“Not our best game overall,” said Wildcats’ coach Nick Thaler. “Second half was much better energy-wise. Looking forward to district play.”
Shelby had the upper hand early, taking a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Tigers outscored the Wildcats, 14-10 in the second period and finished the half with a 24-17 advantage.
But, the Wildcats rallied in the second half, edging the Tigers, 9-8 in the third quarter and went into the fourth period trailing the Tigers, 32-26.
Montague really caught fire in the final stanza, seeing its offense click and putting the clamps on the Tigers defensively for a 17-7 advantage to climb all the way back.
“Our defense and handling of the ball were pretty tough for three quarters,” offered Shelby coach Sarah Wolting. “I’m proud of how hard the girls played back-to-back.
“We are bummed not to get the win, but the girls are playing exactly like we want to be in the post-season.”
Montague was led by Kendall Osborne who scored 14 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out four assists and picked off three steals.
Emma Peterson and Claire Meacham each had nine points. Peterson also dished out two assists. Meacham also contributed five rebounds.
Kendall Zoulek paced the Tigers with 16 points, while she also hauled down seven rebounds, dished out six assists and picked off five steals. Molli Schultz added 13 points, four steals and three assists while Ella Olmstead contributed eight points and five rebounds.
The Wildcats finished the regular season with a 16-4 record overall and 12-2 in the conference for second place behind league champion Hart. Montague will play the Fruitport-Oakridge winner on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the district at Oakridge.
Shelby concluded the regular season 11-9 overall and 7-7 in the conference. The Tigers are scheduled to open district play against North Muskegon at Holton on Monday at 7 p.m.