Chippewa Hills defense frustrates Reed City

REED CITY — A quick start for Chippewa Hills was a thorn in Reed City's side for the second time this season.

A stingy defense ignited the Warriors to 10-2 and 19-6 quarter leads over the Coyotes and Chippewa Hills (8-8, 5-7) was able to hold off Reed City (4-12, 4-8) in a 51-36 Central State Activities Association Gold Division boys basketball win on Friday.

"We came out uptempo on defense and were switching up front," Chippewa Hills coach Eric McArthur said. "We were communicating real well."

Spencer MacKenzie had a 3-pointer in the first quarter, plus five points in the second to help the Warrior offense give the visitors the early lead.

The Coyote offense came alive in the second half, but so did the Warriors at critical times. Reed City's Zac Saez had a 3-pointer and steal off a layup to cut it to 29-23. It was 31-25 after three quarters.

"I told them we weren't playing bad by any means," Reed City coach JJ Eads said. "We were getting good shots. I thought their shot selection was good. Defensively, we held them to 19 points in the first half. You have to take that in varsity basketball. We were getting good shots. It's not like we were turning it over left and right."

Reed City's Brandon Evans tipped in a shot early in the fourth to cut the lead to 33-29. But Cade Schafer hit three straight 3-pointers to put the Warriors back in command.

"He just got on a roll," McArthur said of Schafer. "They went box-and one with Seth MacKenzie's man and Cade was open. He was able to knock them down."

"We keyed in on MacKenzie there, put a box-and-one on him  and it worked for a few possessions," Eads said. "Schafer hit his shots. It was his night, give him props for it. That was a big momentum swing."

Mitch Kuzma hit a free throw at 1:16 for a 48-36 Warrior advantage.

MacKenzie's 3-point play with 40 seconds remaining sealed the win with a 51-36 lead.

"I thought it was a great team win," Chippewa Hills senior Brett Walcutt said. "We moved the ball well and hit our shots. We came out intense right out of the gate."

Chippewa Hills defeated Reed City 74-55 earlier this season and also got off to a strong start in that game, forcing the Coyotes to play catchup.

On Friday, Reed City is home with Central Montcalm in CSAA Gold action.