Coyotes face Big Rapids in district final

BIG RAPIDS — The Reed City boys basketball team beat Clare at its own game Wednesday evening. The Pioneers had a size advantage against the Coyotes, but it was Reed City that was able to repeatedly get the ball into the paint and get easy baskets in a 66-38 victory in the Class B district semifinal at Big Rapids High School. The Coyotes now advance to Friday’s final against the host Cardinals. Reed City coach Dean McGuire was concerned about Clare’s height, pounding the ball into the post and getting easy baskets. To counter, the Coyotes pressed the Pioneer guards, and when the ball did get into the post, they double-teamed. “Kyle Wright, Ryan Willis and Jake Vincent did a great job down there and the guards did a good job of helping,” McGuire said. Clare struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the first half, never scoring consecutive baskets through the first two quarters. That couldn’t be said for the Coyotes. With good ball movement, Reed City was able to get solid looks at the basket against Clare’s 2-3 zone. The end result was solid scoring nights by Wright and Vincent, who tallied 14 and 12 respectively. Wright also grabbed nine rebounds and Willis had seven boards. Chad Samuels led the Coyotes with 15 points and Willis netted seven. Reed City led 37-23 at halftime. “With the exception of the game at White Cloud, we have been effective against the zone,” McGuire said. “Ryan Willis and Kyle Wright are two of our better passers.” The points in the paint continued in the second half for the Coyotes. Reed City moved the ball and were able to get high-quality shots. After Clare opened the second half with a bucket, the Coyotes went on a 10-0 run to take a 47-25 lead. Reed City would lead 52-31 at the end of the third quarter. Clare was paced by Zach Pulcifer and Spencer Harrell with nine points apiece. The Coyotes’ victory sets up a third contest with Big Rapids. The Cardinals defeated Reed City twice this season. Despite that fact, McGuire likes what he sees, especially from his seniors right now. “I saw a side of my seniors that I haven’t seen,” he said. “They are not ready to have the season be done.” Though McGuire admitted to having an idea on how he was going to attack the Cardinals, he wasn’t going to spill the beans. He just knows Big Rapids is a solid team from top to bottom. “Dario (Williams) is a good passer and is quick, and Nick (Baldwin) is smart and strong and can drive and shoot,” McGuire said. “And Quinn (Tyson) is an outstanding shooter.”