Reed City 1982 boys basketball team celebrates 40th anniversary

Coyote were state runners-up that season

The 1982 and 2022 Reed City boys basketball teams posed for pictures Friday night.

The 1982 and 2022 Reed City boys basketball teams posed for pictures Friday night.

Pioneer photo/John Raffel

REED CITY – It was a special evening on Friday in the Reed City gym when the Coyotes ended their regular season at home.

The athletic department commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1982 boys basketball team which was Class C state runners-up. Members of the team were on hand.

“In the early 1980s, Coyote basketball teams dominated the local area and state with successful tournament runs including the 1980 state championship,” public address system announcer Mike Rushford said. “This was followed by a triple overtime loss in the 1981 quarterfinal to eventual state champion Stephenson. Throughout the years, the community came in full force to support these teams with pep assemblies, police send-offs and welcome home parades. The strong community support continued as expectations for the 1982 team were high.”

The coach of the team, Rick Reeves, was unable to attend the celebration but issued a statement : “I would like to personally think so many people for the support for our Reed City Coyote teams that I witness in my 11 years at Reed City High School.”

Members of the team who attended the ceremony included Matt Brinker, Layne  Brower, Drew Donley, Jeff Hengesh, Brian Huey, Mike Jones, Duane Costello, Kevin Pontz, Mike Proefrock, Wes Schroeder, Steve Sargeant and Kevin Randall. Team members unable to attend were Daryl Barker and Andy Edwards.

“After finishing the regular season with a record of 13-6, the team came together for an amazing postseason run,” Rushford said. “The district championship win over Benzie Central was a game to remember as Layne Bower tipped the ball in as time expired for the victory. After disposing Tawas and Charlevoix and winning a regional championship, the Coyotes face an undefeated Iron Mountain team. The dream continued with a 63-54 win and the convoy of Coyote fans headed to Ann Arbor for the state finals.

“A win over Cass City took the team to the brink of a championship before falling to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in the finals.”

Reed City finished at 20-7 but had a state runner-up trophy.

“Many referred to them as the Cinderella team in Michigan,” Rushford said. “The team won 12 of their last 14 games and played their best during the state tournament run. In the last few weeks, several memories were shared as the guys reminisced about their experiences including the incredible bond and teamwork  that they shared with each other.”

Jerry Ernst, coach of the 1980 state title team, was at Friday's game. His son, Steve Ernst, is the current RC coach.