Pine River’s second half stops Reed City

LEROY — Osceola County rivals Reed City and Pine River squared off for a rare non-league boys basketball contest Monday night.

It was Pine River’s night, however, thanks to a solid second-half effort for a 71-58 victory

Pine River had a 45-21 scoring edge in the seccond half.

“It was defense, defense, defense,” Pine River coach Brian Goodenow said. “Our guys played with a lot of heart and guts. Defense ignites everything.”

The Coyotes, with clutch shooting and strong offensive rebounding, were able to gain a 37-26 halftime lead. Mykel Dillard caught fire in the first quarter with a pair of triples for Reed City, which fired out to a 7-0 lead and stretched it to 15-8 on a drive to the basket by Patrick Jobes. Greg Park hit a triple and had five points in the first quarter to keep the Bucks within five, 17-12.

Reed City’s full-court pressure hurt the Bucks at times including two quick baskets off steals within five seconds off each other in the second quarter for a 31-18 lead. Dillard had another triple in the quarter, while Chris Barton had eight points, including a putback late in the period for a 33-19 lead.

“Their size was hurting us,”’ Goodenow said. “They were hitting some outside shots and got us in the paint.”

Lucas Harris and Brandon Fulks had back-to-back baskets, and Park scored off a steal to cut the Coyote lead to 43-40 with 3:31 left in the third quarter. The Coyotes’ offense continued to struggle and Fulks scored again, while Harris followed with a jumper at 2:12 for Pine River’s first lead of the game 44-43. It was 50-50 going into the fourth quarter.

Players from off the bench got into the act for the Bucks.

Tyler Wing scored early in the fourth for a 52-50 Bucks lead and Conner Hoaglund scored moments later. Reed City’s offensive struggles continued and Harris scored for a 56-50 lead with 5:45 to play. McDonald hit two free throws off an intentional foul for an eight-point lead and scored off a steal moments later.

Foul trouble was starting to haunt the Coyotes who had nine in the second half compared to one for Pine River by 4:49 of the fourth. Two Fulk free throws upped the lead to 60-50 and Park followed with two moments later. The Bucks were hurting the Coyotes on the transition for some key Fulks’ breakaway layups.

“We stepped up the defense like crazy and rebounded real well and brought the intensity up,” Harris said. “We’re shooting the ball better than we did at the beginning of the season. Tonight was a good fun win.”

McDonald drove the baseline twice for two baskets in a row and a 66-52 lead at 2:08.

“They took it to us,” Reed City coach Dean McGuire said. “We didn’t respond. They came out and trapped us and our kids turned it over and they got a lot of easy buckets and they got all the momentum.”

Harris led the Bucks with 17 points, while Park had 13. Dillard and Barton had 16 each for Reed City.

“We had to spend some time explaining the rivalry to the kids because I don’t believe we’ve played (Reed City) in boys basketball since 2004,” Goodenow said. “To our kids, it’s not a traditional rivalry. Myself and lot of the oldtimers were telling them this has always been a great rivalry. I think it’s reborn, it was an intense game and we’re happy with that. We’ll play down there next year.”

There were 18 fouls whistled on Reed City and eight on Pine River and the Bucks took advantage at the charity stripe with 16-of-21 shooting while the Coyotes were 3-of-3.

“The first half, we played well,” McGuire said. “The second half, they came out in that trap and our guards turned it over pretty regularly. It’s pretty hard to defend when you’re giving up layups.”

Reed City, 4-6, plays at Tri County on Friday, while Pine River, 9-2, is at Beal City on Thursday.