Slow start dooms Coyote girls hoops

MORLEY — Morley Stanwood victimized Reed City with a dilemma of falling behind early that the Coyotes have faced all season and the Mohawks took advantage in a 70-44 Central State Activities Association (CSAA) girls basketball victory Friday night.

Alexis Huntey scored 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds while Bailey Cairnduff added 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Mohawks.

Sophomore Karah Hensel scored 13 points to lead Reed City, which again had to combat early-game deficits.

“We’ve been off for three weeks and it felt like it,” Morley Stanwood coach Bob Raven said of Christmas vacation. “I’m not taking anything away from Reed City. It gets kind of frustrating. They did a good job of going to the line.”

Emma Lockhart added 10 for Reed City.

“Our first 4 ½ minutes, we were afraid to get a block and this and that,” said Reed City coach Brian Koopman. “As the game went on, we had more confidence. The kids attacked the basket. Defensively, we did a good job. Height-wise, it was a mismatch. I thought our kids played hard.”

“We played well as a team together more so than in recent games,” said Karah Hensel. “Some of our shots weren’t falling.”

The Coyotes again faced on early deficit against the Mohawks, who fired out to a 7-0 lead and enjoyed advantages of 19-6 after the first quarter and 35-20 at halftime.

“We have to come out and work harder in the first quarter,” Hensel said. “I think we come out a little intimidated against the teams we play against. We have to come out and not be scared.”

Cairnduff scored two in a row for a 13-4 lead early as the Coyotes were experiencing turnover problems. Cairnduff, Alex Huntey and Alyssa Nelson all hit triples in the second quarter for the 15-point halftime lead. Lockhart had five points for the Coyotes to keep them close.

Jordyn Mason scored at 4:30 for the Coyotes and it was 43-26. Nelson’s putback made it 45-26. Lockhart countered with a three for RC. Huntey blocked a Steig shot attempt late in the quarter and the Mohawks led 50-34.

Huntey’s 3-point plays highlighted a 7-0 Mohawk run to open the fourth and she then netted a 3-pointer for a 60-36 lead with 6:07 to play. Lintemuth fouled out moments later. Huntey’s putback at 6:00 made it 62-36. Cairnduff’s putback at 4:05 made it 67-37. Reed City scored seven straight points including a triple from Allyson Stieg.

“Give Reed City credit, they hung around and they played hard,” said Raven. “Brian always has his team well prepared. I thought they battled.”

“We played hard, but they’re a good team,” Koopman said. “Take away the first 4 ½ minutes and we played hard. We’re still figuring each other out. It’s a matter of playing hard and finishing hard.”

The Coyotes, 2-5 and 2-2, were at Central Montcalm on Tuesday.

Karah Hensel said she’s been enjoying the challenges of varsity basketball as a sophomore.

“It’s a lot faster than JVs,” she said, adding that it’s “a lot more physical.”

But Hensel has also fit in with the varsity lineup nicely.

“I played with them all summer,” she said. “Mostly I’m out there for playing defense and getting rebounds. When I get the ball (on offense), I want to square up more rather than just throwing it up.”

The Coyotes entered the week at 2-5.

“We’re trying to make a good run (going into) the postseason,” Hensel said.

On Jan. 3, the Coyotes lost to undefeated Clare.

“It was a pretty physical game,” said Clare coach Matt Rodenbo. “It took a little bit to adjust to the physicalness. We can play that way too. Once we did, we played a lot better. Reed City, it’s a tough place to play over there and they’re not a real big team. We did get them into some foul trouble and we held our ground.”

Lindsey Winter led Clare with 25 points.

Kalee Hensel had 11 points and Mason added nine for Reed City.