NORTH MUSKEGON — Defense carried the Hart girls basketball team through the first half, and then the offense picked things up in the second as the Pirates registered a 43-17 victory over North Muskegon on the road Thursday night in the West Michigan Conference.

The Pirates struggled to get their offense to mesh in the first half, and they misfired on some open shots. But, they put on the defensive clamps.

Hart did just enough on offense to build a 10-point lead at the half, 19-9. The Pirates outscored the Norsemen, 14-2 in the first period and 5-2 in the second.

Picking up the scoring pace in the third quarter, Hart enjoyed a 10-4 advantage and entered the fourth quarter holding a substantial 29-13 lead. The Pirates outscored the Norsemen, 14-4 over the final eight minutes.

Abby Hicks led the Pirates with 11 points, and she added five steals and three assists. Morgan Marvin added eight points, eight rebounds and five steals. Addi Hovey also scored eight points, and she also hauled down six rebounds and had five steals.

Jena Francis scored seven points to lead North Muskegon, and Josee Cooke added six points and seven rebounds.

Hart improved its season record to 9-1 overall and 7-0 in the conference with their eighth win in a row. The Pirates are next scheduled to play at Mason County Central in the conference on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

North Muskegon fell to 2-8 overall and 0-7 in the conference. The Norsemen next see action on Tuesday, Jan. 25 at home against Shelby.