Reed City girls post district win over Big Rapids

REMUS — The neutral court was the charm for the Reed City girls basketball team.

Hanna Price scored 14 points and Emily Libey added 13 to lead Reed City to a 48-41 Class B district semifinal victory over Big Rapids on Wednesday at Chippewa Hills.

The season ends for the Cardinals (15-6), while Reed City (10-11) went on to beat Clare 48-47 in Friday’s title game.

“We wanted this for so long,” Price said. “It feels unbelievable. It was a whole team effort. We played hard. It was a great win.”

During the regular season, the Cardinals beat the Coyotes 29-28 at Reed City and 39-28 at Big Rapids.

“We scored some points this time and I thought our defense was good,” Reed City coach Brian Koopman said. “I talked to the kids about sagging in and making them beat us from the outside. I thought we did a good job at that. We had 41 rebounds. That was something we talked about, not giving up easy rebounds. That was our nemesis the first two games.”

It was 21-16, Coyotes, at halftime.

Kaitlyn Ray scored five straight points midway in the first quarter to give the Cardinals a 9-4 lead. The Coyotes scored the final six points of the quarter, which ended on Kamryn Myers’ 3-pointer for a 10-9 lead.

The Coyotes took a 13-11 lead early in the second on Alyssa Olds’ basket. Olds added two free throws seconds later, as the Coyotes continued to attack the basket. Brenna Westhoff’s putback gave Reed City a 20-14 lead.

“We wanted to play hard the whole game,” Price said. “We executed our game plan very well.”

Price’s 3-pointer early in the third gave the Coyotes a 24-17 lead. Westhoff’s putback moments later made it 27-17, as Big Rapids’ offense continued to struggle and Reed City was the aggressor on the boards. Price hit another 3-pointer at 3:20 for a 32-18 lead. It was 34-22 going into the fourth. Myers netted a 3-pointer for Reed City to open the fourth. Libey scored inside for a 39-24 lead at 5:52.

Then the Cardinals started making their move while applying full-court defensive pressure that eventually bothered the Coyotes. Alexis Lyman’s 3-pointer for Big Rapids cut the lead to 39-29 at 5:05. The Cards scored the next four points, but Maddie Tassino fouled out at 3:55.

Phelicia Costie’s 3-pointer for Big Rapids at 3:32 made it 39-36. Olds fouled out at 2:55. Libey’s putback at 2:10 made it 41-36. Ray’s basket at 1:12 made it 41-38, but she also fouled out seconds later. Teammate Alisa Hengesbach drew her fifth at the minute mark.

Price’s two free throws made it 44-38 and Big Rapids turned over the ball, followed by another Price free throw and Cardinal turnover. Lauren Voelker’s two free throws at 29.4 seconds gave the Coyotes a 48-38 lead.

“I thought we took care of the ball for the most part until they threw a little pressure on us,” Koopman said. “We got a little nervous, but then we made some free throws and that opened it back for us.”

Voelker added eight points for Reed City, plus 10 rebounds. Libey had 11 rebounds and Olds added five. 

“We had a little shootaround and there was no school,” Koopman said. “We worked on the threes. I thought (Price) did a good job at that too. The kids are starting to play with confidence and feel good about themselves.”

“I just wanted to win so badly,” Price said. “Anything I could do to help the team I was going to do it.”