By Dave Tomczak

NORTON SHORES – In a back-and-forth battle between cross-town rivals, it was only natural that the Mona Shores and Reeths-Puffer boys basketball teams would need overtime to settle the matter.

And in a battle between two young teams, it was only natural that a sophomore turned out to be the hero.

The Sailors’ Jarvis Walker scored 13 of his team’s 15 overtime points to propel host Mona Shores to a hard-earned 68-61 O-K Black Conference win over the Rockets Tuesday.

Tied at 53-53 at the end of regulation, the Rockets took a 54-53 lead on Kaleb Mitchelson’s free throw, only to have Walker score the next nine points to give Mona Shores a decisive 62-54 lead, its biggest of the game.

“I want the ball in my hands, at the end of the game, that’s what I want,” Walker said after the game. “Coach wanted me to have the ball, but it wasn’t just me, this was a team effort.”

Jarvis Walker looks to set up the play for Mona Shores. Photo/Joe Lane

Walker was 9-for-9 at the free throw line in overtime, 15-for-16 in the game, and finished with 31 points.

Walker hit two 3-pointers in the opening quarter, but the Sailors did little else on offense, allowing the Rockets to built a 16-13 lead after the first quarter.

Mona Shores used an 8-0 run in the second quarter, sparked by 3-pointers from Chris Johnson and Davarius Carter, to take a 29-27 lead into halftime.

But the Sailors went cold again in the third quarter, and the Rockets had a 40-38 advantage heading into the fourth.

“We came out a little flat in the first,” Sailors Coach Doug Burse said. “But we came together tonight. Our bench play was just great. Reeths-Puffer is a darn good team and is well-coached, so this is a very good win for us.”

With the game tied 44-44, the Rockets went on a 9-3 run, and seemed minutes away from victory after sophomore guard Emcee Williams stole the ball and hit a reverse layup to give his team a 53-47 lead with 2:58 left in regulation.

But the Sailors finished the fourth quarter by going 6-for-8 from the charity stripe, while Puffer was only 1-for-4. After Walker’s jumper at the buzzer came up short, the two teams went to the extra period, and Walker made up for the miss with his huge overtime performance.

Mona Shores has won three games in a row to improve to 3-6 on the season. Johnson finished with 17 points for the Sailors.

Reeths-Puffer, which fell to 4-6, was led by Williams with 14 points. Mitchelson added 11 points and seven assists while Carter Fulton had eight points and nine rebounds.