REED CITY — Undefeated Big Rapids comes to Reed City Thursday night and the Coyotes are hoping for better fortunes this time against the Cardinals in Central State Activities Association boys basketball action.

In the league opener last December, Big Rapids had a 29-12 halftime lead and moved it to 48-14 after the third quarter, en route to a 59-36 win.

“We can’t be scared,” said Reed City senior Ryan Willis. “We were scared the first time, we had a lot of juniors. I  think we’ll come out and play well.”

The Coyotes will bid to have four solid quarters against the Cardinals.

“They can hit the threes. We have to get a hand up and not turn it over,” Willis said.

Being home will help, Willis indicated, Reed City coach Dean McGuire agreed

“Anytime you have a couple of juniors starting for the first time at the varsity level and you go into the Big Rapids gym and they do a great job of bringing out a large crowd and being loud, we were intimidated,” McGuire said. “Most of the games, Big Rapids gets off to a huge start, that will be crucial for us to settle in the first five minutes and see how things go.”

Willis netted 18 points in Monday’s 73-37 win over White Cloud. That was his second high of the season.

Willis had 23 points vs. Morley Stanwood

The Coyote senior said he is working on his dribbling and “helping the team break the press.”

Meanwhile, the Coyotes hope to soon get everyone healthy including senior Ricky Droke, who had recent surgery but might be back within a week.

Droke, in his senior season, said his role has been to shoot and hustle on defense.

“At the beginning of the season we were a little rusty but in practices we’re doing really good,” Droke said. “Our press is really good.”

If the Coyotes can boost that shooting percentage, Droke, speaking after the recent loss at Lakeview, likes his team’s chances in upcoming games.

Since the Reed City gym was not usable this week because of smoke damage from a New Year’s Eve fire, the Coyotes played at Chippewa Hills that week instead of home, as scheduled.

“It will be better toward the end of the season because we’ll have more home games,” Droke said.