Coyotes opened districts with win over Harrison

BIG RAPIDS — It was evident in the first quarter that Reed City’s basketball team had a long layoff before its Class B district semifinal against Harrison.

The Coyotes, whose last game was Feb. 26, struggled shooting in the first eight minutes before turning it on in the second quarter. They drilled five 3-pointers to pull away from the Hornets and cruised to a 78-43 victory at Big Rapids High School.

“Give Harrison credit,” Reed City coach Dean McGuire said. “They were playing hard too. But yeah, the shots and the flow of the game, you can’t emulate that in practice. It was tough and showed in the beginning, and then I think our pressure wore them down and made it easier for us as the game wore on.”

The Coyotes (13-8) advanced to the title game against Big Rapids (see related story) and were hopeful of avenging two regular-season losses to the Cardinals.

“I think it’s tough to beat a team three times,” McGuire said. “We played them tough both times. They are a very talented team, but I like our team. We play hard and we scrap and we claw, knock down some threes and attack the basket. This was a good game to get under our belt to knock the rust off and now we’ll see what happens.”

Harrison’s Kenneth Haskell tied it 13-13 with a 3-pointer 30 seconds into the second quarter, but Reed City responded with a 26-4 run to end the half.

L.J. Yonkin and Andre Jones each made a pair of triples to spearhead the Coyotes’ attack.

The team finished with 11 3-pointers, led by Mykel Dillard with three. He had 11 points, while Yonkin had a team-high 13 points. Jones had 11 points, while Schuyler Smith and Trent Sturgell scored 10 points apiece.

“We have a lot of solid players,” McGuire said. “Looking at our team, we are pretty solid all the way around. We have to work hard and I thought we did that.”

Yonkin said McGuire’s message to the team was simple after the game.

“He told us to play with all of our heart and don’t take anything for granted, because this could be your last game,” Yonkin said.