Big second half lifts Reed City past Morley Stanwood
MORLEY — With a pair of talented seniors in Kalee Hensel and Emma Lockhart handling the ball regularly, Reed City girls basketball coach Brian Koopman knows teams will look to take those two players out of the offense on a regular basis. That was the case for the Coyotes (2-2, 1-1) during the first half against Morley Stanwood on Tuesday, as the Mohawks uses a triangle and two defense — a hybrid of man-to-man pressure and zone defense — to limit the duo as Reed City went into the half with a slim 24-20 lead. Koopman didn’t panic, knowing his team practices against the defense regularly and made the proper adjustments in taking down the Mohawks, 57-37. “We worked against a triangle and two before this season and I think we got some good looks in the second half,” he said. “We’re going to see more of that, so we need to know how to break it.” Hensel finished with 19 points to lead the Coyotes to their first win over Morley Stanwood (2-2, 1-1) in six years, while Lockhart scored five points and dished out three assists in the second half after being held scoreless in the first 16 minutes. “We set a lot of screens against the triangle and two to try to get my sister and Emma (Lockhart) open,” said Karah Hensel, who scored nine points while grabbing nine rebounds. “Tia (Lintemuth) was able to roll off the screens and ended up being wide open.” Morley Stanwood coach Bob Raven said he knew the key to slowing down the Coyotes would be containing Lockhart and Hensel. He was happy with how his team defended in the first half, but turnovers and defensive lapses in the second half proved costly. “I thought we executed our game plan pretty well,” he said. “We knew we had to keep the score low. I really liked where we were at, down 24-20. In the second half, they went to the foul line a lot, our inexperience showed a bit and their experience showed. Their senior guards took over on us.” Morley Stanwood played fast offensively to start the game, with guard Brett Chesebro, who led the Mohawks with 14 points, getting the ball up the floor in transition. A jumper by Lindsey Veersma gave the Mohawks a 10-6 lead early. Kalee Hensel found Jacolyn Mullins on a look inside to close out the quarter with the score tied at 12-12. The score remained tight throughout the second quarter, with Natalie Westhoff adding a 3-point play to give the Coyotes a 20-19 lead. Westhoff then found Karah Hensel for a bucket inside to give Reed City a 22-19 lead. Reed City began to break down the Morley Stanwood defense in the third quarter, setting screens for both Lockhart and Hensel to get more open looks. That opened things up on the interior, while the Coyotes’ defense stifled Morley Stanwood’s ball handlers. “In the second half we went to man-to-man and that changed the outlook of the game by putting more pressure on them and causing some turnovers,” Koopman said. “From there, I thought we were able to get out in transition and get some open looks.” Karah Hensel added a putback off an offensive rebound to make it 28-22, before Lockhart hit a triple to increase the lead to 35-26. Kalee Hensel said the game plan in the second half began to equate to getting the ball inside off of guard penetration. “(Karah Hensel) and Tia (Lintemuth) were wide open when they were posting up,” she said. “Morley Stanwood doesn’t have a lot of tall girls, so we got them the ball on the inside. “It feels really good, because we haven’t won against them in six years,” she added. “Especially coming off the loss to Big Rapids, it was nice to get back on the winning side.” Reed City also got eight points apiece from Westhoff and Mullins in the win, while Morley Stanwood got five points and nine rebounds from Mekayla Carey. Westhoff added a team-high 11 rebounds in the win. Reed City is in action again on Friday when the Coyotes host Holton. Morley Stanwood takes on Hesperia on Friday in a road contest. View more photos from this game at our photo gallery!