By Ron Rop

KENT CITY – The host Kent City Eagles used a first-half ambush to capture a Class C girls district basketball title on Friday night.

Hot shooting and a stifling defense led the Eagles to a 60-43 victory over Western Michigan Christian and a spot in next week’s regional tournament at Morley-Stanwood, where they will face the Shelby Tigers.

The Eagles ran to a 15-5 lead after one quarter and increased the advantage to 41-15 by halftime.

In the opening quarter, it was the 3-point shooting of Paige Mortensen, who canned three long-range shots. In the second quarter the inside game of Kaitlyn Geers was key for Coach Scott Carlson’s team.

Kent City's No. 22 Meghan Boyd brings the ball up the floor with WMC's no. 10 Haylee Moser pursuing. Photo/Jason Goorman
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Kent City’s No. 22 Meghan Boyd brings the ball up the floor with WMC’s no. 10 Haylee Moser pursuing. Photo/Jason Goorman

Geers scored 11 of her game-high 19 points in the second stanza.

Meanwhile the Eagles’ defense wreaked havoc on the Warriors, who turned the ball over numerous times and couldn’t get many open looks for shots.

“Paige came out with confidence and hit some good shots and they came out further, then Meghan was able to drive to the basket,” Carlson said. “With our girls you don’t know which one is going to do it on which night.”

The Eagles’ style and aggressive play were not a surprise to the Warrior coaching staff.

“There wasn’t anything I saw that was surprising,” WMC coach Glenn Karsten said. “They are good and aggressive and we can learn from this.”

Despite the lofty deficit at halftime, the Warriors came out in the second half and showed some life. Sophomore Aubrey Goorman led WMC (11-11) with 11 points and eight rebounds. The outside shooting of junior Katelyn Wright produced four 3-pointers and 12 points.

Besides Geers’ 19 points, the balanced Eagle attack also received 12 points from Mortensen and 10 points each from Meghan Boyd and Olivia Harrison, the lone senior on the Eagle squad.

“All five starters did a great job as well as the girls off the bench,” said Carlson, whose team has won four of the last five district titles. “It’s fun … no one wants to go home this time of year.”