Martinson hits 35, Cardinals hand Reed City first league loss 54-50

Big Rapids’ Jadyn Mason (left) tries to out-position Preston Johnson for a possible rebound in Friday’s CSAA Gold Division battle. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

REED CITY — Big Rapids’ boys basketball team has had a success streak at Reed City’s gym in recent years.

It continued again on Friday.

The Cardinals snapped Reed City’s five-game win streak with a 54-50 win in Friday’s Central State Activities Association Gold Division clash.

Big Rapids (4-5, 2-3) handed Reed City (7-2, 4-1) its first league loss of the season.

Jackob Martinson scored 35 for Big Rapids.

“Obviously that one hurts quite a bit,” Reed City coach JJ Eads said. “I knew Jake Martinson is a special player. We played some good defense on him but it didn’t matter. He still made some tough shots.”

It was a jam-packed Reed City gymnasium with emotions running high on both sides in the intense rivalry. Reed City struggled shooting in the first half with Big Rapids leading 29-24 at the intermission.

“Reed City has been playing as well as anyone in the league,” Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said. “We beat a good team.”

Martinson demonstrated early on he was in for a big night for Big Rapids with three 3-pointers and 12 points in the first quarter. He also had a 4-point play with a triple and free throw.

But the Coyotes came back with Zac Saez hitting a triple and four free throws and it was tied 16-all after the first eight minutes.

Reed City continued to have problems with inside shots in the second quarter and Big Rapids took advantage. Martinson scored midway in the quarter for a 26-20 Cardinal lead. Jayden Mason drove for a Cardinal bucket and 29-22 lead late in the second.

Saez netted a triple to make it 39-32 with a minute to play in the third. Martinson hit two free throws with 3.3 seconds left in the quarter for a 41-32 lead.

Saez hit a triple and Kailing a layup to open the fourth. Anthony Pelton’s free throw made it 41-38 with 6:39 to play. LJ Graves fouled out for Big Rapids with five minutes to go.

Big Rapids missed four free throws and Preston Johnson’s putback tied the game 43-43 for Reed City at 4:50. Martinson followed with a 3-pointer at 4:12 for a 46-43 BR lead. His free throw at 2:52 and one more at 2:46 made it 48-43. Payton Hansen hit a free throw for Reed City but fouled out seconds later.

Saez bolted down the lane for a tough layup to make it 48-46 with 1:47 to play. Sam Alley hit two free throws for Big Rapids at 1:43. Saez hit two free throws at the other end to make it 50-48 and the Cards turned the ball over but got it back. Big Rapids missed two free throws but got the offensive rebound. Alley, with 32.8 seconds to play, missed both free throws but Mason got the rebound and scored.

Cody Kailing scored for Reed City and it was 52-50 with 17.5 seconds to play. Mason was fouled with 11.9 seconds to go and missed both. Alley grabbed the rebound on the other end and was fouled with 1.7 seconds to play. He made both for a 54-50 lead.

“I’ve made that (free throw) shot a million times,” Alley said adding on boxing out to get the key rebound, “I was trying to put the game away.”

Martinson was two points shy of his career high of 37 against Newaygo.

“I feel as a team, we really matured tonight,” Martinson said “We’ve been trying to figure out how we can beat good teams and find a way to win. Tonight, we found a way.”

Mason had eight points and DJ Lee six.

“Give Big Rapids credit, they came to play tonight,” Eads said. “With Big Rapids, anything can happen.”

Big Rapids was 15-of-40 in free-throw shooting.

“It’s a miracle you can win a game doing that,” Ingles said. “That’s par for the course for us. But we got four offensive rebounds on those.

“Defensively, we were better in spots. We (to some extent) took their threes away. Saez got open a couple of times. He’s a nice ballplayer.”

Saez had 19 points and Kailing 14 for Reed City.

“We played all right,” Saez said. “There’s a couple of things we can fix.”

The two teams play in Big Rapids later this regular season and also drew each other in the first round of the district tournament.

“This is chapter one of three games,” Eads said.

In Tuesday, CSAA Gold action, Big Rapids faces Chippewa Hills at home and Reed City is at Central Montcalm.

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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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