Whitehall guard Jenna Pesch (left) winds up for a pass while Anna Osborn (15) and Hannah Meier defend for North Muskegon Friday night. Pesch’s 11 points helped Whitehall to a 52-34 win.
WHITEHALL — It wasn’t pretty, but the Whitehall Vikings played an effective game Friday night, taking control early and never giving it up in a 52-34 West Michigan Conference victory over North Muskegon.
Whitehall (4-14, 3-10 WMC) scored the game’s first 10 points and led by double digits for almost the entire game.
“Our goal tonight was to get out strong and maintain the lead,” Whitehall coach Rachel Kent said. “I thought my girls hustled for 32 minutes tonight. We got on the ground a lot more after loose balls.”
There were a lot of loose balls thanks to Whitehall’s attacking press defense, which forced the Norse into a slew of turnovers. The Vikings, in turn, got points off many of those mistakes.
Whitehall, as usual, got a lot of production on the inside, as Emily MacArthur and Brandi Balzer proved difficult to stop. MacArthur had 19 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double, and Balzer had 11 points and seven boards.
Kent said the pair has worked on being more cerebral in the post rather than simply reacting immediately upon getting a pass.
“We’ve been telling them both that before they react or make a move, they need to have a feel for how many bodies are on them instead of forcing something up,” Kent said. “If they have two or three people on them, kick it out and wait for another opportunity.”
Whitehall’s backcourt didn’t score a bunch of points, but the guards served as the front line of the full-court press and came up with a lot of defensive stops. Jenna Pesch led the guards with 11 points and three steals.
Only one week remains in the regular season, and Kent’s goal is simple: Have her team playing its best when it counts.
“Nothing is impossible,” Kent said. “At districts, we’re on our home court and will look to make the district final, probably against Oakridge, and we’ll want to take it to them.”
NORTH MUSKEGON (34) Wierda 3 12-14 18, Hardy 1 2-2 4, Meier 1 0-1 2, Duncan 1 0-1 2, Brown 1 1-4 3, Clark 1 0-2 2. Totals 9 16-26 34.
WHITEHALL (52) Uganski 0 2-2 2, Pladies 0 0-1 0, Balzer 4 3-4 11, Deuling 2 0-0 5, Seeger 2 0-2 4, MacArthur 7 5-7 19, Pesch 5 0-0 11. Totals 20 10-16 52.
North Muskegon..... 4 9 6 15 — 34
Whitehall..........12 9 13 18 — 52
Three-point goals — Deuling 1, Pesch 1. Fouled out — Duncan. Technical fouls — none. JV score — Whitehall 39, North Muskegon 35.
MUSKEGON HEIGHTS — Whitehall wasted no time taking control of Wednesday’s game at Muskegon Heights.
The Vikings raced out to a 27-point lead after a quarter and cruised to a 66-15 nonconference victory over the Tigers.
Whitehall (3-14) led 29-2 after a quarter, and extended that lead to 50-9 at the break.
The Vikings’ high scoring meant several players had standout performances. Jenna Pesch led Whitehall with 18 points and also had five steals. Emily MacArthur had 17 points and eight rebounds, while Brandi Balzer just missed a double-double, with 10 points and nine boards. Bailey Seeger had eight points and Leah Deuling had seven.
Christy Pladies had eight rebounds for the Vikings.
Three Tigers posted three points each to pace Muskegon Heights.
MUSKEGON — Reeths-Puffer defeated Mona Shores Friday night in an O-K Black conference game, 56-41.
The Rockets are now 11-6 and 4-3 in O-K Black play.
No further information was reported.
defensively in loss
WHITEHALL — The Whitehall Vikings struggled defensively Tuesday night, allowing Ravenna to score its season high in a 72-58 West Michigan Conference loss.
The Vikings were potent offensively but couldn’t stop the Bulldogs from putting five players into double figures in scoring.
Emily MacArthur led Whitehall (2-14, 2-10 WMC) with 22 points, while Brandi Balzer added 17. Bailey Seeger scored six points.
Melissa McWatters had a team-high 19 points for Ravenna.
MUSKEGON — Despite a terrific individual effort from Kalisa Williams, Reeths-Puffer suffered a 49-40 loss Tuesday night against the Holland Dutch.
Williams had 25 points, most of all scorers in the game, but the Dutch dominated the boards and were consistent throughout.
“Strong interior play on the part of Holland was the difference in the game,” R-P coach Brandon Barry said. “The Dutch out-rebounded the Rockets by 12.”
Camaryia Williams had nine points and nine rebounds for the Rockets (10-6).
Morgan Ricketts led the Dutch with a double-double, as she scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Alison Scudder added 13 points for Holland.
HOLLAND (49) Silva 3 0-0 7, Harrell 2 0-0 4, Carter 2 0-0 4, Starr 2 2-4 6, Ricketts 4 6-6 16, Scudder 6 1-7 13. Totals 19 9-17 49.
REETHS-PUFFER (40) K. Williams 9 6-6 25, C. Williams 3 3-5 9, Seidell 1 0-0 2, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Peel 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 9-11 40.
Holland..........12 12 12 13 — 49
Reeths-Puffer.... 5 15 8 12 — 40
Three-point goals — Silva 1, K. Williams 1. Total fouls — Holland 15, Reeths-Puffer 15. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — none.
MONTAGUE — The final three quarters went pretty well for the Montague Wildcats against Oakridge, the second-place team in the West Michigan Conference.
However, the first one was what cost Montague in a 57-30 WMC loss to Oakridge Tuesday night.
The Eagles ripped off a 25-0 first-quarter scoring run to immediately seize control of the game.
“They simply did not miss many shots,” Montague coach Bill Stone said of the first quarter. “Our girls never quit. They continued to work hard the entire game.”
Indeed, the Wildcats (2-13, 2-9 WMC) played better in the final three frames, being outscored by just two in that span.
Elyse Taylor had a double-double to lead Montague, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Hailey Cockerill had five points and LeAnne Fessler scored four.
Keyara Wiard and Morgan Giddings each scored 16 points to pace the Eagles.
Montague loses to
MONTAGUE — The Montague Wildcats struggled Monday against an excellent Muskegon Catholic Central team, dropping a 61-39 nonconference game.
Montague gamely battled the Crusaders through a quarter, trailing 9-7 after one, before Muskegon Catholic took control.
Hailey Cockerill had a nice night for the Wildcats (2-12), tallying 16 points. LeAnne Fessler added seven points, while Morgan Shugars and Elyse Taylor scored four each.
“Their 1-3-1 half-court press gave us problems, and once we adjusted to that we did play much better,” Wildcats’ coach Bill Stone said. “However, the damage was done.”
Taylor led Montague in rebounds with eight, while Karleigh Davis had six boards.
Tootie Thompson paced the Crusaders with 16 points.