By Mark Lewis
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON – Host Mona Shores and Muskegon battled all night long, both playing well enough to come away with a win.
So it was a shame for Muskegon head girls coach Taushauna Burrel’s team to have lost it at the line. The Big Reds went just 5-for-20 from the charity stripe versus the Sailors to fall 50-44 in a match-up of previously unbeatens in the OK Black conference.
“Free throws,” said an agitated Burrel following the loss. “We saw glimpses of greatness in there, but we just didn’t get it done. This team can be great if it just learns that we need maximum effort and focus the whole game.”
For Shores head coach Brad Kurth, the win turns his streaking team of late into a bona fide league-championship contender.
“The thing I’m most proud of for these girls is, every time Muskegon made a comeback, we didn’t not lose the game. We took it back. Realistically, we out-fought them for this one.”
Sailor juniors Sarah Jones and Jasmyn Walker were there whenever their team needed them, scoring 17 and 14 points, respectively, in a contest where every point was important.
Muskegon, leading 13-12 after one, suffered a letdown to open the second, as the Sailors unleashed a 12-0 run to open the frame en route to a 27-17 half time lead.
Muskegon had widdle down that lead to six after three, and cut the Sailor lead to just two, 46-44, with under 30 seconds remaining. But Jones hit back-to-back free throws with 16 ticks left, and Amy Gillings added two more makes with seven seconds left to provide the win.
“Any game between Muskegon and Mona Shores is a battle,” said Kurth. “Just an absolute battle…”
Walker pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds in the win.
Muskegon was led by Mardriek Cook, who scored 13, followed by Jade Paige, who poured in 11 points to go with 11 rebounds in the loss.
Mona Shores 12-15-8-15-50
Mona Shores 50: Amy Gillings 3 2-2 9, Morgan Smith 1 0-0 3, Meredith Smith 3 0-0 6, Saddie Vela 0 1-4 1, Jasmym Walker 5 3-7 14, Sarah Jones 5 4-4 17. Totals 17 10-17 50.
Muskegon 44: Keirra Guy 2 3-7 7, Mardriek Cook 6 1-9 13, Raven Moore 1 0-0 3, Janiece Levelston 3 0-2 8, Bri Barrow 1 0-0 2, Jade Paige 5 1-2 11. Totals 18 5-20 44.
Three-point field goals: Gillings, Mo. Smith, Walker, Jones (2), Moore, Levelston (2). Total fouls: Mona Shores 13, Muskegon 18. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none.