Cards take control in win over Reed City
BIG RAPIDS — The game plan was simple — get the ball to Kendra Enszer. The trouble was, the Big Rapids senior was sitting on the bench with two fouls. When Enszer did return to the court to begin the second half, she was a force, scoring 17 of her game-high 19 points in the third and fourth quarters and lifting the Cardinals to a 63-52 girls basketball victory over Reed City at Big Rapids High School. The Cardinals are now 12-0 overall and 10-0 in the Central State Activities Association. The Coyotes fall to 9-3 overall and 8-2 in the league. Enszer opened the game with a bucket from a pass from Makayla Hayes. But two minutes and two fouls later, Enszer found herself on the bench. “It was tough, all you can do is sit there and cheer on your teammates,” Enszer said. With Enszer on the bench, which eventually see Kasey Woodworth and Hayes in foul trouble as well, the Cardinals struggled offensively. Big Rapids managed just two field goals in the first quarter and four for the first half. Meanwhile, Reed City, which managed only one bucket in the opening quarter, found its groove late in the first half, going on an 8-2 run to take a 23-18 halftime lead. “In the first half, we had some players step up and hit some shots,” Reed City coach Brian Koopman said. “I think both teams were revved up a little too much in the first half.” The offenses came alive in the second half. With Enszer back on the floor, the Cardinals found their groove, going on a 9-0 run midway through the third quarter to take a 31-27 lead. The Coyotes responded before the end of the stanza with a 10-2 run of its own as the two teams were tied at 37-37 going into the fourth quarter. Reed City was paced by Emma Lockhart with 12 points, while Kalee Hensel and Tia Lintemuth added 11 points apiece. Makenzie Switzer tallied 10 points. Haist was pleased with the defensive effort on Lockart and Hensel, playing a triangle-and-two throughout the contest. “We inverted the triangle in the second half and I think it was an enough of an adjustment that it worked,” Haist said. “Lockart and Hensel definitely have the ability to go off.” The inverted triangle, which put the two defenders near the free throw line, gave open shots to the Coyotes players on the baseline. Reed City had only two field goals from other than Hensel and Lockhart in the fourth quarter. “If somebody is giving you 8- to 10-foot shots, you have to make them,” Koopman said. “But when you get behind and the pressure is on, it makes it more challenging.” Big Rapids continued to get the ball to the bucket between Enszer and Shannan Thompson, who tallied 12 points, many of which came from driving the lane in the fourth quarter. Elizabeth Nonhof and Taylor Leach each finished with 11 points. “(Thompson) takes steps each game,” Haist said. “A lot of it is just understanding the game. Sometimes being a freshman, she feels overwhelms.” The Cardinals would lead by scores of 50-41 and 58-47 before the final outcome. “This was a game of streaks,” Koopman said. “We would get up five to seven points and then they would go up five to seven points. Basketball is a game of momentum and they had the last momentum swing.” The Big Rapids junior varsity team won, 32-29, against Reed City. Chloe Kinnally tallied 13 points, while Reba Bowen netted seven for the Cardinals. Reed City was paced by Megan Donley with 11 points. Big Rapids is in action Tuesday when it travels to Hesperia. Reed City will entertain Morley Stanwood.