Reed City girls hitting their stride

REED CITY — The girls basketball districts are this week and the Reed City Coyotes would like to be playing their best right now.

Last week, the Coyotes ended the regular with a 3-0 mark.

Kelsey Jones and Nicolle Ostrander both scored 12 points to lead the Coyotes past the White Cloud Indians 46-32 in Central State Activities Association action on Tuesday to open the week.

White Cloud defeated Reed City at WC earlier this season.

With the Indians up 17-15 at the break, Jones and Jordyn Mason scored quick baskets for Reed City. But two triples from Welch gave the Indians a 23-19 lead early in the third. Emma Lockhart’s field goal and free throw for the Coyotes cut the Indian lead to 25-24 at 2:46. Lockhart’s 3-pointer at 1:35 gave Reed City its first lead of the game at 28-26.

Moments later, Lockhart followed with a basket and free throw for a 31-26 Reed City advantage. That’s how it stood going into the final quarter.

It was a tough first half offensively for the Coyotes, who struggled to take care of the ball and to make their shots. Reed City would wind up scoring more points in the third quarter than in the entire first half.

Kaylee Hensel’s putback with seven minutes to play gave Reed City a 33-26 lead as it was White Cloud’s offense that started to struggle. Hensel followed two minutes later with a baseliner for a 35-26 lead. The Coyote fast break was clicking with Lockhart scoring a layup off of one for a 40-28 lead with three minutes to play. At 2:14, two Ostrander free throws protected the RC lead to 42-30.

Erica Voelker scored a layup with 52.3 seconds left to clinch the RC win with a 45-30 advantage.

In the first game with White Cloud, “We were 1-of-11 in the fourth quarter,” said Coyote coach Brian Koopman. “A big difference in this game was Nicolle Ostrander was 4-of-6 in free throws at key situations in the game.”

Jordyn Mason hit two baskets in the first quarter for the Coyotes who trailed 11-7 going into the second.

For half of the second quarter, the Coyotes couldn’t score. Ostrander hit from outside to make it a 15-11 game. Hensel hit a pair of free throws moments later to cut the WC lead to 15-13. The Indians were up 17-15 at halftime.

“Defensively, we did a better job in the second half,” Koopman said. “Fortunately we got some fast break baskets.”

On Friday, the Coyotes again had a strong second half en route to a 56-37 stomping of Lakeview. Hensel scored 15 points while Lockhart and Mason had 10 apiece and Kasey Miller added eight.

On Saturday in the home finale against Hesperia, the Coyotes prevailed 61-21. Hensel and Jones scored 15 points apiece. Lockhart added six.

“For us the last two games of the year were significant for us to make sure we’ve got things tuned up for districts,” Koopman said. “This year, our last home game wound up being on a Saturday. I thought the kids played well for having two games back-to-back.”

Reed City improved to 13-7 overall and 11-5 in the league with the 3-0 week.

In Wednesday’s Class B district semifinals at Newaygo, the Coyotes play either Newaygo or Shelby.