By Dave Hart
Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON – The Oakridge girls basketball team was obviously ready to get back to work after the holiday break.

The Orchard View Cardinals, on the other hand, looked like they could have used a few more days off before resuming the season.

Oakridge took advantage of a quick 10-0 start and a 16-point halftime lead and claimed a surprisingly easy 44-29 non-league victory Tuesday over the Cardinals at Orchard View High School.

Oakridge improved to 5-3 on the season while Orchard View dropped to 4-3.

The Oakridge defense made a big difference in the decisive first half, giving up only seven points, including only two in the second quarter. The visitors led 23-7 at the break and never looked back.

“They are a very athletic team and I think we matched their intensity,” said Oakridge coach Terry DeJonge. “I really liked how we mixed it up defensively with a press, then a no-press defense.”

The Eagles also helped their cause with solid offensive rebounding, which resulted in 10 second-chance points in the game.

“We were able to get extra possessions with offensive rebounds, and we hit the shots that were really important,” DeJonge said.

The Cardinals struggled offensively without standout Amiya Brown, who suffered an allergic reaction and was not able to play.

Oakridge started the game with a 10-0 run. Sophomore Hannah Reinhold, who led the Eagles with 16 points in the contest, paced the early spurt with five points. The Eagles had a 13-5 lead after the first quarter.

Jayshonna Blackshire, who led the Cardinals with 16 points, scored five of the seven first half points for Orchard View.

She stayed hot in the third quarter, scoring six of her team’s 10 points, but Oakridge was still able to build its lead to 36-17 at the buzzer. Reinhold had six points in the third for the Eagles.

Orchard View outscored the Eagles 12-8 in the fourth quarter but could get no closer than 13 points.

Senior Megan Larabee finished with 12 points for Oakridge, including 10 in the second half.

“I thought that their early lead made them feel a little more comfortable,” Orchard View Coach Rodney Walker said about Oakridge. “They were definitely the more aggressive team early which was the deciding factor of the game.”