By Andrew Johnson
MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP – Now comes the showdown.
Some were wondering if the Reeths-Puffer and Mona Shores girls basketball teams would get the chance to play a third time this season, in the Class A district finals, after splitting their two games in the regular season.
That’s because the Rockets had to play Grand Haven in Wednesday’s district semifinals, and the Rockets lost to the Bucs earlier in the season.
But a strong second half propelled Reeths-Puffer to a 45-25 win over Grand Haven, and Mona Shores survived its semifinal game with a one-point win over Muskegon.
Now the two O-K Black Conference powers will meet Friday at 7 p.m. at Reeths-Puffer High School for the district championship.
“The rubber match,” said Reeths-Puffer Coach Brandon Barry about Friday’s showdown. “It’s always fun to strategize against (Mona Shores Coach) Brad (Kurth). He knows us. We know them. It kind of comes down to the last piece on the chess board. It’s always fun to play them.
“It’s become such a fun rivalry. I give (Kurth) credit. When I first started here we were 1-40 and he talked with me about scouting and different things in this league. So I appreciate him and his ball club, but it would sure be nice to win a district championship.”
The Rockets did not play great in the first half against Grand Haven. They only scored 18 points, with 10 coming from senior post player Delaney Bolles.
Luckily for the Rockets, the Buccaneers only managed 12 points of their own and Reeths-Puffer had a six-point lead at halftime.
The Rockets took command in the third quarter, outscoring Grand Haven 17-8 to take a 35-20 lead heading into the final stanza. Bolles had 10 points in the third while fellow senior Elysia Mattos added five points.
The Rockets coasted from there, outscoring the Bucs 10-5 in the final eight minutes.
Bolles led all scorers with 23 points while Artrese Williams and Brooke Larabee each chipped in seven points for the Rockets.
Grand Haven was led by Alli Keyser with 13 points and six rebounds.
“She was amazing,” Barry said about Bolles. “She caught some tough passes and finished under the basket. I thought Brooke (Larabee) found her at the end, like she has the whole second half of the year. It was a nice combination. “
Bolles said the potential rematch with Mona Shores helped fuel the Rockets against Grand Haven.
“We want to play Shores again,” she said. “We’ve played them all four years and I want to beat them. I’m pretty sure my team will do whatever it takes to beat them, and that’s what we’ll try to do.”