By Lucas Rains
Local Sports Journal

OAKRIDGE – The Oakridge girls’ basketball team is one step closer to repeating last season’s perfect 14-0 West Michigan Conference record.

With a 55-26 win over Montague on Friday, the Eagles improve to 12-3 overall and 11-0 in the conference.

“Our number one goal is always to win the conference,” said Oakridge Coach Terry DeJonge. “Overall, I’m just really happy with the teamwork tonight. We talk about playing team ball and I thought we looked really good a lot of times tonight.”

Despite the tough loss, Montague (8-4, 6-4 WMC) has already matched its win total from all of last year under first-year head coach Brian Beebe.

Oakridge held Montague to single-digit points in all four quarters in yet another great defensive effort.

The Eagles employed tough defense to collect three wins this week – over Mason County Central, Hart and Montague – allowing just 17, 18 and 26 points, respectively, in those contests.

“We’ve been really working on our defense,” DeJonge said. “The girls are very athletic and they’re really smart.”

The Wildcats jumped out to a quick 7-4 lead in the game’s opening minutes, but that was their final lead of the night. Oakridge finished the first quarter on a 15-2 run to take a 19-9 advantage into the second quarter.

The Eagles’ Emily Jacoutot scored seven of her game-high 18 points in the first quarter. Hannah Reinhold added six of her 12 points in the frame.

Montague managed just four points in the second quarter and the Oakridge lead ballooned to 30-13 by halftime.

It was a balanced offensive effort in the first half for the Eagles, with Jacoutot, Reinhold, Megan Larabee and Shelbe Wilde all scoring at least six points.

Jacoutot got Oakridge out and running in the third quarter, scoring the first four points to expand the Eagles’ lead to 21 early in the second half. Oakridge would hold a 41-22 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.

Oakridge scored the first 11 points in the fourth quarter, with Hannah Jones notching the first five. The lead grew to as much as 30 at the 5:12 mark in the quarter. The Eagles ran out the final minute of the clock to collect the win.

Five Wildcats – Emma Flagstead, McKenna Lohman, Claudia Rumsey, Sydney Stine and Katie Webster – scored four points each to lead the team.