HART — “We brought the energy tonight,” Hart boys basketball coach Adam Jerry said after the Pirates held off Montague for an exciting 62-59 win over Montague in a West Michigan Conference matchup on Tuesday night.
Montague slipped into a 15-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Pirates outscored the Wildcats, 20-12 in the second and headed to the locker room at halftime with a 34-27 lead.
Caleb Bitely hit three early 3-point shots to get the Pirates started. Parker Hovey led the offense in the second quarter with 10 points, and protected the rim as well.
But the Wildcats came out on fire in the third quarter, outscoring the Pirates, 20-10 to take a three-point lead, 47-44. The Pirates prevailed with a 18-12 scoring edge in the final period.
Diego Escamilla struck for back-to-back 3-pointers, and Hart went 6 for 9 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Kohen Porter made two clutch free throws with five seconds left in regulation.
“Numerous players stepped up tonight in a true team win,” Jerry said. “Kyan Clark stepped up in the first half. Easton VanderZwaag brought intensity and defense, as usual.
“Tony Rayo had some big rebounds, and Porter was physical boxed out well and hit two huge free throws.”
Tate Stine scored 15 points to lead the Wildcats. Braeden Johnston netted 14 and Tugg Nichols had 10. Isaiah Archison and Colton Blankstrom each had seven. Rodney Brassfield had seven rebounds.
Johnston and Stine each had four assists as well. Stine also had three steals.
“We were not very good on defense tonight, and didn’t take care of the ball,” Montague coach Dave Osborne said. “Hart played hard, and shot the ball from outside.”
Hovey paced the Pirates with 25 points and hauled down 11 rebounds. Escamilla added 17 points, going 5 of 10 from deep.
The Pirates improved their record to 4-2 overall and 3-3 in the West Michigan Conference. Hart’s next scheduled game is Friday at Oakridge.
Montague is tied with Hart in the conference with its 3-3 mark, while the Wildcats are 4-3 overall. The Wildcats next play on Friday hosting Ravenna.