Coyotes girls set to close regular season

REED CITY — It’s the final week of the regular season for the Reed City girls basketball team which plays at home Friday night against Lakeview before entering Class B district play next week.

Alex Donley and Ally Stieg are among the Coyotes who have made some key contributions from off the bench.

Donley is a junior for the Coyotes, who has been nursing a sore knee but has still participated in every game.

It’s her first varsity season. “I’m getting used to it now,” she said. “I’m at a wing. I pass pretty well.”

Her best scoring game was nine points in the team’s first game against Hesperia. She said she’s improved “a lot” since the season started in November.

“I’m understanding the plays and working (well) with the team,” Donley said. “We’re playing better as a team now than we did at the beginning of the year. We’re passing more to each other than shooting.”

Looking ahead, “we need to shoot more and take it to (the basket),” she said.

Stieg is a senior playing for the Reed City varsity. She’s a transfer from Florida in her first basketball season although she did move in time to play softball last spring for the Coyotes.

“They do things a lot differently (in Florida),” she said. “They don’t like to run the ball as much. They like to go down and get things set up. Here, we like to run the ball, especially because we’re not tall. There, it’s all about the inside game. It’s all about getting the ball in to the big girls. Here, it’s whatever you find open.”

Stieg said she’s been able to fit in nicely to the Coyote lineup.

“Everybody gets along great. We’ve played AAU basketball together,” she said. “Everyone knows everyone’s style. I’ve played basketball with them in the past.”

Stieg indicated she’d like to improve her play. Both of her games against Chippewa Hills were strong, plus one against Central Montcalm. She scored seven Friday against Chippewa Hills.

“We started out slow,” she said. “We’re working at the little things every week. I think we play every well together.”

Next Monday, Reed City plays at Fremont against the host school in the district opener.

“In districts, we plan to run the ball and have a fast game,” Stieg said. “We need to go there ready to play. We hope to come out strong and make a run in the tournament.”

The Coyotes, who played at White Cloud Tuesday night, defeated Chippewa Hills 77-39 Friday night, taking advantage of 20 Warrior turnovers in the first half. Emma Lockhart netted 25 points for the winners while Kalee Hensel added 11 points.

“I thought we put a pretty good game together,” said Reed City coach Brian Koopman. “I thought we ran a good game plan. We got good looks in the transition. We got a lot of play off our bench, tuning up for districts. We did a good job of crashing the boards offensively. We did a good job of boxing out. We did a lot of good things.”

Koopman noted that the Coyotes have struggled against White Cloud on the road in the past.

“Lakeview is a scrappy team and will throw different looks at you,” Koopman said. “One thing we’re seeing is a lot of match-up zone. Our kids have done a nice job of recognizing the zone, seeing what they’re in and realizing what they have to do. Our kids are doing a good job finding the open man to making a good pass. These two games will help us for districts. Fremont and Newaygo use a lot of zone.”