Reed City girls hold on for victory

REED CITY — It was a whole different ballgame this time between the Reed City Coyotes and the Chippewa Hills girls basketball teams.

Earlier this season, the Coyotes rolled over the Warriors  70-33. Friday night, the Warriors virtually took Reed City down to the wire before the Coyotes pulled it out 49-43.

The game was played in the middle school gym because of leaking problems with the high school gymnasium roof.

Reed City coach Brian Koopman noted that with the change in gymnasiums and Snowcoming week activities, there could have been enough distractions to keep the Coyotes off stride.

“We didn’t get our shots to fall,” Koopman said. “But when you keep a team in the high 30s to low 40s, you give yourself a chance to win.”

“The difference in the game was they made free throws (14 of 21) and we didn’t (10 of 27) said CH coach Doug VanSyckle. “in the first half they had 12 free throws that they made.”

Kalee Hensel scored 14 points while Kelsey Jones netted 12 and Nicolle Ostrander added nine for the Coyotes who trailed 9-7 after the first quarter, led 25-16 at halftime and 36-25 after the third quarter and held back the Warriors in the fourth.

The Warriors started off to a 6-0 lead before Reed City got on the board. Jones had a drive for two points at 2:35 of the second for a 20-14 Coyote lead.

Hensel’s putback at 4:40 of the fourth gave the Coyotes a  32-20 lead. Ostrander’s basket late in the quarter gave her team a 36-25 lead. Keegan Denslow and Morgan Shaw both had 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for the Warriors to keep things interesting.

“We were kind of slow coming out there,” said Reed City sophomore Emma Lockhart. “We probably could have done better defensively but we got the job done, and probably could’ve gotten a lot of rebounds better. They got a lot of rebounds over us (42-28).”

Chippewa Hills had more of a full lineup this time, Lockhart noted, compared to when they lost 70-33 to the Coyotes.

“They pressure the ball well on the wings,” VanSyckle said. “We had to do some different things tonight. We gave it a good effort. Overall I can’t complain. Reed City is a good team. They have some nice players. We definitely played better than we did the last time against them.”

Reed City’s girls had throwback uniforms. Jones wore the uniform of her father, Bruce, who donned the jersey during the 1979-80 Reed City boys state championship season.

“Every year since I can remember, the kids did something different,” Koopman said. “It’s a team unity thing.”

Reed City entered the week at 10-7 overall and 8-5 in the league. The Coyotes close the regular season Friday at Lakeview.