Story by Ken DeLaat
Photos by Alexis Mercer
Reed City 54 Newaygo 26
An undermanned undersized and overmatched Lion team showed a lot of grit tonight in their loss to the Coyotes. Reed City came into town after seeing their undefeated season come crashing down when the one two punch of Big Rapids and Central Montcalm produced a pair of routs and tumbled them to third place in the Gold. With Lily Ruehmeier sidelined by illness the Lions were down to 9 players and facing a Reed City squad of 13 featuring a deep 8-9 player rotation
Kamryn Myers started the scoring for the ‘Yotes and her name would be announced time and again throughout the game. Jaylee Long answered for the Lions before Reed City promptly ran off 10 in a row until a Dana duChemin bucket stopped the streak. Myers responded with a three pointer and with time expiring in the first Emily Libey hit the cylinder on her third attempt from underneath and the quarter ended with the Coyotes in control 17-4.
The Lions came out fighting as Daisy Hagen Madi Bush and Sophia Frisbie exchanged baskets with the visitors while Long, Bush Mya Berwald and Alexis Brocker banged away with the taller team fighting for rebounds and scrapping for loose balls. At the half Reed City’s lead had increased by just one.
The third was a different story as fresh troops kept coming on the floor for Reed City and the press began to take its toll on the Lions. Myers hit a pair of triples with Libey and Ali Duddles scoring in the paint and the lead went to 24 points before Long battled her way inside past three defenders to end the drought before adding a free throw.
The Lions never gave up. The Coyotes continued to press and Newaygo continued to fight through it the best they could. Watching the team play out the final minutes with the level of effort they were putting out it looked as though they could have been battling in overtime rather than down by a couple of dozen.
"We just got beat tonight,” said Coach Nate Thomasma. “Reed City took us out of our offense defensively and we just had a bad start to the game and the 3rd quarter.
"Give credit to them, they really played a solid game."
The Lions did themselves and their school proud. There may be more losses down the road as the team still have to face the high flying Cards and the Hornets who have been carving up their opponents, but my hunch is there will be some wins in there as well. One thing is for certain, however.
These girls won’t back down.
"We'll regroup and be ready for our game against Hesperia on Tuesday,” added their coach.