Mona Shores beats Muskegon 64-57 to advance to the Class A district finals

By Dave Hart

GRAND HAVEN – The Mona Shores girls basketball squad understood what its challenge would be in the Class A district semifinals on Wednesday night.LSJ Logo incert

The Sailors had to get past a very good Muskegon team and its Miss Basketball candidate, senior standout Mardrekia Cook.

The Sailors met the challenge in surprisingly strong fashion. They managed to contain Cook to five points in the first half, which gave them enough breathing room to down the Big Reds 64-57 at Grand Haven High School.

Mona Shores, now 19-3 on the season, will meet Reeths-Puffer on Friday in the district championship game at 7 p.m.

“I thought Muskegon played better tonight than they did both times we played them during the year,” said Mona Shores Coach Brad Kurth, whose team split with the Big Reds during the regular season. “I am so proud of our kids for rising to the occasion.

“The way you beat Muskegon is playing them from ahead, and making them play from behind, and I am proud of everyone for fighting and fighting.”

Sailor standout guard Jordan Walker paced all players with 31 points and added 14 rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

Mona Shores’ freshman Alyza Winston added 13 points while Veronica Kastelic chipped in with six.

“That was a great team,” Walker of the Big Reds. “To win this game means a lot to us, but it’s not the championship game, so we need to go out stronger during the next game.”

The Big Reds jumped out to an 8-0 lead three minutes into the contest on 3-point baskets by Dinasti Dowell and Day’zsha Day, as well as a two-point hoop from Tierra Williams.

The Sailors responded with their own 8-0 run, led by Winston’s two 3-point baskets.

Muskegon closed out the quarter with a 6-5 run to lead 14-13 at the first buzzer.

The Sailors came out strong during the second quarter, scoring the first 15 points to take 28-14 lead with 3:45 left in the half. The run was fueled by Walker with 11 points.

But the Big Reds counterpunched, outscoring Mona Shores 12-4 to cut their deficit to 32-26 at halftime.

The key to the first half for the Sailors was holding Cook to only five points, all on free throws.

“She didn’t have as big of an impact as she normally does against other teams,” Kurth said about Cook.

Muskegon cut its deficit to 36-35 midway through the third quarter, bit the Sailors finished the quarter on a 13-7 run to take a seven-point lead into the fourth.

The teams played even in the fourth quarter, with Muskegon never getting closer than four points.

“It was just a good game both ways,” said Muskegon Coach Rodney Walker, whose team finished with a 16-5 record. “They (Mona Shores) did a great job executing and Jordy (Walker) had an unbelievable night. Once the Sailors grabbed the lead we were never able to get back into the game.”

Cook finished with 22 points for Muskegon. Dowell added 10 points while Andrea Pullman and Williams chipped in with eight apiece.


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