Reed City's Max Hammond, coach Steve Ernst react to CSAA win over Grant

'We played it out and we came out on top'

REED CITY — As the cold rain fell outside, warm buckets were falling inside the Reed City High School gym for the Coyotes’ 66-60 win over the Grant Tigers on Friday, Dec. 10. 

Twenty-two of those points were put on the board by sophomore Max Hammond, which paced Reed City’s offensive flow in its second consecutive triumph to begin the new season.

After the game, Hammond gave his assessment of what proved to be an intense battle against a tough conference opponent.

“It’s a great start,” Hammond said. “We have a few things we have to work on, but when it got tight, we stuck in, we played it out and we came out on top. You just have to stick to it and keep going.”

As the game neared its conclusion, the Reed City boys hit the accelerator and pushed through the final moments of the game to earn the positive result at home.

The sophomore also converted eight of his nine free-throw attempts, scoring more than 60% of his points during the fourth quarter.

“I have a few things that I could still work on but, overall, I thought it was a good performance,” Hammond said. 

Hammond was part of an aggressive and motivated Coyote squad that threw itself at the ball and its adversaries for all 32 minutes of action.

Junior Ty Kailing wasn’t far behind Hammond and chalked up 16 points on the night, sinking four shots from beyond the arc.

Senior Canyon Reed scored four points in every quarter and grabbed many important rebounds on both sides of the ball.

First-year coach Steve Ernst said he was happy to come away with a well-earned win to begin Central State Activities Association play.

“We’re just learning how to win; it’s not always easy,” Ernst said. “You’re always happy when you beat a team like Grant. When you’re from a smaller town and beat a bigger school, that’s always a good thing.”

Reed City was in front on the scoreboard for a majority of the contest, leading Grant 13-9 after one quarter and went into halftime on top 28-21.

The home side opened the second half on a 9-0 run and, through three quarters of play, the Coyotes clung to a slim one-point 43-42 lead.

It was late during this penultimate frame in which Ernst’s team briefly relinquished control of its advantage in the point department. 

RC managed to maintain possession of the ball and convert their free-throw chances following the barrage of late-game Grant intentional fouls.

“We gave the lead up, we had a chance to fold, but we didn’t,” Ernst said. “We came back with a couple of big possessions and we finished. They were pretty resilient that way.”

Ernst added that he believes his squad to be a “very coachable” one, which he said he is thankful for.

“I’m very lucky as a coach,” Ernst said.

On Dec. 17, the Coyotes will play their first game of the season away from home when they take on the Tri County Vikings for a 7:30 p.m. tip off.

Reed City fell to Tri County 58-50 in the lone meeting between the CSAA Gold opponents one season ago.

It will be the first of four consecutive road games for the Coyote boys.