Local Sports Journal

Oakridge used two different paths to fight off a pesky Fruitport girls basketball team in the Class B district semifinals on Wednesday at Orchard View. The Eagles used defense and a quick first quarter start to top the Trojans, 34-24.

Freshman guard Hannah Reinhold hit a pair of 3-pointers and added a two more points in the first quarter to get Oakridge off to a fast start and a 15-4 first quarter lead. Morgan Gidding also contributed to the run with five points.

The Eagles then went to work on defense and held the Trojans to just nine first half points and held a 18-9 halftime lead.

A drought ensued for Oakridge as it could not find the basket. For nearly an entire quarter that stretched from the second through the third quarter, Oakridge did not score.

“We were just trying to find different combinations but we just weren’t making the shots and the extra pass,” said Oakridge coach Terry DeJonge. “Fruitport was surrounding us in the middle and we weren’t able to make that pass and when we did, we count’ hit the shots.”

Breanne Burns led the Trojans during the Oakridge dry spell and helped cut the deficit to three points in the third quarter. Burns scored eight of her nine points in the third and brought her team back to trail just 23-20 to start the fourth.

“The Trojans put a ton of pressure on us defensively,” said DeJonge. “They were very active. I saw them three times earlier this season and knew they were very long. It seemed like every time we made  a drive they were there, we’d kick it out, and they were there.”

Oakridge was able to push the lead to five points with 3:20 left and spread its offense out to the perimeter to work the clock and force Fruitport to foul.

Free throws turned the game around for Oakridge as it was able to sink 6 of 8 from the line to pull away to a 10 point lead. Giddings made the first of a one in one, Sam McGhan drained 3 of 4 and Meghan Larabee sank two.

“I was really proud of the fact that things didn’t come easy but we didn’t panic,” said DeJonge. “We kept plugging along. The fourth we tightened things up and slowly nickel and dimed them.”

Giddings kept the Eagles offense moving despite the second and third quarter drought to finish with 11 points, five rebounds and three assists. McGhan chipped in seven points, five rebounds and four steals.

Fruitport’s Allison Beckwith finished with seven points and Caitlin Hughey scored all six of her points in the secondhalf.

Offensive threat Iyana Brown struggled to find the hoop for Fruitport but finished with a game-high nine rebounds. Fransesca Cerniglia added seven rebounds for the Trojans.

The Eagles move on to face Orchard View in the district finals on Friday at Orchard View. The matchup is not a new one for either team but Orchard View does have some motivation besides moving on to the next round.

Oakridge topped OV in both regular season games earlier this year. The Eagles snuck out a two point win at the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame’s Christmas tourney in December and topped the Cardinals by 19 at OV early in January.