Reed City boys defeat Chippewa Hills

Reed City's Phillip Jones-Price (right) tries to make the defensive stop against Chippewa Hills.
Reed City's Phillip Jones-Price (right) tries to make the defensive stop against Chippewa Hills.

REMUS — Reed City entered its boys basketball game with Chippewa Hills on Jan. 8 all alone in first place in the Central State Activities Association Gold Division.

But especially at the start of the game, the Coyotes discovered it wasn’t going to be easy after falling behind 11-2.

They came back with effective defensive pressure to score a 65-53 win.

“I thought my kids competed hard,” Chippewa Hills coach Lenny Starck said. “We gave ourselves a chance at the end and that’s basically all I can ask.”

The Coyotes, 7-1 overall (prior to Friday’s game with Big Rapids, are the only undefeated team in the league at 4-0. Chippewa Hills fell to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the league.

“It was definitely a game of runs,” Reed City coach JJ Eads said. “We were down by nine early and got a nice number in the third and fourth quarter but fell asleep for a few minutes and let Chippewa Hills get back. It snowballed for a few minutes, but luckily we were able to weather the storm.”

With the Warriors holding the early nine-point lead, Reed City’s pressure started working, Cody Kailing made a steal in the backcourt and converted on a 3-point play for a 13-12 Reed City lead.

“We came a little more aggressive on offense,” Eads said. “We came out maybe a little bit too passive on both sides of the ball.”

The Coyotes controlled the early part of the second quarter. Payton Hansen’s 3-pointer made it 20-13. Levi Rogers netted a 3-pointer late in the second to keep the Warriors close but Reed City emerged with a 32-23 halftime lead.

“We’re young, we have to take care of the ball and we got into a little bit of foul trouble,” Starck said. “It hurt when (Jack) Frebes got into foul trouble. When he’s playing with the other kids we’ve got, we’re pretty solid.”

The Coyotes threatened to run away with it in the third. A Kailing 3-pointer midway in the quarter made it 47-29. Chippewa Hills hit the final seven points of the third to make it 47-36. The Warriors went on a 9-2 run to cut it to 49-45.

Anthony Pelton fouled out with 5:23 to play. Zac Saez netted a triple for a 54-47 RC advantage at 4:50. Samuel Cole netted a behind-the-back drive to cut it to 54-49. Kailing and Preston Johnson countered with baskets for a 58-49 Reed City lead.

Reed City started eating up the clock and drawing the foul. Kailing scored off a steal for a 65-53 lead with less than 20 seconds to play.

Kailing led Reed City with 19 points, followed by Johnson with 16 and Hansen with 10.

“We started off slow but started playing defense and got more aggressive,” Hansen said. “Our confidence rose throughout the game.”

Kuzma had 14 for the Warriors, followed by Sam Cole with 11 and Rogers with nine.

“We had our moments where we played some good basketball,” Kuzma said. “We gave up some transition baskets that killed us in the end.”