Reed City defeats Evart in final regular-season game

Reed CIty's Jackson Price heads to the basket.
Reed CIty's Jackson Price heads to the basket.

REED CITY — It wasn’t pretty, but the Coyotes will take it.

The Reed City boys basketball team defeated the Evart Wildcats 63-44 on Senior Night Tuesday at Reed City High to conclude regular season play.

“I thought we got off to a decent start,” Reed City head coach J.J. Eads said. “I think the last couple minutes of the second quarter we kind of fell apart. In the fourth quarter, we had a chance to put them away but we didn’t do it. We talked about the effort level going forward. It can’t be like it was tonight.

“Hopefully, they understand that; if not it’s going to be a short district run.”

Cody Kailing led the Coyotes with 16 points and freshman Payton Hanson had 13 points in his varsity debut, while Karsten Koopman and Preston Johnson scored eight and seven points, respectively.

“It’s been a battle all year to put points on the board,” Evart coach Kris Morgan said. “Getting a consistent four quarters has been a struggle all year. Injuries and other things have taken a toll on us.

“Reed City played well but I thought we had our moments.”

Karsten Koopman scored the first basket of the game and as the Coyotes jumped out to a 16-7 lead after the first quarter. Reed City used a 9-0 run in the second quarter to go up 25-7 and led by as many as 21 before taking a 32-16 lead into the second half.

A Pelton jumper to start the third quarter was the beginning of another run for the Coyotes. Back-to-back Kailing 3-pointers capped a 13-2 run to extend the lead to 27. A diving lay-up from Jackson Price made it a 55-26 game thru three quarters.

The Wildcats were not going to go away quietly. Evart was able to draw fouls and get to the line as well as use press defense to create turnovers, which led to easy baskets.

“We battle all the way through every game,” Morgan said. “We just dig ourselves too much of a hole to really make a difference. It is what it is.”

The Coyotes didn’t make a field goal in over three minutes of play. After trailing by as many as 31 points, the Wildcats were able to cut the lead to 16 with two minutes remaining in the fourth.

“The teams we play against like to set the tempo,” Koopman said. “The problem is we’re a team that likes to follow the tempo when we need to be the ones to set the tone. We can’t be backing off.

“We’ve just got to overlook this quarter and move ahead with practice.”

Evart (3-16) wrapped up its regular season with a home game against Pine River on Thursday. (See related story.)

“We’ll continue to work on our offense,” Morgan said. “We really need to work on our passes and figure out a defensive game plan.”

With the regular season in the books, Reed City (12-8) hosted Kalkaska on Monday in district action (see related story).

“We need to give maximum effort every night,” Eads said. “We have some basketball IQ stuff that we need to work on. We had some good moments but we need to be more consistent.”