Reed City fights through injuries to pick up 82-69 win over Central Montcalm

REED CITY — Reed City picked up an 82-69 win over Central Montcalm in boys basketball action on Friday night, but it was anything but easy. The Coyotes (5-1, 4-1 CSAA) handled the Hornets, but had to do it without Kyle Wright, one of their leading scorers and rebounders, for most of the game and with a hobbled Josh Saez. Both leaders went down in the second quarter with lower leg injuries. “When Kyle Wright went down, who’s arguably one of our best players, that really hurt us...” Reed City coach Dean McGuire said. “But we had some guys realize Kyle wasn’t there who really stepped up for us.” The Hornets got things started with a 3-pointer from Todd Switzer to jump out to an early lead. Reed City would fight throughout the quarter, but Central Montcalm was quick to answer each Coyote bucket in the first eight minutes. The Coyotes would take an 8-5 lead on a Dean Eichenberg triple with five minutes left in the quarter, but the Hornets continued to break the press and get layups. Kyle Wright got his lone bucket of the game to end the quarter, but the Coyotes were down 14-13 going into the second. “Central Montcalm is a quality team that beat Big Rapids and Big Rapids is a quality team,” McGuire said. “We knew it was going to be a good dogfight.” The second quarter was high-speed hoops from both sides. Reed City won the quarter with 26 points to Central Montcalm’s 20 in the period, but the Coyotes lost two of their best players as Wright went down with a lower leg injury on a layup, quickly followed by a similar play that resulted in an ankle injury for Saez. Saez would return after halftime but Wright stayed onthe bench for the rest of the game. “I think (Saez’s) ankle is a little sore,” McGuire said after the game. “Kyle is saying he just has a dead leg, but I think it might be a little more serious than that. We’ll have to wait and see (Saturday).” The Coyotes got inspired play from Chad Samuels and Eichenberg, scoring 16 combined points to close the first half with a 39-34 Coyote lead. “Chad Samuels had a huge game, he’s a gamer,” McGuire said. “Chad put the team on his shoulders with Dean Eichenberg and between those two scoring-wise, they were pretty tough (Friday).” Saez returned in the second half and, though he was visibly hobbled by his ankle, was able to contribute for Reed City. Eichenberg answered an early Hornet bucket with another trey, giving Reed City a 42-37 lead with 6:30 left in the third. Samuels traded threes with Central Montcalm’s Jesse Hoffman as both squads went back and forth as time ticked on. Saez took a charge and had a great assist for the Coyotes, wincing after every move. The Hornets put together a small run fueled by offensive rebounds and second-chance points, but a circus layup in the lane from Samuels gave the momentum back to Reed City as the Coyotes took a 58-51 lead into the final quarter. “Our philosophy is we’re going to come at you. It’s easy to break a press in the first quarter because you have your legs, but in the second it starts to wear on you,” McGuire said. The Coyotes pushed the deficit to 10 points on a layup from Saez followed by a great dish from the hobbled point guard to Chris Barton to make the lead 12 for Reed City. The Hornets were scoreless for the first 90 seconds of the quarter and couldn’t get things going against a tough Coyote squad leaning on its reserves and smothering brand of defense. “Chris Barton usually plays 12 to 15 minutes but due to Kyle’s injury, he played a ton of minutes and played very well for us,” McGuire said. “PJ Jones and (Patrick) Jobes off the bench give us energy. They would not be fun to play against.” The Hornets got offense from Lane Ledford and Hoffman down the stretch, but seven points was as close as the Hornets would come. The Coyotes kept the defensive intensity up and took care of the ball on offense as Eichenberg and Saez knocked down free throws down the stretch to seal the deal at 82-69, giving the Coyotes a hard-fought CSAA victory. The Coyotes were led by Eichenberg’s 26 points on five triples and 22 from Samuels on a night where the Coyotes knocked down eight 3-pointers as a team. Saez had 14 with a bad ankle and Barton added 12 off the bench. Reed City is back in action on Tuesday at White Cloud. REED CITY 82, CENTRAL MONTCALM 69 RC 13 26 19 24 - 82 CM 14 20 17 18 - 69 REED CITY (5-1,4-1 CSAA) PJ Jones 0(1) 1-2 4, Josh Saez 3(1) 5-7 14, Patrick Jobes 1-2 1, Chris Barton 5 2-2 12, Kyle Wright 1 2, Chad Samuels 8(1) 3-7 22, Dean Eichenberg 3(5) 5-8 26