Reed City’s 3-pointers too much for Pine River

REED CITY — The 3-ball did the trick for the Reed City Coyotes on Monday.

Locked in a tight first-half battle with Pine River, the Coyotes went to the 3-point shot to pull away to a 33-24 halftime lead and advance to a 63-38 nonleague boys basketball victory.

Andre Jones hit two back-to-back 3-pointers and Mykel Dillard followed with one late in the half for the Coyotes, who found themselves behind 22-21 with 3:38 to play in the second quarter after a basket by Pine River’s Conner Hoaglund.

Jones and Dillard hit 3-pointers early in the game to ignite the Coyotes to a 12-6 lead. The Bucks battled back to make it 13-12, Reed City, after the first quarter.

The Coyotes started pressing full court in the second quarter but Pine River, led by Hoaglund, who had eight first-half points, were able to sneak inside for key baskets and stay in the game. But then Dillard and Jones went to the 3-point shot.

“With the offense we run, as a coach, they decided they were going to take away the drive,” Reed City coach Dean McGuire said. “They didn’t allow us to get to the basket as we normally like to. The kickouts were wide open. We shot it decent tonight, first time in awhile. We have some great shooters. We knock them down in practice, but for whatever reason this year, it’s been a struggle (in games). But tonight we knocked them down.”

Taylor Pelton netted a putback to open the second half for Reed City. Dillard hit his third 3-pointer of the night for a 38-26 lead at 5:29 of the third. Dillard assisted Collin Hatfield on a 3-pointer at 2:55 for a 42-29 advantage, while the Bucks’ offense continued to struggle.

“There were three things we weren’t doing,” Pine River coach Brian Goodenow said. “We weren’t closing out on the 3-point shooters. We weren’t crashing the boards, and we weren’t taking care of the basketball.”

It was 44-30 going into the fourth. Schuyler Smith drove inside for a basket and 50-34 lead with 4:30 remaining. Jones scored on a couple of drives to boost the Coyotes to a 58-36 advantage with three minutes to play.

“We only gave up 14 points (in the second half), but they could have scored more,” McGuire said. “They had some good looks but they missed. We have to tighten it up defensively. We didn’t play our normal game. Some guys were complaining about being tired. I don’t know if it was because of a Monday game. We’re not used to it. I’m not making excuses. We didn’t bring it defensively tonight as we normally do.”

Dillard scored 20 points, followed by Jones with 13 and Logan Straub with seven.

Hoaglund led the Bucks with 12 points while Hunter Esiline added 10.

“We were right there,” Goodenow said, looking back at the second quarter. “We had to make an adjustment early. We wanted to play a little trapping zone. But they were getting too many open looks out of that. So we play a little better defensively man-to-man. But we had trouble finishing shots.”

Reed City (7-4), winners of three straight, play at Tri County Friday night in Central State Activities Association Gold Division action.

Pine River (5-4) is at Lake City Thursday night.