REED CITY — It was only one game but Reed City sophomore Chad Samuels displayed his potential in Friday’s 62-39 boys basketball victory over Big Rapids.

“We kept hustling and we kept executing,” Samuels said of the game. “It think it’s a good sign.”

Samuels indicated he has improved a lot from last season and his coach readily agrees.

“He was on the varsity as a freshman and gained some valuable experience,” said Reed City coach Jesse Kailing. “I know at times he probably thought ‘what am I doing up here?’ But as you can see, it’s all paying off now. He’s an outstanding player who gets better every week. He’s able to do the things his skills allow him to do.”

“I think I’ve improved a lot,” Samuels said. “I have a lot more confidence. I worked a lot over the summer. I’m being confident in shooting and handling the ball and being a leader more.”

The confidence factor was huge for Samuels against Big Rapids.

“I was playing hard and everyone else was playing hard, too, which opened the shots,” he said.

Samuels noted that this season’s Coyote squad has about the same quickness but might be a little shorter than last year’s team.

“That means we have to work harder to get what we get,” he said

On Dec. 6, in the season opener at home against Cadillac, Samuels had 10 points. Jared Holmquist led all scorers with 17.

As his team was getting ready for Hesperia and Holton this week, Samuels acknowledged the importance of getting up for all opponents regardless of records or expectations.

“We need to come in with the same energy and keep working hard, it doesn’t mater who you’re playing” he said.

Samuels said he’s been working on his shooting and ball handling.

“I feel a lot more confident than last year,” Samuels said. “We’re all friends on the team, which helps out a lot.”

Coming up, Samuels said the rematch with Big Rapids plus games with Morley Stanwood and Comstock Park will be tough challenges.

But right now, Samuels admits that the CSAA goal is rather clear:

“16-0 in the conference.”