Morley Stanwood hands Reed City first CSAA loss
MORLEY — Travis McCuaig scored 21 points and brought down 10 boards while Tyler Hanks added 15 points with 13-of-21 free-throw shooting and brought down 10 boards in an emotional 71-61 victory for Morley Stanwood and Reed City Friday night in a battle of Central State Activities Association undefeated teams.
The Mohawks, 3-3 overall, are now 3-0 in the league while Reed City, 3-2 overall, falls to 3-1 in the CSAA.
For the Coyotes, it was a difficult night being without the services of senior standout Jared Holmquist, who didn’t dress because of an ankle sprain sustained in practice earlier this week.
“It was extremely tough, I don’t know how to explain it,” senior Dakota Saez said. “I was almost in tears when I found out he was out for this game. It happened Wednesday in practice. He’s out for this game for sure and maybe our next game.”
The Coyotes also finished the game without coach Jesse Kailing who was assessed a double technical early in the fourth quarter for voicing his displeasure with the referees and had to leave the game. (See related story.)
Kailing declined to comment after the game.
“It’s as intense as I thought it would be,” said Mohawk coach Josh Bull. “I think the rematch (at Reed City) is going to be like it. I thought it was a good high school basketball game. When you look at it, the crowd was in, hanging onto every possession. It was a game of runs. Our run came out of halftime.”
Reed City, even without Holmquist, built a 31-24 halftime lead against a Mohawk squad that missed its first seven free throws of the game.
The Mohawks opened the second half with 12 unanswered points before Sean Woodside’s 3-pointer put the Coyotes back in it. McCuaig had 11 points including five field goals in the third and Morley Stanwood entered the fourth quarter ahead 44-40.
Kailing became upset over a defensive play by the Mohawks on a Coyote shot attempt that Reed City fans thought might constitute basket interference or a foul. Reed City called time out and then the Coyotes were called for a player technical and Kailing draw the two technicals. Hanks, with the fouls, got seven free throws and drained four.
When the dust settled, Morley Stanwood was up 56-44.
The Coyotes, who had a pair of threes from Chad Samuels in the quarter, plus three field goals from Saez, tried to hang tight but Morley Stanwood, with 28-of-51 free throw shooting, was able to put it away.
In the first quarter, Reed City fell behind 6-0 and Kailing put in a new lineup. The Coyotes responded, led by Trevor Mund with four points. Brian Whipple drained a triple for the Mohawks and it was 13-13 after eight minutes.
The Coyotes prevailed in the second quarter and had a 29-21 lead after Michael Bradford scored off a steal. It was 31-24 at halftime.
“In the second quarter, you have to give Reed City credit,” Bull said. “I thought they took the emotional air right out of the room. We were flat. They did an excellent job of doing what they wanted to do and finishing around the basket. At halftime, my big thing was the team that wins this game is the one that wins both quarters. If you look at the technical free throws, we still would have won by the margin of victory.”
Bull noted that without Holmquist, the Coyotes were missing a sparkplug who also distributes the ball well.
“With their guard play, he’s definitely someone we need to stop the next time we have to play them,” Bull said. The credit belong to our boys. They were hungrier in the second half and did what they needed to do to win.”
“We’re frustrated,” Saez said. “It’s been a long week.”