Coyote girls drop heartbreaker in district finals to rival Big Rapids

REED CITY — The third time was nearly the charm for the Reed City girls basketball team against Big Rapids in Friday’s Class B district championship game at Fremont.

Reed City lost 51-50. The Coyotes had a 49-44 advantage with 3:48 to play. Big Rapids tied the score and a free throw by Alex Folkema with 11.6 seconds to play won the game.

Jordyn Mason was fouled with 1.4 seconds left but couldn’t convert even though both attempts looked good but rimmed out of the basket, and Big Rapids took the win.

Reed City ended its season at 15-8.

“Our defense was good and our looks to the basket were good,” said junior Emma Lockhart.

The Coyotes were down 15-10 after the first quarter and 21-19 at halftime. They took a 37-36 lead going into the fourth.

“I thought we had a great effort,” said Reed City coach Brian Koopman. “I thought we played our best basketeball. They wanted to play Big Rapids again. They were ready to go.”

Lockhart scored 18 points for the Coyotes followed by Amanda Steig with eight, Ally Stieg with seven and Kalee Hensel with six. Mason brought down five rebounds.

“It was probably the best game we played all year,” Lockhart said. “Despite the outcome of it, we all played together as a team.”

Reed City had won the first two games to advance to the district finals. On Wednesday the Coyotes defeated Newaygo 55-35. In that game, Kalee Hensel scored 15 points, followed by Lockhart with 13 points and Mason with 12 points. Amanda Steig followed with eight points.

The Coyotes fired out to a 37-18 lead at halftime.

Koopman pointed out that with a makeup game on Saturday, Feb. 25, and with three district games, the Coyotes played four times in seven days.

“They gave it everything they had,” Koopman said. “We were a team that started out 0-5. To finish up the way we did and take second in the (Central State Actvities Association, behind two very good teams (Morley Stanwood and Big Rapids), that’s a very good season. The kids improved as a group. They played together and they played hard.”

“It was like we were two different teams,” Lockhart said. “We came together as a team and improved a lot. We stood out a lot (in the Big Rapids game) as you can tell.”

Lockhart was in her third varsity season.

“I’ve become more comfortable with everything,” she said. “I think I’ve improved as the season went on and I got more comfortable shooting.”

The Coyotes return several key players including Lockhart, plus Kaylee and Karah Hensel.

“But we lose four seniors and two of them started for us,” Koopman said referring to Mason and Amanda Steig. “Two of them came off the bench and contributed for us.”

Kasey Miller and Ally Stieg were the two reserves mentioned by Koopman.

“Those are four seniors who will also be missed,” Koopman said.

Lockhart likes next season’s prospects.

“We’ll lose some good seniors but we’re getting some sophomores who will be juniors next year and we should do pretty good,” Lockhart said.