Reed City girls fall by a point to Big Rapids

REED CITY — Big Rapids girls basketball coach Jessica Haist can breathe a sigh of relief.

The Cardinals missed 8 of 10 free throws in the last two minutes against host Reed City on Friday, but they made their last one, and that was the difference in their 28-27 victory.

Alexis Lyman went to the line with five seconds to go and sank her last attempt to give Big Rapids a 28-24 lead, making Kamryn Myers’ last-second 3-pointer insignificant.

“Lyman is clutch,” Haist said. “She didn’t have the best shooting night, but she is still the player I want on the line at the end of the game. She did what she needed to do, because if she didn’t make it (the last free throw), we would be in overtime right now.”

Big Rapids (5-3, 2-2 Central State Activities Association Gold Division) went up 26-19 on a Grace White basket with 3:13 remaining, but struggles at the line allowed Reed City to get back in it.

Megan Donley drilled a 3-pointer with two minutes to go to cut the deficit to 26-22, and Lauren Voelker made it a two-point game just after a pair of missed free throws by the Cardinals.

The Coyotes (3-6) also had troubles at the line. Emily Libey had an opportunity to tie it with 48 seconds remaining, but missed both of her opportunities.

Reed City finished 5 of 19 from the line, while Big Rapids was 8 of 31.

“Obviously we struggled to shoot the ball,” Haist said. “Other than that, I felt pretty good about our intensity. I thought we revved it up again. We had a couple of games before break where we were really lethargic. Defense won us the game with their hustle. I thought we were aggressive and had some great bench play.”

Reed City coach Brian Koopman said the rivalry played a factor in the team’s poor shooting performance.

“When you play Big Rapids, throw the records out the door,” he said. “Both teams are revved up and excited, consequently, it didn’t work out. We dug ourselves a little of a hole, but we stayed right there and had every chance to try and win the game.”

Aliza Hengesbach led the Cardinals with 11 points, while Donley scored eight points. Libey added seven points.

Reed City is at Chippewa Hills on Friday night and at Montabella on Tuesday.