EVART — The Evart Wildcats knew what to expect against the Reed City boys basketball team on Wednesday night, but the suffocating, frantic Coyote pressure defense still wreaked havoc against the Wildcats as Reed City took an 82-57 victory at Evart. 

“We knew the press was going to come,” Evart coach Kris Morgan said. “We prepped for it and when we ran (the pressbreak) right, we did all right. But we’re so young. We took this game like ‘This is how Beal City is going to play us. This is how McBain is going to play us.’ They’re going to play that pressure and they’re going to work us. They’ll be on us the whole game.” 

The Reed City press sparked a 10-0 Coyote run and a 13-2 lead, but Evart’s Nolan VanOrder knocked down a 3-pointer to start a 12-0 Wildcat run, giving the home team a 14-13 edge halfway through the opening frame. 

The lead didn’t last long, though, with Andre Jones making a triple of his own to push the Coyotes out to a 22-14 lead heading into the second quarter. 

The three-ball started to fall for the Coyotes in the second, with Mykel Dillard hitting two treys and Jones and Matt Mund each making one 3-pointer apiece to push the Coyotes out to a 38-22 advantage as the Wildcats tried to play catch up. 

“We kind of lost our heads. We’re a young team,” Morgan said. “When we ran the pressbreak right, we did it, we just went through spurts where we were just running around thinking we could just dribble the ball up the court. We stressed to our guys every time you’ve got to run it. You don’t run it right two or three times and it’s just bam, bam, bam and an eight-point spread jumps out to a 16-point spread.”

Patrick Jobes was called for a technical foul late in the second quarter, so the Wildcats added a few free throws and cut the Coyote advantage to 42-32 at halftime. 

Dillard opened the second half with five-straight points to push the lead to 15. Evart’s Noah Drake added a 3-pointer, but the Coyote defense led to more transition baskets and the lead ballooned to 65-42 heading into the final quarter.

“We’re going to have a lot of possessions the way we play, so we’re going to give up more points than we’d like to,” Reed City coach Dean McGuire said. “We shoot it pretty well and we have some guys that can attack the basket. We’ve got a good core of guys ... It’s fun to watch.”

The Coyotes went on another 5-0 run to open the last quarter and a three-point play from T.J. Patterson pushed the lead to 73-46 with under five minutes to play. 

Cody Fournier added two treys for the Wildcats, but it was too little, too late for Evart as the Coyotes cruised to the 82-57 nonconference victory. 

Nolan Patterson had 11 points for the Coyotes while Jobes and Taylor Pelton chipped in 10 apiece, but Dillard was the high-scorer with 22 points and three 3-pointers. 

“The thing about Mykel is, when you look at him, you’re not afraid of him,” McGuire said. “He’s not real big, he’s not real fast, he’s not real strong, but he’s my one ballplayer (Wednesday) that is going to go home and watch basketball. He’s a basketball junkie and it shows. He knows the game and he’s smart and he’s put a lot of time and effort into it and we’re glad to have him.”

Fournier led the Wildcats with 16 points, while Drake added 11 and Rob Tapling contributed 10 in the setback. 

The Wildcats (1-3, 0-0 Highland) play next on Jan. 6 at McBain NMC.