By Dave Hart
Local Sports Journal

NORTON SHORES – The Mona Shores girls basketball team began a new era on Tuesday night without former standout Jasmyn Walker, who is now playing college ball for Valparaiso.

But her sister, Jordan Walker, is still around, and she made all the difference in her team’s opening game, scoring the final six points to push the Sailors past Oakridge 40-35 on their home court.

Megan Larabee goes for the floater as Mona Shore forward No. 23 Jena'a Matthews goes for the block. Photo/Jason Goorman

Megan Larabee goes for the floater as Mona Shores’ Jena’a Matthews (23) goes for the block. Photo/Jason Goorman

Walker led the Sailors with 14 points, nine rebounds and seven steals. Her final field goal gave the Sailors a 36-32 lead with 45 seconds to play, then she sealed the win with four free throws in the final seconds.

“She has an incredible basketball IQ,” said Mona Shores coach Brad Kurth. “Her desire sets her apart from other kids, she is willing to go much further than other kids to win.”

Both teams struggled holding onto the ball, committing more than 20 turnovers.

The battle of the boards was even at 20 apiece, which Kurth said was the key to victory.

“We were down six rebounds at halftime,” Kurth said. “We closed the gap and I told the girls at halftime the rebound war was the most important part of the game.”

Kelsey Wolffis also had a solid game for the Sailors with eight points, four steals, and two blocks.

The Sailors started the game strong, scoring the first 10 points, which included a Walker 3-pointer just 11 seconds into the contest and six overall first quarter points.

The Eagles closed the first half strong with a 9-0 run and took a 16-14 halftime lead.

Sophomore Hannah Reinhold scored five points during the run and led the Eagles with 13 points in the game.

Mona Shores' Jordan Walker dives for the loose ball. Photo/Jason Goorman

Mona Shores’ Jordan Walker dives for the loose ball. Photo/Jason Goorman

DiAvion Trotter closed out the third quarter with three key points on a free throw and a field goal to give the Sailors 23-22 edge.

The Eagles opened the fourth quarter on a 5-2 run that gave them a 27-25 lead with 4:54 left in the game. But the Sailors closed the contest with a 15-8 run.

“Turnovers were the big part (of the loss),” said Oakridge coach Terry DeJonge.  “Despite the loss this was a nice step forward for the team. At times we struggled, but we are taking steps toward where we are going to go and I am excited.”