Coyotes secure CSAA title, eye district success

REED CITY — The Class B boys basketball districts come to the Reed City gym next week with the Coyotes hoping to take aim at another title.

Reed City plays at Shelby on Thursday to close out the regular season. On Monday, March 5, the Coyotes are home against Newaygo to open the Class B districts.

“Shelby’s a very good team, it will be a good one for us to get ready for districts,” Reed City coach Jesse Kailing said. “We’re probably not going to play a team in our district as big as Shelby will be. It will be a nice warmup for the district.”

“We just need to keep playing hard,” Reed City senior Dakota Saez said. “If we come out and play hard, a lot of good things happen for us.”

It didn’t take long for the Reed City Coyotes to lay a claim on at least a share of the Central State Activities Association title.

The Coyotes fired out to a 19-4 scoring advantage in the second quarter to make a competitive game a runaway and defeated Lakeview 79-45 on Saturday.

With their 10th straight win, the Coyotes not only improved to 16-3 but ended the CSAA season at 14-2 to clinch at least a share of the title. Big Rapids, 13-2, needed to beat Chippewa Hills on Tuesday to lay its own claim to the title.

“I would really like to go back and play Big Rapids again to see who really is the conference champ,” Kailing said. “‘Basically is what it comes down to is that they took care of their side and we took care of our side. You have to give Big Rapids a lot of credit. I congratulate them on a good season. Ourselves, we did a nice job. We started out kind of rough this year. We really put it together and started playing good defense. Hopefully, we can continue that into the (district) tournament.”

Chad Samuels scored 22 points and dished out five assists while Jared Holmquist netted 15 points for the Coyotes.

“We didn’t miss a lot (of shots) so there weren’t a lot of rebounds, to be honest with you,” Kailing said while looking at his stat sheet.

Seniors playing in their last regular-season home game for RC were Holmquist, Glen Ryder, Trevor Mund and Dakota Saez.

“It felt good to win our last regular season game at home with a W,” said Saez, who had 11 points, five assists and five steals. “We played hard and we earned it, a conference championship.”

Holmquist scored five points in firing the hosts out to a 7-4 lead. Samuels scored off a steal with 10 seconds left in the quarter for a 20-10 lead.

The Wildcats couldn’t buy a bucket in the second quarter while the Coyotes were clicking. Ryan Willis scored off a steal at 2:05 for a 32-14 lead. Saez scored a triple at the buzzer for a 39-14 lead.

“We played really well and the kids executed,” Kailing said. “With Jared in the middle, we’ve seen a lot of zone this year. We’re getting better at moving the ball inside. Starting in the second quarter, we did a nice job of doing that. It ended up paying off at the end.”

“We started playing hard,’” Saez said. “We came out a little flat. We couldn’t get any shots to fall. We started hustling more and the shots came to us.”

Holmquist, Saez and Samuels scored triples in the third quarter to help the Coyotes improve their lead to 58-32.

“I look at the word balance and I thought tonight we had really good balance between several guys,” Kailing said. “Anytime you get that type of balance, that’s what you look forward to.”

Earlier in the week, the Coyotes avenged a previous loss to White Cloud this season with a 58-50 win on Feb. 21 on the road. The win put Reed City in excellent position to grab a share of the title by if it would win the home finale with Lakeview.

Samuels scored 20 points while Holmquist contributed 11 points and eight rebounds. Trevor Mund had eight points and Ryan Willis 10 rebounds. Samuels and Saez dished out three assists apiece.

Holmquist and Saez fouled out with about three minutes to go. Kailing praised the efforts of Mund, Ryder and Jacob Vincent from off the bench.

Reed City shot 31 free throws compared to 36 for White Cloud.