Reed City boys hold back Tri-County 47-44 in rematch

BLOCK ATTEMPT: Reed CIty’s Brandon Evans (right) goes for the block againt Tri-County. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BLOCK ATTEMPT: Reed CIty’s Brandon Evans (right) goes for the block againt Tri-County. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

REED CITY — Reed City defeated Tri-County a week ago by 36 points at Howard City in Central State Activities Association Gold Division action.

That game was a boys basketball weather-related makeup and with the way the schedule was set up, the Coyotes played the Vikings again on Tuesday, and Reed City coach JJ Eads was leery of a possible letdown.

It appears he had a right to be.

Tri-County (0-14, 0-10) came out determined and trailed the Coyotes (4-11, 4-7) only 12-10 after the first quarter and 25-24 at halftime and snuck out a 47-44 victory. It was 59-23 last week.

“We’re a young team and it showed again tonight,” Reed City coach JJ Eads said. “We warned them that you can’t overlook (Tri-County) after what happened last week.”

With a balanced Tri-County attack led by Kyle Acton, who had six points in the first half, the Vikings had the lead at times in the first two quarters. Zac Saez and Phillip Jones had seven points apiece for the Coyotes.

Reed City was playing without 6-foot-4 post player Karsten Koopman, out with an illness, forcing Reed City to have a smaller lineup.  Tri-County at times took advantage with some key offensive rebounds. Eads acknowledged that some players in the Reed City lineup also weren’t feeling well.

“You have to deal with it,” Eads said. “We could have responded better.”

Tri-County fired out to a 32-29 lead at 3:38 of the third on a basket by Justin Kirkwood. Cody Kailing scored at 2:34 for a 33-32 Reed City lead followed by a Brendan Evans put-back. The Coyotes led 39-35 going into the fourth quarter. Justin Kirkwood opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and the Vikings took an early lead.

Evans scored at 5:20 for a 41-40 lead but the lead would seesaw the rest of the way. Sturgell’s 3-point play gave the Coyotes a 46-42 lead with 2:40 play. Reed City missed a shot at the other end but Tri-County was called for an offensive charge when it appeared the Vikings might be getting a field goal and free-throw attempt.

Kailing got fouled with 15.5 seconds to play and hit a free throw for a 47-44 lead. Tri-County got the ball back with 11.3 seconds to go in regulation. They called time out with three seconds to go. Phillip Jones blocked Kirkwood’s 3-point try at the buzzer.

“We came out a little flat, but we finished well,” Sturgell said. “We didn’t have our starting big (Koopman) in there.”

Evans scored 10 points while Zac Saez added nine points and Jones, Kailing and Sturgell scored seven apiece, Kirkwood had 15 for Tri-County.

“Their big guy (Adam Kamp) killed us down low,” Eads said. “With long rebounds, we couldn’t get a handle on it. (Kamp) did a nice job.”

Reed City is home against Chippewa Hills on Friday.

“We’ll have to get ready for Chip Hills, which is a big rivalry game,” Eads said.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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