REED CITY — Reed City stayed on the proper path toward its hopes for a Central State Activities Association title in boys basketball with two solid victories last week in league play.

The Coyotes made it 2-0 for the season against Big Rapids with a 47-42 win last Friday at home to improve to 7-2 in the league, with six conference games to play.

It wasn’t easy against Big Rapids, which took a 38-36 lead with 2:46 to play. Two straight 3-point shots by Dakota Saez helped the Coyotes take control of the game. Saez had 14 points and made four triples during the contest. Reed City netted 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch.

“Limiting Big Rapids to 42 points was a pretty huge boost,” said Reed City coach Jesse Kailing. “I thought we shot the ball well. We made a lot of progress with offensive execution, which we want to do.”

Holmquist led the Coyotes with 19 points, 10 boards and five assists.

“Against Lakeview, the kids finally got back on track,” Kailing said. “We really took it to Lakeview.”

The Coyotes defeated Lakeview 57-39, led by Holmquist with 19 points, Saez with 16 and Chad Samuels with 10. It was 39-33 Coyotes after the third quarter.

“Lakeview has a good team and we came out in the first half and played a complete game against them and came out with a win,” said Jake Vincent, a Reed City junior. “Big Rapids is our biggest rival. We obviously tried to come out hard against them and it was a good game all the way to the end.”

The Coyotes came out of last week one game behind first place Morley Stanwood, which is 8-1 in the league.

“It’s still really tight,” Kailing said.

This past Tuesday, the Coyotes took on Hesperia on the road. This Friday night, they are home against Holton in CSAA action.

“Hesperia has a new coach and is rebuilding,” Kailing said. “Our game with Holton was (tough) at their place. Hopefully, we’ll play better at our place.”

“I think the first 10 games we played we were a little slow starting off,” Vincent said. “After the Big Rapids game, I think we’re going to finish off the rest of the season strong. Every team has good players. You have to rebound the ball.”

Rebounding the ball and getting putbacks has been among Vincent’s roles for the Coyotes. It’s his first varsity season.

“I’ve been playing pretty decent,” he said. “I have to step it up and fill my role a little better.”

For the rest of Reed City’s contests, “we want to start the game out strong,” Vincent said. “The first half of the season, we came out flat at times. We want to try to put the game away in the first half and come out stronger in the second half.”

GIRLS

It was almost a perfect week also for the Reed City girls who came up short in their rematch Friday against Big Rapids. The Coyotes fell to 6-3 in the CSAA and 7-6 overall with a 54-47 loss to the Cardinals.

Reed City led 22-17 with a minute left in the first half, before Big Rapids scored nine straight points. But Reed City led 35-32 after the third quarter. Big Rapids responded with a 22-12 scoring edge in the fourth.

“It was a real good high school girls basketball game,” said Reed City coach Brian Koopman. “The two teams went out there and played hard. It’s too bad one team had to lose. Basketball is a game of spurts. They had the spurt at the end and hung on to win.”

Kalee Hensel had a big game for Reed City with 23 points, followed by Emma Lockhart with seven points and nine assists.

“The kids gave everything they’ve got,” Koopman said. “They did a super job. Maybe we’ll have a chance to see them in districts again like we did last year.”

Hensel also had a big night against Lakeview in a 66-45 win with 20 points and five rebounds, followed by Lockhart with 14 points, five assists and five steals and Jordy Mason with 10 points and six rebounds.

“Kalee Hensel I think is one of the better shooters in the area and doesn’t get a lot of respect other kids get,” Koopman said. “She gives you 110 percent. She’s not afraid to shoot the ball. She has a quick release and a nice form.”

Karah Hensel had seven points, followed by Kasey Miller and Allyson Stieg with five points apiece.

“Against Lakeview we played really good together,” Lockhart said. “Against Big Rapids, we came out hard in the second half but couldn’t get our shots to fall.”

Reed City was at Hesperia Tuesday and is home Friday against Holton.

But Lockhart indicated the Coyotes are still playing very well right now.

“We’ve (improved) a lot since our first game,” she said. “We want to improve on everything, get our shots to fall and work on our press.”