By Justin Haggerty
Everyone was right. Each team has now faced each other once, and nobody has gained a definitive advantage.
Muskegon beat Mona Shores earlier in the season, then Reeths-Puffer beat Muskegon.
On Friday Mona Shores beat Reeths-Puffer 65-61, leaving a three-way tie at the top of the standings.
The contest was as close as everyone expected, with the Sailors gaining a big lead through three quarters, then withstanding a furious Rocket comeback.
“Any time you have the three-headed monster that this conference has, it’s anybody’s game on any night,” said Mona Shores Coach Brad Kurth. “The thing I like about this is that we’re at home the next two conference games with Reeths-Puffer and Muskegon.”
The Sailors came out hot, shooting 57 percent from the floor and making all of their free throws in the first quarter.
Mona Shores maintained its momentum into the second quarter, building a 32-16 lead t one point and a 36-24 edge at halftime.
Mona Shores’ Shamara Tumblin scored eight points in the first quarter including two triples, and poured in 12 of her 14 points in the first half.
“I truly felt that Shamara Tumblin hitting the threes early on was the difference,” said Reeths-Puffer Coach Brandon Barry. “That really, I thought, gave them the boost they needed.
“To be honest with you, we got our heads down a little bit early and had a long way to dig ourselves out to make the comeback.”
The Sailors kept a 12-point edge, 49-37, after three quarters. But then the Rockets finally woke up and made a game of it.
Reeeths-Puffer’s Elysia Mattos scored 14 of her game high 21 points down the stretch, going 4-for-4 from the field and making four free throws. Her hot hand helped the Rockets pull within two points, 61-59.
Then the game came down to free throw shooting, and the Sailors didn’t miss many.
Jordan Walker was clutch for Mona Shores, making 5 of 8 free throws in the closing minutes, while freshman Alyza Winston made all four of her attempts, to help seal the victory. Both ended with 19 points in the win.
Brooke Larabee finished with 20-points and Jazmin Wright-Zornes scored 10 for the Rockets.
“I don’t like losing but I like watching both teams play,” Barry said. “I think the people in the gym were pretty entertained by that game.
“It was a good night for girls basketball, regardless of who won.”