By Dave Tomczak
MONTAGUE – After a less than stellar start, the Montague’ boys basketball team used the long ball to jump start its offense on Friday.
The host Wildcats knocked down four second-quarter 3’s to pull away from Hart, 54-39, in West Michigan Conference action.
Montague improved its conference record to 6-5 overall with the win, and 4-4 in the league. Hart drops to 7-5 overall and 3-5 in the WMC.
With the game tied 7-7 after the first quarter, the Wildcats started the second quarter with a 16-2 run, including back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers from Kenyan Johnston (who had two) and Nick Stever.
“Offensively, we were a little sloppy in the first quarter,” said Montague coach David Osborne. “But our defense was fine, and we were able to hold them down offensively, too.”
The Pirates’ Hunter Tubbs hit four free throws in the final minute of the first half to pull his team within 10 points, 23-13, at the break.
Hart’s offense came alive in the third quarter, scoring 15 points, but Montague moved inside, running its offense through center Hunter Mosher, who either attacked the rim or kicked the ball back out to open guards.
Although the Pirates were able to cut the lead to eight with less than a minute left in the third, the Wildcats still scored 16 points in the quarter and headed to the fourth with a 39-28 lead.
Johnston put an exclamation point on the quarter by nailing a long-distance 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“Hunter wasn’t very active in the first half, so I challenged him at the half,” Osborne said about Mosher. “He picked it up in the second half, and that helped open things up for us from the outside.”
Mosher scored six of his 11 points in the final quarter as Montague pulled away with a 15-11 scoring advantage.
Montague was led in scoring by Stever with 17 points, Johnston had 13, and Mosher finished with nine rebounds and three blocks.
Tubbs led the Pirates with 20 points, and Alec Kempker grabbed 10 rebounds.