By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
The Montague Wildcats’ arsenal was a bit too potent of the Oakridge Eagles on Friday night.
It was a handful of Wildcats weapons vs. Oakridge’s Mike Eacker.
And when it was finished, the visting Wildcats had a 70-58 victory over the host Wildcats that put Coach Dave Osborne’s team up two games in the WMC race.
“One one of advantages we have it anyone can score,” Montague coach Dave Osborne said. “Luke (VanBoxel) was great. Chase (Casebolt) and Brandon Moore were in foul trouble, but we were still able to maintain or increase our lead when those two guys were on the bench.”
Casebolt led the way with 19 points, followed by VanBoxel with 18 and Moore with 12, including two monster dunks. Jim Boerema added eight points.
For Oakridge, it was basically a one-man show with 6-foot-8 Eacker scoring a game-high 29 points.
“Mike Eacker probably played his best game of the season and we need that out of him,” Oakridge coach Tracy Ruel said. “We need him to keep playing like he did tonight.”
Montague grabbed an early six-point lead after one quarter and extended it to 12 by halftime.
VanBoxel penetrated the Eagle defense and bagged one 3-pointer to lead the Wildcats in a the third quarter. He scored 11 points in the quarter. However, with Eacker leading the way with 10 points, the Eagles were within 10 after three quarters.
Francis Decker hit two of his four 3-pointers in the final quarter as Oakridge was able to cut into the lead, but each time it got within striking distance, the Wildcats answered. Their answer included a pair of dunks by Moore and one from Boerema.
“That’s the thing this year with our senior leadership, we don’t panic,” Osborne said. That group of seniors includes Casebolt, who scored nine points in the final quarter, including a 3-pointer and four free throws.”
“They made a run and we knew they would make a run,” Osborne said. “They hit a few 3s to cut into the lead, but were kept our composure.”
As far as Coach Ruel was concerned, the first half was the key when his team missed some opportunities to stay within a possession or two.
“We missed a lot of easy baskets, the same thing we had up there,” Oakridge coach Tracy Ruel. “That the difference in the game. We missed four layups and got three fouls off those four layups on the rebounds. We were down by 12 and it should have been six or it should have been four.”
“My guys got down big and fought hard,” Ruel said.
Montague 70, Oakridge 58
Chayce Lohman 1 0-0 2, Kalup Bentz 2 0-0 5, Brandon Moore 5 2-4 12, Brandon Stine 1 0-0 2, Luke VanBoxel 8 0-2 18, Jacob Marsh 2 0-0 4, Chase Casebolt 6 4-6 19, James Boerema 4 0-2 8. Totals 25 6-15 70.
Dom Greenawalt 1 1-2 4, Francis Decker 4 0-0 12, Austin Wright 2 2-2 7, Brock Gonyon 1 0-0 2, Chad Lazarock 2 0-0 4, Mike Eacker 10 8-9 29. Totals 20 11-13 58.
Montague 19 – 13 – 18 – 20 — 70
Oakridge 13 – 7 – 20 – 18 — 58
3-pointers: Bentz, VanBoxel (2), Casebolt (2), Greenawalt, Decker (4), Wright, Eacker. Fouled out: Lazarock. Total fouls: Montague 16, Oakridge 19. Technicals: none. JV: Oakridge 42-32.