Reeths-Puffer’s Kalisa Williams (in green) tries to keep Debbie Pekel of Fruitport from taking the ball away during Friday night’s basketball game. The Rockets rolled past Fruitport, 45-17.
FRUITPORT — The Reeths-Puffer Rockets got their first win in a big way Friday night at Fruitport.
The Rockets opened up a four-point lead by scoring 19 straight points in the third and fourth quarters and holding the Trojans without a field goal the final quarter and a half en route to a 45-17 win.
Reeths-Puffer’s run was fueled by defense. The Rockets’ full-court press flustered Fruitport into several turnovers, which turned most of the second half into a layup line for the Rockets, especially Kalisa Williams and Camaryia Williams, who had 17 and seven points respectively.
“Both those girls and Taylor Seidell are quick with their hands and feet on defense,” Rockets’ coach Brandon Barry said. “Defensively, being as young as they are, they have the ability to get to the basket. Having that scorer’s mentality is going to help us.”
The Rockets (1-1) held the lead throughout but sputtered a bit early on. While the defense was able to shut down Fruitport, Reeths-Puffer entered the halftime break up just 18-9, which Barry attributed to his team having not settled into the game routine even after opening Tuesday evening with a loss at Greenville.
“We still played like it was our first game,” Barry said. “we talked at halftime and stressed that if you stand between the offense and the basket, good things will happen.”
Good things did happen, as R-P ripped off the 19-point run with relentless pressure defense. The Trojans couldn’t get an open shot all night, and even when the Rockets’ pressure resulted in defensive fouls, Fruitport struggled at the free-throw line as well, rendering their offense toothless.
“If we can make some things happen on the top and speed teams up, I think it keeps us in ballgames,” Barry said, adding that the pressure is somewhat necessitated by his team’s lack of size. “When other teams take desperation shots, our not being big allows us to rebound one on one in more space.”
Reeths-Puffer, which has struggled the last couple of years, certainly did not look like a rebuilding team Friday night, and the hope from Barry’s end is that his young team will continue to improve.
“I’m happy to get a win for our girls,” Barry said. “It’s been a little lean the last couple years, so hopefully this will be a stepping stone.”
GREENVILLE — Reeths-Puffer dropped its season opener Tuesday evening to Greenville in a non-conference game, 45-33.
The game was close through the first three quarters, with the Rockets trailing by only two entering the final frame. However, the Yellow Jackets opened things up in the fourth quarter, outscoring Reeths-Puffer 20-9 to pull away for the win.
Greenville attempted 29 free throws to the Rockets’ 10, allowing the Jackets to score some easy points.
Grace Swanson paced the Rockets in scoring, compiling 13 points. Kalisa Williams had 10 and Camaryia Williams added six. Kalisa Williams also had four assists, while Camaryia Williams had four steals. Swanson had seven rebounds to lead Reeths-Puffer (0-1).
opener to OV
MONTAGUE — Montague had its hands full Tuesday evening in its season opener with a tall, athletic Orchard View squad that was too much for the Wildcats in a 51-24 opening loss.
“We will probably not run into a more athletic team this year,” Montague coach Bill Stone said. “They’re a very well-coached team. They can jump out of the gym.”
Attacking the Wildcats with an impressive inside/outside attack, Orchard View dominated the paint and had three players hit multiple three-point baskets. Montague (0-1) was never able to get on track, and the Cats trailed 27-12 at the halftime break.
“They had a very aggressive full-court man to man defense and they’re incredibly quick,” Stone said. “It rattled us at first, but the girls regained their composure and did some good things. It was encouraging to see how they pulled back together and settled down.”
Madison Aebig was the Wildcats’ leading scorer on the evening, putting in six points. Morgan Shugars and Elise Taylor each had four. Taylor had nine rebounds and Hailey Cockerill had five steals.
Montague will host Kent City Tuesday evening in its second game of the season.
MUSKEGON — The Whitehall Vikings struggled in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s opener, and Western Michigan Christian took advantage, outscoring the Vikings by 10 in the final frame en route to a 42-32 win.
The game was close throughout but the Warriors took advantage of their fourth-quarter trips to the charity stripe while Whitehall could not. The Warriors buried six of their eight free throws in the fourth, while Whitehall (0-1) made just two of its six attempts.
The game was tied at 16 at halftime, but the Warriors quickly opened up an eight-point lead in the third quarter. Whitehall was able to bounce back and rally to tie the game again as the quarter ended.
“We started out slow in the third,” Whitehall coach Rachel Kent said.
The Vikings were led by Jenna Pesch in scoring, as the junior had 10 points and also contributed four steals. Emily MacArthur had a strong game on the inside, grabbing 10 boards to go with her eight points.
Whitehall hits the road again Tuesday evening in its second game, traveling to Grant.