Reed City boys set for district showdown with Big Rapids

REED CITY — So far this varsity basketball, Reed City’s basketball teams are 0-5 against arch-rival Big Rapids.

The boys team hopes to do something about that Wednesday night.

The Coyotes, 14-6, play at Grant in Class B district semifinal action against Big Rapids, 18-3. Tipoff time is 8 p.m. The winner plays Fremont or Shelby in the title game on Friday night.

The Reed City girls team went 0-3 against Big Rapids, although they lost the third game, 48-44, in the district finals. The boys squad was 0-2 against the Cardinals during the regular season.

Coyote coach Jesse Kailing watched Monday night at Grant as the host school lost 61-47 to Big Rapids, setting up Wednesday’s showdown.

“Big Rapids is really big and they played really good last night,” Kailing said. “For us, we have to not turn the ball over. More importantly, we play a lot of man-to-man defense and we have to know where the shooters are at.

“The other thing is to keep them off the offensive boards. I thought Big Rapids did a really nice job of getting second-chance buckets. That will be the key for us not allowing them to do that. Big Rapids beat us twice, so maybe the third time is the charm.

The Coyotes were more competitive in their second game with Big Rapids.

“I think we’re a better team now than the first time we played them,” Kailing said. “Big Rapids is big. They’re good and experienced and have a lot of senior leadership. Senior leadership is a huge factor when you get into the tournament. Hopefully our kids come in there to compete and play hard. We’ll see what shakes out.”

The Reed City boys basketball team ended its regular season Tuesday, March 1, with a 54-37 victory over White Cloud in Central State Activities Association (CSAA) action.

Reed City ended the CSAA season at 13-3 for second place behind 16-0 Big Rapids. The Coyotes are 14-6 overall.

Jared Holmquist led the Coyotes with 19 points and 12 rebounds while Trent Sims contributed 10 points.

“We knew coming into tonight the two things we were working on was cutting down on turnovers and playing good defense,” said Kailing. “We did that tonight. We did both things. The kids did a nice job on (Caleb) Bowman who’s a really nice player. He was all-conference last year. We held him to nine points. I’m happy with that. He scored 21 points against us the whole year. Last year he had that in one game against us.”

“I thought we played really hard,” Holmquist said. “Our offensive execution was really good. We broke the zone down and got some baskets.

“After we lost to Big Rapids both times, we still had to win out to take second place and we did that. That was an accomplishment.”

Leading 25-14 at halftime, Reed City saw its lead shrink to 25-22 on two 3-pointers and a field goal by Asa Wyers. Holmquist and Evan Stieg scored consecutive baskets to pad the lead to 29-22. Sims hit two free throws late in the third quarter to give the Coyotes a 37-28 lead.

Wyers had 12 points in the quarter for White Cloud. But he drew his fourth foul early in the final quarter.

In the fourth, Lodholtz drove for a basket at 5:40 and a 43-35 Coyote lead. Justin scored moments later for a 10-point advantage. Holmquist had two free throws at 3:40 for a 49-37 RC lead. Justin scored at 2:30 for a 53-37 lead and White Cloud turned the ball over, allowing the hosts to play a slowdown offense and force the Indians to foul. Wyers fouled out with two minutes to play. He had 20 points and seven rebounds.

The game started out with both teams struggling offensively. Holmquist, however, found the groove early and scored all eight of Reed City’s first quarter points. It was 8-5 after one.

Josh Justin scored off a steal at 4:37 of the third quarter for a 15-7 lead. Dillon Lodholtz hit two straight later in the quarter for a 22-8 RC advantage at 2:51. Stieg connected for a 24-11 lead at 1:32.

“Reed City had a lot more energy that we did,” said White Cloud coach Ed Canning. “They outworked us. They played better and rebounded better.”

“We did a nice job against the zone,” Kailing said. “We didn’t get stagnant. We kept on moving. I think we’re playing our best basketball. I guess that’s what you’re supposed to be doing right now.

“I like the way we’re playing defense. Offensively, we always have issues there. Defensively, we’re playing good defense right now too.”

The Coyotes didn’t play a regular season game late last week and will have an eight-game stretch from their win over White Cloud to the district semifinal round.

“It will be nice to have a lot of time to prepare for somebody,” Kailing said. “However, we’ll have them go hard Thursday and Friday, be ready for Monday’s practice and watch the game over there. I don’t think (having no game late last week) is an advantage or disadvantage.”