REED CITY – Last season, the Reed City girls basketball team struggled to get off to a strong start before finally settling into a groove.

Coach Brian Koopman wouldn’t mind a little quicker start this time as the Coyotes bid to be a key factor in the Central State Activities Association this season.

Reed City opened the season at home with Pine River Tuesday and also play at home against Cadillac Friday. The league season opens at home on Dec. 7 against Big Rapids.

“It’s been one of those things, we got started a week late,” said Koopman, who had most of his team playing in the volleyball playoffs through what normally would have been the first week of hoops practice. “We got the Thanksgiving break in. We did what we could do. We had one scrimmage when we normally have two or three.”

The main challenges, Koopman noted, are being in shape and “meshing together as a team, being on the same page.”

Koopman was expecting a tough week, starting with Pine River which had a three-game winning streak over the Coyotes entering this week’s contest.

“Last year we lost to Cadillac, barely,” Koopman said. ‘We lost a couple of key players and have to fill some holes and go from there. Our biggest thing is come out and play hard and play together. Our goal is to win, but overall we want to show improvement from game 1 to game 20. That’s our biggest goal right now.”

Returning starters include Emma Lockhart, Kalee Hensel and Tia Lintemuth. Karah Hensel also saw some action last year.

“The other spots are open to juniors right now,” Koopman said. “One offers a lot of defense and hustle and athletic ability and the other opens shooting power. It’s open right now. I usually use my whole bench. Some kids won’t get as much time as others, it depends on the game. For the most part, we play a deep bench and try to develop those kids for later in the year.”