STANTON — It was a tale of two halves for the Central Montcalm girls basketball team.
The Green Hornets trailed 23-6 midway through the second quarter, but managed to battle back, take the lead and lose to the Reed City Coyotes 42-41 on Tuesday night at home.
A combination of not playing a game in three weeks and plenty of turnovers gave the Coyotes the early advantage. It looked like Reed City was going to run away with this game.
“No matter how hard you try to simulate game speed in practice you can’t do it,” Hornets coach Marty James said. “We focused a lot on fundamentals. We shot a lot of free throws and that did pay off tonight.”
The Hornets were 20-of-29 from the free throw line including knocking down eight in the fourth quarter comeback.
Cental Montcalm was down 10 points at the half and just five after three quarters.
“I told the girls several times early in the game that we have to slow down and let the game come to us,” James said. “I think they bought the message a little bit at least.”
“The first half game I thought we had good intensity, we were hustling and we were crashing the boards offensively,” Reed City coach Brian Koopman said. “We didn’t make some easy shots, decisions and we didn’t make some free throws. They were able to hang around and give them credit.”
In the fourth quarter, the Hornets started with a 10-6 run to pull within one point at 37-36 with 3:10 remaining in the game.
With 2:50 remaining, a foul was called on Reed City for a push along the sideline. Koopman did not like the call and was whistled for a technical foul.
Hailey Flint stepped to the line and knocked down both tech shots to give the Hornets a 38-37 lead. Alex Barnwell (12-of-14 for the game) made one of two foul shots for a two-point Hornets lead.
Central Montcalm, with the momentum, got the ball back, but quickly turned it over.
Reed City scored the next three points — all by Kalee Hensel — for a 41-38 lead with 1:12 remaining.
The Hornets’ Michaela Crooks answered with a game tying three-point shot a short while later.
“It felt timid. It didn’t feel like a lead,” James said of the Hornets comeback. “Our girls have still got to get to the point of learning how to win and finish. It felt like we were playing not to lose and not to win. We made some fouls that we shouldn’t have made and allowed them back in at the free throw line.”
With the game tied at 41-41 Reed City was fouled with 10.7 seconds left in the game. Hensel made the first, but missed the second free throw for a one point advantage.
Central Montcalm rushed down the court, but turned the ball over as James was trying to get a timeout. The clock ran out and the Coyotes held on for the win.
Alex Barnwell led the Hornets with 16 points while Karli Clark and Savannah Case each had six points.
Reed City’s Emma Lockhart led the Coyotes with 14 points.
“She is a tough kid, plays hard and is smart,” Koopman said of Lockhart. “She had a lot of steals and created a lot of things for us. She had the deflection at the end of the game.”
The Hornets dropped to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the CSAA with the loss. Reed City improved to 3-5 overall and 3-2 in the league. Central Montcalm travels to White Cloud on Friday.
Reed City 10 15 6 11 — 42
C. Montcalm 4 11 11 15 — 41
REED CITY (3-5) — Lockhart 7 0-2 14, Miller 1 0-0 2, Al. Stieg 1 2-3 4, Donley 1 0-0 2, Am. Stieg 2 0-2 4, Kal. Hensel 3 3-8 9, Kar. Hensel 1 0-2 2, Lintemuth 2 1-2 5. Totals: 18 6-19 42. Three-point goals: None. Total fouls: 21. Fouled out: Lintemuth. Technical foul: Coach Koopman.
CENTRAL MONTCALM (2-5) — Thomas 0 1-2 1, Crooks 3 0-0 7, Barnwell 2 12-14 16, McKeown 0 1-2 1, Clark 2 2-5 6, Case 2 2-4 6, Flint 0 2-2 2, Collins 1 0-0 2. Totals: 10 20-29 41. Three-point goals: Crooks. Total fouls: 14. Fouled out: Case.