By Dave Hart
MUSKEGON – Jayshonna Blackshire keeps getting injured around tournament time every year.
But it doesn’t stop the Orchard View standout from getting the job done.
Last season Blackshire got hot and led the Cardinals to a district title, despite an ankle injury.
On Wednesday she pumped in 29 points, while battling another bad ankle, to pace Orchard View to a 43-33 win over Whitehall in Class B girls basketball district semifinal action at Oakridge High School.
Blackshire was at her best in the latter part of the third quarter, scoring eight straight points to break open what had been a two-point game.
Orchard View, now 10-11 on the season, will face undefeated Spring Lake Friday in the district title game at 7 p.m.
“The way she goes is how our team goes,” Orchard View Coach Rodney Walker said of Blackshire. “When she is not aggressive we struggle a bit.”
While Blackshire took care of the scoring for Orchard View, the Cardinal defense did the rest. O-V ‘s press forced many of Whitehall’s 30 turnovers and kept the Vikings from getting untracked.
Whitehall also struggled from the free throw line, converting only 11 of 29 attempts.
“I thought our defensive intensity was pretty good tonight,” said Walker. “That was the game plan, creating turnovers to make it easy for us offensively and we executed.”
The Cardinals jumped out to a 12-1 lead in the first five minutes of the game. Blackshire scored nine points during the run and 13 in the first quarter.
Whitehall finished the quarter on a 7-4 run, with Payton Bearup leading the way with four points.
O-V led 16-8 at the first buzzer.
Whitehall outscored the Cardinals 8-6 in the second quarter to cut its deficit to 22-16 at halftime. Emily MacArthur scored six of the eight Vikings points in the quarter.
Whitehall led off the second half with a 7-3 burst and narrowed the score to 25-23. Bearup scored five of her nine points in the quarter.
But then Blackshire took control and nailed down the win, scoring eight straight unanswered points to put the Cardinals on top 33-23 after three quarters.
Both teams scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.
“We definitely battled back,” said Whitehall Coach Rachel Kent. “We needed to shut down Blackshire though, and none of the girls were willing to step up and take a charge against her.”
MacArthur finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Melissa Shoup led the Vikings on the boards with 13 rebounds.
The Vikings outrebounded the Cardinals 52-30.
Whitehall finished the season with a 10-10 record.