Big Rapids survives Reed City 43-27 in offensive struggle

Big Rapids’ DJ Lee (2) tries to go the basketball against Reed City’s Zac Saez on Friday. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BIG RAPIDS — It was a matter of which offense would struggle at the wrong time.

Big Rapids (10-6, 7-4) did what was needed to outlast Reed City (10-7, 7-4) 43-27 in Friday’s Central State Activities Association Gold Division boys basketball game.

Big Rapids was up by 22 at halftime but struggled offensively in the third to keep Reed City alive.

Reed City’s offense struggled in the first half. Frustration settled in with the Coyotes whistled for two technicals in the first eight minutes. Trevor Woodard hit the technical foul shots for an 11-1 lead. Big Rapids was up 11-2 after the first quarter.

“Those technical fouls gave us a little bit of a cushion,” Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said. “We got a couple of possessions out of it. But they came back”

Preston Johnson’s layup midway in the second quarter was Reed City’s first field goal of the game.

The Cardinals were up 16-4 but also struggling on offense. Jake Martinson scored off a backcourt steal and Woodard’s triple at 1:54 made it 21-4. Sam Alley’s triple late in the first half made it 28-6 at halftime.

But a 17-2 third quarter for Reed City got the Coyotes back in the game.

Jackson Price scored at 5:10 of the third to get Reed City in double digits with a 30-11 Big Rapids lead. Reed City started picking up the tempo to get back in the game and the Cardinal offense went cold and struggled in free throws.

Payton Hansen’s 3-pointer late in the third made it 30-23.

“I knew their coaches would be upset with their play and they’d come back in the third quarter with a charge,” Ingles said. “We didn’t answer it right away.”

DJ Lee’s 3-pointer upped the lead to 35-25 at 5:55.

Neither team’s offense could stay consistent and Big Rapids’ free-throw shooting woes continued. Jackson Price’s basket cut it to 35-27 midway in the quarter.

Cody Kailing fouled out with 3:07 to play for Reed City.

Sam Alley scored off his own missed free throw for a 37-27 lead at 2:44. Woodard followed with a steal at 2:00 and Anthony Pelton fouled out a minute later followed shortly afterwards by Hansen.

Big Rapids again hurt Reed City with offensive rebounds on missed free throws. Two Martin free throws at 0:55 made it 40-27.

“Our defensive energy was better the second half,” Eads said. “There were things that happened out there we have to clean up, especially on rebounding and deflections.

Martinson scored 35 for Big Rapids in the first game against Reed City. He scored 12 in this game but was the leading scorer. Alley had nine points while Lee and Woodard had seven apiece.

“Martinson’s one of the best scorers in the league,” Eads said. “He’s going to score no matter what. We wanted to hold him in check and thought we did good on that. But we know that have other guys who can score. You hold them to 43 you have to be happy with that. But we have to find a way to put the ball in the basket.”

Hansen led Reed City with 13. Jackson Price had seven for Reed City.

Big Rapids was 16-of-32 from the free-throw line. The Coyotes had only eight field goals and were 9-of-16 from the line.

The Cardinals snapped Reed City’s five-game win streak with a 54-50 win last month and Big Rapids handed the Coyotes their first league loss of the season. The Coyotes were 7-1 going into the game but have since gone 3-6.

The two teams meet on Feb. 25 in Ludington for a Division 2 district first round game.

“We have to shot the ball well against Big Rapids,” Eads said. “We have to move the ball a little better.

Big Rapids is home with Newaygo on Monday. Reed City is home today vs. Chippewa Hills. Both games are makeups because of the weather.

Central Montcalm 46. Chippewa Hills 29

Chippewa Hills was up 18-15 at halftime. Jack Frebes had 13 points and Mitch Kuzma and Elliot had six points.

The Warriors play at Reed City today.

Pine River 40, McBain NMC 27

MCBAIN — Sasha Huffman tallied 14 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Bucks to victory on Friday.
Pine River led 23-17 at the half. Elijah Lewis had 11 points  and Lane Ruppert added six points five rebounds, and four steals.

“We had a great defensive effort tonight,” head coach Brian Goodenow said. “We struggle to put the ball in the basket but we’re happy to take the win. Ruppert was an excellent floor general tonight.”

Pine River (8-9, 5-6) hosts Roscommon today at 12:30 p.m. in a make-up game.


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

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