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Spinning their wheels

December 27, 2018

RICHTON PARK, ILL. -- Too much egg nog? Didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas? Stuck in traffic?

Whatever the issue was in warmups and in the first quarter for just about anyone in a Michigan City uniform not named Jaivion Reid, the post-holiday malaise took a while to wear off in the Wolves’ opening game of the McDipper Tournament at Rich South on Wednesday.

“We’ve had a little layoff,” said coach John Boyd, whose club last played Dec. 16. “We were extremely lethargic. We couldn’t get any energy. I can’t say it any other way. We were flat. As soon as we came in the gym, we were unorganized. We were like a deer in headlights. I was to talking to the other coach (beforehand), but I couldn’t help but notice my team. The younger kids were very starry-eyed. They looked kind of in awe of the environment. We weren’t ready to win this game mentally.”

Despite Boyd’s pre-game pep talk, the resulting double-digit deficit in the opening eight minutes proved to be just a little too much for City to overcome. Despite a career-high 37 points by Reid, the Wolves couldn’t quite get over the hump, falling 71-67 to Rich Central.

“We’ve just got a young team,” Reid said. “Guys have never played in this atmosphere besides me and Ray (Howard). We weren’t as focused as we should be. We didn’t play as hard as we usually do. We got off to a slow start. We should’ve fought harder in the beginning.”

The Olympians (3-6) led 38-30 at the half and would’ve been up a lot more if it wasn’t for Reid’s 14 points.

“Jaivion kept us close,” Boyd said.

City (5-3) chipped away at the deficit, using an 8-2 start to the fourth quarter to pull within 58-57 on Reid free throws at the 6:05 mark.

“I loved the fact we kept fighting,” Reid said.

Reid scored the Wolves’ last 10 points among 14 in the final period, his foul shots tying the game at 65 with 69 seconds left.

“Jai played like a senior should, like somebody who’s been in this environment for three years,” Boyd said. “He was aggressive, tenacious. He wanted to win. We just needed a couple other guys to match it.”

They were a rebound away from having possession with a chance for the lead in the final minute, but Quarnell Jones’ fourth-try putback pushed Rich Central in front and Bryonte Washington made a transition layup off a Daijon Reddix missed 3. After Reid free throws at the 14-second mark, Rich Central threw long to Washington on the inbounds pass for the clinching hoop.

“We needed the big shot and couldn’t get it,” Boyd said. “We knew we’d have to play tough. We weren’t getting anything. They were 2-5, but they were a different team than we watched on film. The coach said they got some guys who were ineligible back. We expected them to be tough. I thought we would be ready to match their intensity.”

Reid was special, but Howard was the only other City player in double figures, scoring 10. Both had seven rebounds.

“I’ve played here before. I know the rims,” Reid said. “My teammates just kept passing me the ball and I hit open shots. I kept preaching to them, even if you’re not hitting your shots, keep shooting, they eventually will fall.”

City returns to action this morning at 10:30 against Chicago Marshall, which lost 80-74 to Romeoville.

“The thing about this tournament is you have to have amnesia,” Boyd said. “We’ve got to come back ready to play.”

Rich Central 71, Michigan City 67

The Wolves’ Jaivion Reid scored a career-high 37 points.

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