Coyotes race to victory
Reed City tops Morley Stanwood with balanced scoring attackREED CITY — Dean McGuire knew it was only a matter of time before his team would push the tempo the way he wanted. After struggling to find offense in transition during an 0-2 start to the season, the Reed City boys basketball team was able to fast break their way to an 83-69 win over Morley Stanwood on Monday. Even without starting big man Jacob Vincent, who was out with an illness, Reed City (1-2) had four players in double figures in a balanced scoring effort. The Coyotes were led by Ryan Willis, who scored 23 points to go with seven rebounds, Chad Samuels with 18 points, Josh Saez with 13 and Ricky Droke with 11. “I thought our guys did a nice job of pushing the pace,” McGuire said. “We have to play that way with our kids.” Both teams started hot offensively, going back and forth after Reed City took a 7-0 lead to start the game. The Mohawks’ Travis McCuaig, who had 31 points in an outstanding effort, hit a triple to cut Reed City’s lead to 16-15. Willis later closed out the quarter with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 21-21. Reed City would continue to push the pace in the second quarter, outscoring the Mohawks 21-11 to take a 42-32 lead into halftime. Willis and Droke nailed back-to-back triples to make it 30-23. Droke knocked down another 3-pointer later in the quarter to increase the lead to 36-25. Morley Stanwood (2-1) coach Josh Bull said his team was able to absorb some of the Coyotes’ offensive runs, but turnovers and an inability to keep Reed City off the offensive glass proved costly. “I think (Monday) it was to their advantage,” Bull said of the uptempo pace. “We didn’t convert as many high percentage shots as we have in the past. I thought they did a good job of keeping momentum in their favor. “We survived their first barrage and we got it back to tie it,” he added. “That second (scoring) barrage just before halftime, they did a great job of finishing off of our turnovers. I thought Reed City did a good job of making us play faster than we were ready to play.” The Coyotes didn’t let off the gas in the third quarter, even after Morley Stanwood cut the lead to 42-39 after five-straight points by McCuaig. Reed City got a huge boost following the basket, with Samuels converting on two consecutive triples to help the lead grow back to 48-39. Samuels said the shots helped Reed City regain momentum, but the open looks were the result of the Coyote post players working the offensive glass. “It was big, but it wouldn’t have happened without our post players,” he said. “They were all crashing the boards and kicking it out to us. Kyle (Wright) and Ryan Willis both did a great job.” McGuire was very happy with the work done by Willis and Wright, who finished with a team-high 13 rebounds on the night. “Jacob Vincent got sick before the game, and he’s probably our best offensive rebounder,” he said. “We’ve got three guys that can go up and get it on the offensive glass. It helps us a ton.” Reed City increased the lead to more than 20 points early in the fourth quarter, but McCuaig was nearly able to get the Mohawks back in it. After a pair of transition baskets, the senior hit a triple to cut the lead to 74-65 with less than three minutes to go. “(Travis) McCuaig really hurt us,” McGuire said. “He is quick and goes to the basket strong. We had a hard time matching up with him.” Ultimately, though, the Coyotes were able to continue enforcing their will the rest of the way. “We played two tough teams to start the season,” Samuels said. “We came out with a high energy level and executed well. We tried to put a lot of ball pressure on them and I thought that they got tired toward the fourth quarter.” Morley Stanwood is in action again on Thursday when the Mohawks host Hesperia. Reed City will travel to Holton on Thursday.