Griffin leads Wildcats past Reed City

EVART — Danny Griffin had an extremely hot hand in the first half with 19 points on Monday for Evart.

But he and his Wildcat teammates were able to put together a full four quarters in Evart's (8-10) non-league boys victory over Reed City (4-15) 63-55.

Griffin had a career-high 32 points.

"We knew it was going to be a battle," Evart coach Kris Morgan said. "We wanted to come out and get on them early. We were playing their pace of game, throwing it down, and headed for a game in the 40s which is what they wanted. We came out in the second half to push it."

Evart led 10-8 after the first quarter and Griffin opened the new period with a 3-pointer. He kept scoring to give the Wildcats a 23-18 lead. Cody Kailing netted a 3-pointer late in the half to make it 23-21, Evart, at halftime.

Kailing connected to cut Evart's lead to 34-32 at 2:45 and Trent Sturgell scored to tie it moments later. Carter Pritchard untied it with a 3-pointer. Stephan Shewan connected at the buzzer for a 38-37 Coyote lead, going into the final quarter.

"They put that box-and-one on Danny," Morgan said. "It was still his best game of the year. We've been working on consistency with him. It doesn't matter who the opponent is, he can do this every night."

Pritchard's 3-pointer at 5:43 put Evart up 42-40. Sturgell came back with three straight baskets for a 46-42 Reed City lead at 5:25. Sturgell drew a personal foul and technical foul and Griffin hit all four throws for a 46-46 tie. Layne Nadig followed with two free throws for a 48-46 lead and Griffin followed with another 3-pointer. His free throw at 1:55 made it 54-50, Evart. Sturgell had a 3-point play at the other end. Trevin Ladd answered with a basket for Evart, but fouled out moments later.

Karsten Allen's free throw made it 57-53. Allen's layup with 30 seconds to go made it 59-53 and the Wildcats were able to ice it.

Pritchard had 11 points for Evart. Sturgell scored 20 points and Cody Kailing had 19 for Reed City.

"Griffin got off to that hot start and we tried a box-and-one on him in the second half," Reed City coach JJ Eads said. "It was looking pretty good. Then we got that technical and they kind of scored eight points without moving the clock.

"Give Evart credit. They made the plays they had to to win the game. We're still learning a lot, obviously, this time of year, no one should be young. We should be doing better with execution on both ends of the floor."

Griffin's previous career high was 28 points.

"It was definitely our defense," he said. "We pushed the ball a lot and so did they. It was a close game. I think we wanted it more than them."

Reed City was home Tuesday against Lakeview. Evart plays at Pine River on Thursday.

"If Danny plays like this and we play like a team around him, we have a good shot," Morgan said.

In district action on Monday, Reed City plays Cadillac at Benzie Central in Class B. Evart faces White Cloud at Morley Stanwood in Class C.