Samuels to the rescue
Juniors lay-up as time expiring leads to Reed City victoryREED CITY — With a minute remaining and Reed City up six, even Coyotes’ Chad Samuels began to have thoughts that the game was over. Luckily for Reed City, he played it through for the full 32 minutes. The Coyotes narrowly escaped with a 50-48 boys basketball victory Wednesday night at Reed City on Samuels’ lay-up with six seconds remaining. The Coyotes are now 7-7 overall and 7-6 in the Central State Activities Association. The Warriors fell to 7-9 overall and 6-9 in the league. Reed City led 48-42 with one minute remaining in the fourth quarter. But a free throw and then a bucket by the Warriors’ Hunter Conley cut the lead to 48-45 with 36 seconds left. Chippewa Hills forced a turnover and Mark Miller hit a 3-pointer to even the game at 48-48 with 18.6 seconds remaining. Reed City took a timeout to set up the last shot. However, the Coyotes turned the ball over on the inbounds pass, which led to a Chippewa Hills lay-up attempt by Jake Tarbell, who missed. Samuels grabbed the rebound and raced down the court. The junior avoided contact and made the bucket — for his only two points of the game. The Warriors could not get a shot off before time expired to give Reed City the 50-48 win. “I thought we had it,” Samuels said. “But we had a couple of turnovers and Chippewa Hills executed at the end. I just grabbed (the rebound) and went down the court as fast as I could.” For Chippewa Hills coach Mark PeLong, Wednesday was another tough loss in a season full of them. “It is frustrating for the kids because we are so close we just haven’t been able to push it over the cliff,” he said. “We just needed to make one more play at the end.” The game was back and forth throughout the first half. Reed City grabbed an early 11-5 lead before the Warriors tied the contest at 11-11 at the end of the first quarter. Chippewa Hills continued to use the momentum to take a 22-15 advantage in the second quarter and took a 27-24 lead into halftime as it was able to get to the free throw line. “I asked them to be physical and they were physical,” PeLong said. “We bellied up on defense and the officials let us and that was great.” For Reed City coach Dean McGuire, the fact that his defense continued to give up high-quality shots in the paint was what frustrated him most. Chippewa Hills was led by Peter Lewandowski with 14 points, while Tarbell added 13. “They pinned a lot of our guys with screens and got the ball down low and they were able to get the ball in the paint at will,” McGuire said. Chippewa Hills increased its lead to as many as seven at 35-28 before the Coyotes scored six straight points to make the score 35-34 going into the fourth quarter. The Warriors then struggled offensively for the next three and a half minutes as Reed City went from man-to-man to a zone defense to open the fourth quarter that caught Chippewa Hills by surprise. “Reed City hasn’t shown that all season and that fouled us up until we got the right personnel in,” PeLong said. That little wrinkle helped the Coyotes as they regained the lead, taking a 40-35 advantage. Reed City kept the lead until Miller’s 3-pointer at the end. “I”m a man-to-man guy and it killed me to go to zone,” McGuire said. The Coyotes were paced by Ryan Willis with 14 points and Kyle Wright netted 12. Reed City is in action tonight when it travels to Hesperia. Chippewa Hills also is on the road as it heads to Morley Stanwood.