REED CITY — The Central State Activities Association Gold Division boys basketball season ended for Reed City on Friday at 9-5 with a 77-74 loss to Central Montcalm.

The Coyotes, 11-8 overall, were led by Karsten Koopman with 29 points and Cody Kailing with 16.

Central Montcalm led 36-33 at halftime.

Earlier in the week, Reed City was attempting to be a key spoiler in defeating its arch-rival on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

The Coyotes dealt Big Rapids’ conference title hopes a potential blow with a 65-55 win in CSAA Gold action.

Big Rapids entered the game tied with Fremont for first place in the Gold Division with one more league game for both teams. But the Cardinals got some good news: Fremont also lost 55-46 to Grant and both teams were 10-3. They both won on Friday to tie for the league title.

Big Rapids won 49-40 at Reed City last month.

“You could probably say it’s the biggest win in my two years here,” Reed City coach JJ Eads said. “Big Rapids is playing for a conference championship. We had nothing to lose coming here. We’ve played better the last couple of weeks. Reed City-Big Rapids, you never know coming in. Our boys stayed focus and took it one play at a time. I’m proud of them.”

Reed City played solid first-half defense and built a 28-22 lead.

“We missed 20 free throws tonight, 22 of 42,” Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said. “That’s been our downfall. You added that with the missed layups we normally make… and we had three starters with three fouls in the first quarter. That makes it hard.”

The Cardinals struggled offensively in the first half and Reed City took advantage. Cody Kailing drove for a basket and 8-4 lead. It was 8-5 going into the second quarter.

Kailing’s 3-point play midway in the second quarter gave the Coyotes a 19-10 lead. Reed City’s Parker Ward, from off the bench, netted a 3-pointer later in the quarter and it was 23-14. Braeden Childress’ 3-pointer for Big Rapids cut it to 25-20 moments later.

Reed City, with Saez netting a key 3-pointer continued to maintain control in the third.

Koopman’s baseline drive ended the third quarter with a 42-33 Coyote lead.

Big Rapids hit four straight free throws to open the fourth. But Kailing countered with a triple. Koopman’s 8-footer made it 47-37 moments later. Preston Johnson took a pass from Koopman to score underneath for a 49-39 lead at 4:15.

Coach Kent Ingles was called for a technical foul and Kailing’s free throws made it 51-40. Saez scored at 3:00 for a 53-43 lead. Two Childress free throws cut the lead to 54-48 at 2:02. Kailing hit two free throws at 1:25 for a 56-48 lead and Reed City got the rebound at the other end, forcing Big Rapids to foul. Two Saez free throws at 1:01 for a 59-48 lead iced the Coyote victory.

“At our place, it was 13-3, them, early and Big Rapids played some good defense,” Eads said. “They’re long tall and athletic and it’s tough to score against them. We got off to a good lead. They made a comeback which they’re going to. They have great athletes. We were able to hold them off.”

Saez had 27 points, Kailing 17 and Koopman 13 for Reed City.

“I feel great,” Saez said. “I thank my teammates for giving me open looks. They trusted me.”

Childress had 27 points and Jackob Martinson 20 for Big Rapids. But the rest of the Cardinals combined for only eight points.

“Reed City played well and shot the ball well,” Ingles said. “We made a lot of mistakes. You can’t make mistakes and win a game in the conference.”

The two teams, unlike in past years, will not be in the same district on March 5-9. Big Rapids is at Chippewa Hills and Reed City is at home. The Coyotes host Kalkaska on Monday.