Montague’s Madison Aebig (left) battles North Muskegon’s Hannah Meier for the ball during the teams’ game Friday night. Morgan Shugars also provides pressure on defense for Montague. The Cats fell to the Norse, 40-32.
MONTAGUE — The quest for a win hasn’t yielded results yet for the Montague Wildcats in the early part of the season, but there are signs the team may be moving closer to coming out on the positive end of a game soon.
Friday night, it was a second-quarter surge by North Muskegon that cost Montague a chance at its first victory.
Led by Morgan Seaberg, the Norse ripped off a 19-4 run that stretched from the end of the first quarter all the way to halftime, a run Montague was unable to match in a 40-32 loss Friday night.
The Wildcats dropped to 0-3 with the defeat.
Seaberg, who scored a game-high 14 points, spearheaded the Norse run. Montague was able to surge back in the third quarter but could get no closer than four points in the second half.
“I think we were just exhausted,” Montague coach Bill Stone said. “The first quarter was really good, then towards the end and into the second quarter, we were spent. We subbed but it caught up to us at the end.”
The reason Montague was so spent was probably a fast-paced game plan on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats were able to come up with 17 steals and got several fast-break opportunities, but were unable to capitalize on enough of them.
Montague’s speed attack is used to take advantage of the speed of point guard Morgan Shugars, who scored eight points Friday.
Hailey Cockerill had the heaviest scoring load, managing 11 points for Montague. In addition to Shugars’s eight, Nicole Rumsey had six points and also grabbed seven rebounds. Rumsey was also charged with defending Seaberg, which she did admirably, but at the cost of energy Montague would need at the offensive end to catch up.
Montague changed up its defense from time to time, going from a 1-3-1 to a man-to-man to a box and one, all in an effort to stop the Norse’s top scorers, Seaberg and Alli Wierda. Unfortunately, there was no solving those two on this evening. Wierda added 13 points to Seaberg’s 14.
The Wildcats have dropped three straight home games to open the season, but Stone is confident in the improvement his team has shown in December.
“We’ve gotten better every game,” Stone said. “We’re 0-3 but we’ve become more composed and gotten better every single game. I think we will continue to do that.”
Next week, the Wildcats face Shelby, a top-tier WMC team, so they will have to continue to improve.
Montague 32: Hailey Cockerill 5 0-0 11, Madison Aebig 1 0-0 2, Morgan Shugars 2 2-4 8, Elyse Taylor 1 0-0 3, Nicole Rumsey 3 0-2 6, Karleigh Davis 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 2-6 32.
Three-point field goals: Cockerill 1, Shugars 2, Taylor 1. Fouled out: Elyse Taylor (Montague), Morgan Seaberg (North Muskegon). JV Score: Montague 36, North Muskegon 20.
North Muskegon 11 17 3 7 - 40
Montague 14 4 11 3 - 32
close one to Hart
HART — Whitehall’s struggles continued Friday night, as the Vikes dropped to 0-3 with a 53-46 road loss at Hart to open West Michigan Conference play.
The Vikings led by three at the halftime break, but Hart surged ahead with a high-scoring second half to take control and win the game.
Emily MacArthur and Brandi Balzer each posted double-doubles for Whitehall. MacArthur had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Balzer had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Leah Deuling also scored 10 for the Vikings.
falls short to Grant
GRANT — Whitehall fell to 0-2 on the girls basketball season Tuesday night as a second-half comeback fell short against Grant. The Vikings lost 42-34 to the Tigers.
“We had another slow start being outscored by seven in the 2nd quarter to go into halftime down 10,” Whitehall coach Rachel Kent said.
The Vikings battled back but were unable to make up the deficit in the final 24 minutes.
Emily MacArthur had a strong game for Whitehall, leading the team with 17 points and nine rebounds. Brandi Balzer added seven points, and Jenna Pesch and Bailey Seeger each scored four. Seeger had six rebounds and three assists as well, while Pesch had five rebounds and four steals.
Kaycee Fahlen led Grant with 12 points while Dayna Wood had 11.
to Kent City
MONTAGUE — A slow start cost the Montague Wildcats Tuesday night, as the team fell to 0-2 on the season with a 60-30 loss to Kent City.
The Eagles were seven of eight from beyond the arc in the first half, a display of sharpshooting that kept the Wildcats at bay. Kent City made nine triples total in the game.
“The girls never quit,” Montague coach Bill Stone said. “We improved in several areas over last week’s opener against Orchard View. We initially had some difficulty with their press but adjusted to it and did much better.”
Montague had a balanced scoring effort on the night, as Elyse Taylor scored eight points and Morgan Shugars had six. Shugars also contrbuted four steals.
Nicole Ramsey scored five and Stone credited her with playing good defense against Kent City’s tough front line.