Reed City boys team finishes week at 3-0

REED CITY — The Reed City boys basketball team earned a 76-41 victory over Hesperia Friday night in Central State Activites Association (CSAA) play to complete a 3-0 week.

Chad Samuels led the Coyotes with 23 points and four assists while Kyle Wright had 15 points and 14 rebounds, Dean Eichenberg tallied eight points and Josh Saez recorded six points and four assists.

Reed City (13-2, 12-2 CSAA) returned to the hardcourt Tuesday with a road matchup against Central Montcalm. This Friday, the Coyotes play at home against White Cloud. They have a home rematch next Tuesday with Big Rapids.

The  Coyotes have two big names that have sliced and diced conference foes all season long in Chad Samuels and Kyle Wright. However, on Tuesday night (Feb. 11), Dean Eichenberg was the star for the Coyotes as his 22 points led to a win over the Chippewa Hills Warriors, 68-47, in Central State Activities Association (CSAA) play.

“Effort was good (Tuesday),” Reed City coach DeanMcGuire said. “The loss Friday night (Feb. 7 to Lakeview) hurt us and we’re still feeling the effects of it I think because we just don’t have that it factor that we had earlier in the season right now...As a coach, I see a team, in my opinion, that can really peak if we’re all playing for one another and wanting to make each other better. We could really be good, but we’re not there yet unfortunately.”

The Coyotes started the game in familiar fashion with a 3-pointer from Samuels. The Warriors answered, playing very aggressive to start the game, with back-to back baskets by Hunter Conley to take an early 4-3 lead.

After the initial spurt of offense, both teams struggled to finish at the hoop with physical defensive play on both sides. The Coyotes kicked things into gear with back-to-back triples from Samuels and Derek Lodholtz as the scoring started to pick up.

Michael Todd put in a trey for the Warriors to tie it up at 11-11 with 2:10 on the clock. Wright answered with back-to-back buckets for the Coyotes and Levi Metcalf had a nice post move to score for the Warriors but the Coyotes had the last laugh as they closed the opening quarter with a triple from Eichenberg, Reed City’s fourth 3-pointer of the opening stanza.

“This is a talented squad,” McGuire said. “Dean and Chad are two of the most talented players in the area and you add to that Lodholtz knocking down a few threes and Kyle Wright is such a beast on the boards...just getting to the glass at will and causing problems for them. We’re dangerous.”

The Coyotes started the second quarter with an 18-13 lead and found Eichenberg and Chris Barton down low for buckets to start. The Warriors got the offense rolling after Nolan Denslow knocked down a couple free throws to start a run that brought Chippewa Hills within five points.

Reed City kept looking down low with great post-to-post passing and positioning, but the Warriors kept fighting with back-to-back baskets from Luke Recker to make it 26-25 with 3:00 left in the first half. Eichenberg was quick to kill the Warriors’ momentum with a triple and hit another trey from the corner to end the quarter with the Coyotes on top, 36-29.

The third quarter was sloppy on both sides, with the referees letting both teams play, which McGuire said plays well into his squad’s scheme.

“It doesn’t hurt us when the officials swallow the whistle a little bit,” McGuire said. “It tends to help us because we get in your face and play tough defense.”

The Coyotes were able to win the quarter 17-9 thanks to their physical play style, getting buckets from Wright and Eichenberg to take a 53-38 lead into the fourth quarter.

Eichenberg hit another shot from distance to open the fourth which was followed with a layup from Samuels. Conley hit a trey for the first Warrior basket of the final quarter, but the Coyotes were getting easy bucket after easy bucket on the other end. McGuire went to his reserves with less than two minutes to play and the Coyotes coasted to a 68-47 conference win at home.

Eichenberg led the Coyotes with six 3-pointers and 22 points as Kyle Wright added 17. Samuels chipped in eight for the Coyotes in the victory.

Reed City then responded the next night with a win over Big Rapids. (See related story.)