By Greg Gielczyk

HART — Hart’s girls basketball team came out and was able to set the tone defensively in Friday night’s West Michigan Conference opener with Mason County Central at Hart.

The Pirates shut down the Spartans’ offense very early, and opened up a 23-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Spartans couldn’t dig out of the hole, as the Pirates finished with a 59-14 win.

Mason County (1-1, 0-1 WMC) scored only three points in the second quarter as well, while the Pirates put in 21 to take a whopping 44-6 lead into the half.

Hart (1-0, 1-0 WMC) had three players in double figure scoring, led by Jayd Hovey, who has committed to Indiana Wesleyn, with 13 points, followed by Aspen Boutell with 11 and Abby Hicks contributed 10.

“I think at halftime the stat I was told was we created 18 live ball turnovers, and we had 20 points off them,” Hart head coach Travis Rosema said.

“We have a lot of a lot of experience coming back. Even our juniors, one sophomore and a freshman play a lot of basketball. The girls have really put in a lot of time.”

Hovey also had nine steals, five assists and five rebounds, Hicks had four steals, Addi Hovey chipped in with six steals and Morgan Marvin added five points, nine rebounds and five blocks.

“They (the Pirates) man full pressed us until the middle of the third, and we had a hard time with it,” Spartans’ head coach Mike Weinert said “But, I really liked how hard my team fought, and that they had each other’s back. They kept fighting.

“That’s a talented Hart team, and they’re athletic and they’re long. That’s a tough combination. I just like how my girls hung together. They’ll learn from it, and they’ll get better from it.”

Wren Nelson led the Spartans with five points, while Adria Quigley and Charlie Banks each scored three points and Maxie Green had one. Nelson also had six rebounds.

Next for the Pirates is a game tomorrow against Westfield Prep on Saturday. They were originally supposed to play Midland. Hart plays Western Michigan Christian next Tuesday.

The Spartans are idle until next Thursday, when they host Montague.

Check out photos from the game shot by LSJ photographer, Leo Valdez.