BIG RAPIDS — As one might expect, another Big Rapids-Reed City boys basketball game went down to the wire Friday night.

Nolan Patterson had the winning basket late in the game and Reed City pulled out a 54-53 Central State Activities Association Gold Division win.

Big Rapids entered the game with a four-game winning streak, while Reed City was nursing a three-game losing string.

The Coyotes also won at Big Rapids last year, then dropped two straight at home to the Cards, including in the district.

Big Rapids fell to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the league, while Reed City is 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the CSAA Gold.

“Kent Ingles teams are always well prepared,” Reed City coach Dean McGuire said. “The team we beat is extremely athletic at every position. I told a radio interview before the game we’d have to play hard and we did.

“Credit Big Rapids. I don’t know if high school basketball gets any better than this.”

“We missed a lot of shots that we should have made,” Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said. “They out-hustled us. Sometimes it comes down to who wants it worse and they wanted it worse than we did. We had our chances.”

Reed City got off to a slow start and Big Rapids took advantage with an early lead that hit 21-8 in the second quarter. Juwan Carlton had a rare 4-point play with a triple and foul shot to spark the Big Rapids attack in the first quarter, while Demetri Martin scored at the buzzer for a 16-8 Cardinal lead going into the second.

Andre Jones hit a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter to help Reed City get back in the game. Mykel Dillard also hit outside for the Coyotes, who cut it to 21-19 on a 10-point spurt. Big Rapids got on a spurt of its own and led 34-22 at halftime when Martin again scored at the buzzer.

Reed City outscored the Cardinals 20-9 in the third to get back in the game. Chris Barton started attacking the basket and had five points in the quarter for Reed City, while Jones hit another triple.

“We got a little disorganized in the second quarter and Big Rapids took it to us a little bit,” McGuire said. “Big Rapids put us on our heels and we put them on their heels a little bit in the third. Our guys hung in there.”

The Cardinals continued to struggle in the fourth quarter and Reed City took a 46-45 lead at 6:42 of remaining when Patrick Jobes drove for two.

The battle continued with Ryan Mackall scoring a 3-point play at 2:50 for a 50-48 Cardinal lead. Jobes scored at the other end for a 50-50 game. Martin scored off his own rebound at 1:58 for a two-point Big Rapids lead. Martin had a free throw moments later, but Barton’s putback cut the Cardinal lead to 53-52.

Big Rapids got the ball back with 49 seconds to play but turned it over at 42 seconds. Nolan Patterson converted for two at 30 seconds for the one-point advantage and Big Rapids called time with 21.1 seconds left.

Big Rapids was unable to get off a shot as Jones grabbed the loose ball and time expired.

Jobes had 16 points, followed by Barton with 13, Jones nine and Dillard seven.

“Patrick Jobes did a great job defending Martin,’ McGuire said. “We can’t stop Martin. He’s a talented ballplayer.”

“We kept the defense moving, ran our offense real good, “Jobes said. “Everyone was doing what they need to do and we got open layups.”

Martin led Big Rapids with 16 and Carlton had 15. In the last three games his team lost, “We played well,” McGuire said. “We could have been on the other side of that one-point game.”

In CSAA Gold Division Friday, Reed City is home with Chippewa Hills and is at Pine River Monday.