Clare blows by Reed City to reach district final
REED CITY — Some hot shooting from Clare guard Lindsay Winter and a first half scoring drought from Reed City spelled the end of the season for the Coyotes in a 61-35 loss in district semifinal action on Wednesday.
The junior all-state guard was as advertised in the win over the Coyotes, scoring 19 points to go with eight rebounds and nine assists in helping the Pioneers (20-1) to a commanding 35-13 halftime lead. Clare will face Big Rapids (22-0) in the district final at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Both teams came out playing with a high level of energy, trading baskets to make it 7-7, the Pioneers went on a 23-4 run that lasted throughout most of the second quarter to stun the Coyotes, thank in part to Winter, who hit three 3-pointers during the stretch.
“They’re a good team — well balanced with kids who can shoot from the outside and a really good point guard that can penetrate and shoot,” Reed City coach Brian Koopman said. “ They've got a girl that cleans up on the boards, they’re just a good team. They play a tough match-up zone, and if you’re not on, it’s going to be tough.”
Clare coach Matt Rodenbo said the run was keyed by his team settling in, while Winter facilitated the offense.
“Lindsay is Lindsay — she’s obviously a huge key to our team,” he said. “She’s got tremendous range and she’s got the green light on those shots, because she’s going to hit a lot of them.
“She played a great game defensively (Wednesday),” he added. “A lot of people just know about her offense, but in our conference she’s an all-defensive team player as well.”
In the meantime, the run deflated Reed City’s spirits and carried over into the second half, Koopman said.
“At one time it was (7-7) we were right there in the game,” he said. “We got it back to within four, but then all of a sudden it was 22-11 and then 27-11. They hit a few big threes and we were just out of sync for the rest of the half.”
Reed City was simply out of sync offensively throughout most of the evening, feeling the effects of playing without senior Kalee Hensel, who was lost for the season during the regular season finale.
“I feel bad for Kalee, because we've been scouting Reed City for most of the winter,” Rodenbo said. “She’s a tremendous competitor, and to have that happen during her senior year, I really feel bad for her. It does change things — it let us focus in a little more on (Emma) Lockhart, basically.”
Lockhart, who finished with eight points and five rebounds, fought hard to lead the charge for the Coyotes, but any chance Reed City had of getting back into the game in the third quarter was voided by some missed opportunities, including some misses shots inside, Koopman said.
“I thought especially in the second half we had some nice looks, they just weren't falling for us,” he said. “It was one of those games where they were shooting hot and we weren't We came out in the second half, had four easy lay-ups, and we missed all of them.”
Clare also got solid contributions from Courtney English, who had 13 points, while Corrine Wezensky scored 10 points to go with 11 rebounds.
Reed City was led by Karah Hensel with nine points, while Makenzie Switzer and Alaina Woodard each had five.
CLARE 61, REED CITY 35
CL 19 16 14 12 — 61
RC 9 4 10 12 — 35
Reed City (17-4)
Emma Lockhart 4 0-0 8, Natalie Westhoff 1 0-0 2, Makenzie Switzer 1(1) 0-2 5, Alaina Woodard 1(1) 0-2 5, Alex Donley 1 0-0 2, Karah Hensel 4 1-2 9, Tia Lintemuth 1 2-2 4.
Lindsay Winter 4(3) 2-3 19, Alex Stark 1(1) 0-0 5, Melissa Benchley 0(1) 1-2 4, Ashley Petree 2 0-0 4, Courtney English 5(1) 0-0 13, Kodi Humphrey 2 0-0 4, Liz Fancon 1 0-0 2, Corrine Wezensky 5 0-0 10.