By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

The Fruitport Calvary  Christian girls got a close-up look at the new-look Muskegon Catholic Central Crusaders on Thursday night.

The result was the visiting Eagles first loss of the season after winning the first 12.

And Eagle coach Brad Richards was impressed.

“This has to be one of the greatest collections of talent that any Class D team in this area has ever put together,” Richards said.

Six transfers, who had to sit out until last week, made their presence felt, especially Jemauree Neal, who used her speed to score 13 points. Haleigh Locke was the leading scorer for MCC with 16 points.

“Depth is the biggest thing,” said MCC coach Erich Adams, whose team had seven players and now has 12.

But Adams was not pleased with everything he saw against the Eagles.

“We gave up too many points on defense,” Adams said. “We came up with 26 points that we gave up off miscommunication on defense, lucky breaks on their part and second-chance points where we just did not box out.”

The new-look Crusaders turned up the defensive pressure all night long. That included a full-court press, stepping into the passing lanes and forcing the  Eagles into unforced turnovers.

“That’s going to be our strategy from here on out,” Adams said. “We have 12 girls and all 12 players are good players in their own right.

“It would be silly for us not to play pressure defense from start to finish,” Adams said.

Calvary led 14-12 at the first stop before the Crusaders put together a strong second quarter and grabbed a 32-23 halftime lead. That advantage increased to 47-33 after three quarters.

Besides Lock with 16 points and Neal with 13,  the Crusaders received eight points Tootie Thompson and Katherine Salisz.

Calvary (12-1) was led by sophomore Taylor Richards with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Hayley Mohr had 12 points and 12 rebounds and eighth-grader Allyson Richards had 10 points and six rebounds.

Muskegon Catholic 63, Fruitport Calvary Christian 50

Natalie Kapanka 2 0-0 4, Hayley Mohr 4 4-6 12, Brianna Zehr 1 0-0 3, Shymari Harris 1 0-2 2, Taylor Richards 7 4-4 19, Allyson Richards 4 2-2 10.  Totals 19 10-14 50.

Zhane Harris 3 0-0 6, Jemauree Neal 5 2-3 13, Tootie Thompson 4 0-0 8, Toya Briggs 3 0-0 6, Janae Coon 1 0-0 2, Katherine Salisz 3 1-2 8, Haleigh Locke 8 0-0 16, Kendall Wickstrom 2 -0 4.  Totals 29 3-5 63.

FCC 14 – 9 – 10 – 17 — 50
MCC 12 – 20 – 15 – 16 — 64
3-pointers: Zehr, T. Richards, Neal, Salisz. Fouled out: none. Total fouls: Fruitport Calvary 8, M. Catholic 15. Technicals:  none.