those bunnies around the basket to fall."

The Cardinals struggled offensively in the first quarter, but netted two 3-pointers from Jennings and led 12-9 going into the second. Sturgell hit key baskets to keep the Coyotes within contention. A 3-pointer by Martin upped the Cardinal lead to 22-13. Both teams continued to struggle offensively with Big Rapids leading 22-15 at halftime.

"We just aren't aggressive offensively sometimes," Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said. "We stand around. Part of it  was this is the first time we've had everybody back in about six games. We adjusted to what's going on. We were a little slow."

It was 26-21 midway in the third quarter before Big Rapids caught fire and went on a 20-3 run to take control of the game. Sturgell's 3-pointer at 5:40 stopped the Cardinal streak and cut the lead to 46-27.

"I like what I saw from Trent tonight," Eads said."We have to stay out of foul trouble. We have to get better everyday."

When Christian Hector scored at 2:50, it was 54-35, Cardinals.

It was the final home game for four Cardinal seniors: Jennings, Hector, Martin and Morrissey. Jennings had three huge 3-pointers for the Cardinals.

"He's a shooter and can shoot the ball," Ingles said. "He's come a long way. I'm happy for him. He's a good kid and works hard. Against the zone, he's a zone buster. He takes some pressure off of Demetri."