Mixed start for Coyotes

PUSHING FORWARD: Karah Hensel of Reed City drives to the basket against Reed City. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)
PUSHING FORWARD: Karah Hensel of Reed City drives to the basket against Reed City. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

Coyote girls start first week with 1-1 basketball record

REED CITY – The pesky Cadillac full-court defensive pressure was too much for the Reed City Coyotes to overcome Friday night. The Vikings forced 33 Reed City turnovers and also dominated the Coyotes on the boards in a 64-54 girls basketball victory. Reed City plays at home Friday night against Big Rapids in the Central State Activities Association opener. “This game actually helps us,” Koopman said. “It exposes our weaknesses. We have to get ready to play more physical. I hope this games opens our eyes up a little bit.” Seniors Kalee Hensel and Emma Lockhart combined for 39 of Reed City’s 54 points but the Coyotes weren’t able to get enough production from other sources to pull out the win. “You won’t win a lot of games when you make 33 turnovers,” said Reed City coach Brian Koopman. “We have to keep it in the teens.” Mary-MaRae Baker and Selena Golnick scored 14 points apiece for the Vikings.   “I liked how we pressured the basketball,” said Cadillac coach Todd Baker.  “I was happy with the way we boxed out. That’s a key part of our program.” Leading 40-36 after three quarters, Cadillac was able to turn on the offense with 24 points in the fourth period, led by Abbey Fuller who netted seven points. She had a triple to open the quarter for a 43-36 lead and the Coyotes couldn’t overcome the deficit. “We had (too many) turnovers against their pressure,” Koopman said. “We also had good looks at the basket, but missed them.” Lockhart put in six first-quarter points to give the Coyotes an early 12-10 lead. But gradually, Cadillac’s press continued to force Reed City into turnovers.  Sydney Barcey scored with 1:40 left in the second quarter for a 24-20 lead. Kalee Hensel sank a 3-pointer late in the half but Cadillac was up 28-25 at the intermission.  
Not much had gone right for Reed City’s girls basketball team in their last three meetings with Pine River. During the Nov. 27 opener against the Bucks, however, the Coyotes could do no wrong in a 62-40 season-opening victory. Reed City jumped out to a 37-18 halftime advantage, thanks to good ball distribution from Lockhart and efficient shooting Hensel. Lockhart handled Pine River’s defensive pressure well, scoring 10 points while dishing out seven assists, while Hensel scored a game-high 25 points to end a three-game losing streak to the Bucks. Koopman credited his team’s play on both ends of the floor in helping the Coyotes start the season 1-0. “We made sure we had a hand in the face of the shooter,” he said. “Last year they beat us by penetrating on the drive and kicking it out, but we did a good job of knowing where their shooters were.” Koopman had high praise for Lockhart and Hensel, who set the tone early with mistake-free basketball. “(Lockhart) has been with me for four years,” he said. “She has great court awareness and sees the entire court really well. When they started to double team Emma, Kalee stepped up and made some big shots for us.” Reed City started the game on a 7-0 run after a steal and bucket by Natalie Westhoff. Lockhart ended the quarter with a steal and bucket to give the Coyotes a 13-6 lead after the first. Hensel caught fire in the second quarter, hitting a pair of triples to make it 22-7. Lockhart later found Karah Hensel on the break to make it 28-14. Lockhart closed out the quarter with an impressive steal and jumper from the corner at the buzzer to put Reed City up 37-18. Hensel scored underneath on a feed from Lockhart, who delivered a pinpoint pass for the basket. Hensel credited the senior point guard for her vision throughout Tuesday’s win. “Emma is so good at finding the open player because she sees the court so well,” she said. “We executed really well and found the open shooter all night.” Jacolyn Mullins chipped in eight points for Reed City in the win, while Karah Hensel added seven points.   Pioneer sports editor Martin Slagter contributed to this report.