Reed City falls short against Big Rapids in district title game

NEWAYGO — The third time was almost the charm Friday night for the Reed City Coyotes.

Cameron Baumunk scored 19 points including 13 in the final quarter to help fuel a huge comeback as the Big Rapids Cardinals topped Reed City 48-44 in the Class B district girls basketball title game at Newaygo.

Kendra Enszer scored 14 points and Jade Brown added 10 for the Cardinals, who claimed their second straight district title.

Big Rapids trailed Reed City by 12 points early in the third period.

Big Rapids defeated Reed City twice during the regular season.

“It’s been a crazy week but I’m so proud of my kids,” said Big Rapids coach Dawn Thompson, whose had three close wins during the week. “Each night wasn’t our prettiest performance but it was certainly gutsy.”

The season ended at 14-8 for the Coyotes.

“We’ve had a great season but with that comes some pressure and teams are going to come at us,” Thompson said.

Kalee Hensel led Reed City with 18 points while Kelsey Jones and Emma Lockhart added eight apiece. Jones added nine rebounds while Lockhart had four rebounds, four steals and two assists.

“Our game plan was perfect,” said Reed City coach Brian Koopman. “We knew exactly what we were going to do. I told the girls if we kept them in the 40s we could win the game. We had them on the ropes. We had a couple of breakdowns offensively of where to go and didn’t make a couple of shots late that we were making early in the game.”

“We knew we needed to play together as a team,” Lockhart said. “At the end, we couldn’t pull it out. Overall, we were happy with the way we played, but not with the outcome.”

Reed City was up 30-20 at halftime. The RC defensive pressure continued on the first play of the second half with the Cardinals whistled for a five-second violation. Jordyn Mason scored for a 32-20 Reed City advantage.

“We were finding the open man and executing on defense and getting steals,” Lockhart said.

Shelby Albright’s triple cut the Coyote lead to 34-29 with 2:55 left in the quarter. Nicolle Ostrander’s 14-footer made it 38-29, RC at 1:30. Alex Folkema scored to beat the buzzer for the Cards who were trailing 38-33.

Baumunk scored for Big Rapids to open the fourth. Brown had a putback at 5:45 to cut the Coyote lead to 38-37. Reed City’s offense was struggling as the momentum seemed to be changing in Big Rapids’ favor. Ostrander countered with a 16-footer for a 40-37 RC lead. Then Big Rapids went on a 7-0 run.

Baumunk answered with a triple to tie the game. She followed moments later with a free throw for a one-point lead.

The Cardinals continued to apply full-court pressure, which was bothering the Coyotes. Baumunk’s three at 4:02 made it 44-40. The game went scoreless the next two minutes. Jones at 2:10 hit two free throws to make it 44-42.

Big Rapids went into a delay offense to try to force Reed City to foul. Baumunk hit two foul shots at 1:40 for a 46-42 lead. Enszer grabbed a rebound at the other end and both teams had an exchange of possessions. Baumunk sank two free throws with 30 seconds left for a 48-42 lead and the Coyotes ran out of time.

“They got a few rebounds and we weren’t hitting our shots like we were in the first half,” Lockhart said.

Ostrander connected at 2:12 of the first quarter for a 10-6 lead. Jones scored her first basket late in the quarter for a 14-10 Reed City advantage. Enszer hit six points in the first quarter for the Cardinals.

Hensel would catch fire in the second quarter with a pair of triples and 10 total points. Her final triple came with five seconds left in the period to give Reed City the 10-point lead at the intermission. Baumunk scored six points in the quarter for the Cardinals. The RC zone defense continued to thwart the BR offense.

“Their man-to-man press caused us into a lot of turnovers,” Thompson said. “You have to give Reed City credit. They did some nice things in the first half. We just got ahead of ourselves and needed to be patient on the half-court trap.”

“My kids played a helluva game,” Koopman said. “I don’t care what you say. We have a couple of sophomores and some juniors and they did a helluva job. We maybe didn’t bring home a district trophy, but I wouldn’t trade this team for anybody.”

“I thought we did a pretty good job with the season,” Lockhart said.

“I have three great seniors in Kelsey Jones, Nicolle Ostrander and Patience Raby,” Koopman said. “Those girls are first class acts and represent Reed City basketball, the school and the community, and there’s no better group than those three. I hope our underclassmen work hard and are ready to go next year.”

“Next year, we won’t have the height with Kelsey gone,” said Lockhart, who said she still anticipated a Reed City squad that would work well as a team.