REED CITY — Cadillac’s John Simons is going to garner a lot of attention from opposing teams this boys basketball season.

The senior is a four-year varsity player and has committed to Central Michigan.

And after scoring 14 points in the first half against Reed City, Coyotes coach Jesse Kailing knew there had to be a change.

So at halftime, Reed City went to a diamond-and-one defense, giving the assignment to Chad Samuels to chase Simons all over the court.

Samuels was effective and the Coyotes made a comeback. In the end, the deficit Reed City was in was too much to overcome in a 54-42 loss to the Vikings on Tuesday night in the opener for both teams.

“We practiced (the defense) just for John because he had big games the last two years,” Kailing said. “(Tuesday) wasn’t any different. I actually thought we did a good job with it

“I thought they were frustrated and got them out of rhythm. The problem was we were too far behind to catch up.,” he continued.

Reed City tried to press Cadillac in the opening stages, but fell behind 13-5 as the Vikings were able to get the ball in Simons’ hands in the middle of the floor. Simons then was able to get to the basket or pass to open teammates.

“We would like to be a pressing team, but I don’t know if we will,” Kailing said. “We Simons in the middle, he made great decisions with the ball.”

The Coyotes used the first half switching defenses from man-to-man to zones. Cadillac was able to adjust to each of them, taking a 32-22 halftime lead.

Coming out of halftime, the Coyotes went to their diamond-and-one, which kept Simons off the scorebook. Reed City trailed 38-31 at the end of the third quarter.

“Reed City kept switching defenses and they kind of gimmicked us in the third,” Cadillac coach Jeff McDonald said. “It slowed us down a lot.”

The Coyotes trimmed the deficit to three, 43-40 after Jared Holmquist hit a pair of free throws with 2:43 remaining in the contest.

“Offensively, we have a long ways to go,” Kailing said. “We didn’t get into a flow. We were really choppy.”

Holmquist led Reed City with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Dakota Saez chipped in 12 points, while Samuels netted 10.

The Vikings closed the game on a 10-2 run, aided by going 7-of-8 from the charity stripe to pull out the win. Simons tallied 24 points and 13 boards. Isaac Baker added 12 points for Cadillac.

Defensively, Kailing was quite pleased with how the team played, especially in the second half.

“We gave up 22 points in the second half and a lot of those were on free throws where we had to foul,” Kailing said. “We didn’t give up many field goals.”

Reed City is in action Friday when it travels to Big Rapids.

CADILLAC 54, REED CITY 42

Cadillac 23 9 6 16 — 54

Reed City 11 11 9 11 — 42

Cadillac (1-0)

Jalen Brooks 2 0-1 4, Isaac Baker 5 2-2 12, Wyatt Lucas 0(1) 4-4 7, John Simons 7(1) 7-12 24, Ben Mackey 0 0-2 0, Tyler DeKryger 3 1-1 7, Totals 17(2) 14-22 54.

Reed City (0-1)

Dakota Saez 3(2) 0-0 12, Chad Samuels 2(2) 0-0 10, Garrett Benson 0 1-2 1, Ricky Droke 1 0-0 2, Jared Holmquist 4(1) 6-7 17, Totals 10(5) 7-9 42.

Rebounds—Cadillac 30 (Simons 13), Reed City 24 (Holmquist 13). Assists — Cadillac 7 (Simons 3), Reed City 9 (Holmquist 4).