By Craig Beilfuss
HART—Coming off only its second loss of the season to Caledonia on Tuesday evening, the Hart Pirates girls basketball team made quick work of the Shelby Tigers with a convincing 60-25 win on Thursday evening.
The Pirates were led by a game high 18 points from junior Aspen Boutell who also finished with three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Hart started the game on an 11-1 run and never looked back. Boutell canned 10 first quarter points including two 3-point shots.
The Hart defense didn’t allow a Shelby field goal until there was 2:25 remaining in the first quarter. The Pirates eventually led 19-6 after the first eight minutes of play.
Shelby came to life at the beginning of the second stanza as Kendall Zoulek hit a 3-point shot and a two point field goals to narrow the Hart lead to 19-11. It would be as close as the Tigers got the remainder of the evening.
Hart seniors Audrey Aerts and Kendall Williamson came in and provided a spark defensively for the Pirates.
“Aerts came in and did an awesome job defensively on Zoulek,” said Hart head coach Travis Rosema. “We have the ability to force turnovers,” Rosema said in regards to the Pirates defensive pressure on Thursday evening against the Tigers.
Hart went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter with 3-point buckets from Kendall Williamson and Addison Hovey. Hovey and Abby Hicks each hit a bucket and the Pirates were quickly up 29-11.
Hart ended up with a 10-6 second quarter scoring advantage to take a commanding 29-12 halftime lead.
The Pirates didn’t let off the peddle offensively and held the Shelby offense in check in the third quarter.
Hart rattled off the first eight points of the second half to take a 25-point lead, 37-12.
Shelby didn’t get on the board until the 2:27 mark of the third quarter and were outscored by the Pirates, 11-3.
Hart held a 40-15 lead entering the fourth quarter where the Pirates held a 20-10 scoring advantage.
Joining Boutell in double figures for Hart were freshmen Addison Hovey with 12 points and sophomore Abby Hicks with 10 points. Hovey finished with 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocked shots. Morgan Marvin led Hart with a team high 7 rebounds.
The Pirates hit nine 3-point field goals. “It’s something we work on,” said Rosema in regards to three point shooting. “Our main focus is getting the ball inside. Tonight was probably our best game this year of working on inside-outside.”
Senior Kendall Zoulek led Shelby with a team high 14 points and 12 rebounds. Molli Schultz tossed in 7 points. Biloxi Lee grabbed 7 rebounds and Claire Gowell hauled down 6 rebounds.
Hart improves to 12-2 overall and remains perfect in the West Michigan Conference with a 10-0 record. The Pirates will host conference foe Whitehall on Tuesday, February 8.
Shelby falls to 9-6 overall and 6-4 in the West Michigan Conference. The Tigers will host Mason County Central on Tuesday, February 8.