Third time's the charm for Coyotes
By Martin Slagter
Pioneer Sports Editor
REED CITY— There was a consistent theme the Reed City boys basketball team rallied around before their game against Big Rapids on Wednesday: They already got us twice this year.
The Coyotes didn’t let it happen again, beating the Cardinals in a 47-40 overtime thriller at Grant Middle School. Reed City advances to the district final against Fremont on Friday.
Jared Holmquist, who scored four of his team’s seven points in overtime and finished with 14 points and eight rebounds on the night said any win over a rival is sweet, but beating them in the playoffs is twice as nice.
“I’m overwhelmed,” he said. “They got us twice during the regular season, but we got them when it counted.”
Reed City coach Jesse Kailing pointed to a key stretch in the fourth quarter where the Coyotes trailed 37-33 with six minutes remaining. Reed City was able to even the score up at 40-40 with two minutes remaining before sending the game into overtime.
The Coyotes would hold Big Rapids scoreless in overtime to bring home the win.
“They had us down, but we wouldn’t allow them to keep momentum,” Kailing said. “We scored the next four points, and I think we controlled the pace of the game. No win feels as good as beating Big Rapids.”
It was a rivalry game that would send one team home, and both teams played like it in the first half, fighting for loose balls and competing for every rebound.
After trading baskets to start the game, Reed City's Evan Stieg would give the Coyotes the lead on a triple to make it 9-8 with 1:10 remaining in the first quarter.
Justin Currie would knot the game up at 13-13 early in the second quarter on a runner. Currie led the Cardinals with nine first half points.
After a Holmquist bucket gave the Coyotes back the lead, Big Rapids answered on a breakaway dunk by Aaron Daugherty to cut the lead to 17-15.
A jumpter off glass by Evan Stieg would give Reed City a 22-17 lead with 1:20 in the second quarter before Aaron Daugherty answered with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 22-20 at the half.
The third quarter saw the game seesaw back and forth, with each team coming up with big shots, blocks and dunks that brought both fanbases out of their seats.
Dylan Schuberg would ignite the Cardinals for 10 points in the third quarter on a pair of 3-pointers and a breakaway jam to give Big Rapids a 34-30 lead. Schuberg led Big Rapids with 14 points while Justin Currie contributed 11 points and six rebounds.
The key to keeping the game close, Kailing said, was making Big Rapids shoot perimeter jump shots and not allowing them to beat them on the interior. The Cardinals converted on five shots behind the arc, but did not shoot a high percentage from deep, overall.
“I thought we were able to control the pace of the game,” he said. “Normally we want to play fast, but we knew we wouldn’t be able to run with them. We took a gamble hoping they wouldn’t hit their outside shots and it paid off.”
Holmquist would connect on a back door alley-oop style pass to cut the lead to 34-32 on the next possession.
After the teams would trade baskets to send the game into overtime, Holmquist muscled in a shot to start the period and give his team a two point advantage. He would add two free throws to give his team a four point lead.
Big Rapids could not convert on a shot in the extra period. It had a chance when Aaron Daugherty made a key steal but could not convert on the breakaway. The Coyotes would hit free throws down the stretch to ice the win.
Kailing said he was proud of how his kids responded to the challenge of playing against a tough, athletic Big Rapids team.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “This is why you coach high school basketball.”
Big Rapids forward Aaron Jensen didn’t share Kailing’s sentiments, but was proud of his team and the group of seniors for the Cardinals for what they had accomplished this year, including a Central State Activities Association title.
“This senior class is really close,” he said. “It’s hard to beat a team three times in one year, and we just didn’t execute as good as we could have. There are a lot of good memories both on and off the court that I have of these guys.”
Reed City senior guard Evan Stieg, who finished with 10 points, said extending the season with a win over a rival is as good as it gets.
“We kind of came in here with nothing to lose,” he said. “I don’t think many people gave us much of a chance, but we proved everyone wrong.”
REED CITY 47, BIG RAPIDS 40 (OT)
Reed City 9 13 10 8 7 47
Big Rapids 8 12 15 5 0 40
Reed City (15-6)
Dakota Saez (2) 3-6 9, Trent Sims 1 0-0 2, Josh Justin 2 2-4 6, Dillon Lodholtz 2 2-4 6, Jared Holmquist 5 4-5 14, Evan Stieg 3 (1) 1-4 10. Totals 13 (3) 12-23 47.
Big Rapids (18-4)
Aaron Jensen 1 4-4 6, Ben Randle 0 1-2 1, Nick Baldwin 1 0-0 2, Aaron Daugherty 1 (1) 1-2 6, Dylan Schuberg 2 (3) 1-2 14, Jake Daughety 0 0-2 0, Justin Currie 4 (1) 0-0 11. Totals 9 (5) 7-12 40.