HOLTON — Hart’s girls basketball team won its third straight game, and punched its ticket to the MHSAA Division 3 district championship game with a convincing 59-22 victory over Holton on Wednesday night in Holton.
The Pirates went on a 6-0 tear to start the game, forcing the host team to call a timeout under two minutes into the first quarter. With its pesky defense creating havoc on the Red Devils’ offense, Hart managed to overcome some missed shots to take a 14-7 lead at the buzzer.
Hart became a little frenzied on defense, and appeared somewhat out of sorts on offense in the second quarter. Holton took advantage, and got to the foul line to make 4 of 6 charity tosses.
Aspen Boutell knocked down a buzzer beater 3-pointer just before the half to finish off a 15-8 quarter for the Pirates, and give them a 29-15 lead at the break.
Hart went to a pressure defense in the third quarter, which resulted in some easy baskets which allowed the Pirates to get into a nice flow offensively.
The Pirates also continued their suffocating defense to outscore the Red Devils, 15-2 for a big 44-17 lead going into the fourth quarter, during which the Pirates outscored Holton, 15-5.
“They are a good team,” Holton head coach Robert Jordan said of Hart. “I thought we really battled hard in the first half, and was very happy with the way we were fighting.
“Hart jumped out on us to a quick lead in the first minute or so. They play at a pace and speed on both ends of the floor that my team has not really seen much of this year.
“So we were a little tight, especially early on. It was all them in the second half.”
Hart was led in scoring by Mariana VanAgtmael with 14 points and Boutell with 13. Addi Hovey and Abby Hicks contributed eight points apiece.
Courtney Boes led the Red Devils with eight points and seven rebounds.
“The pace wore us out, and they have a deep bench,” continued Jordan. “They just keep coming at you in waves, with a ton of energy.
“We earned every point we scored tonight. Nothing came easy. My girls competed and that’s all you can ask for. We just couldn’t keep up with them.
“But as a coach I am super proud of this group and the work and progress we were able to make this year. We are still very young. four of my top five leading scorers are sophomores, and the other is a junior, so I’ll get all that back next year.”
Holton graduates three seniors in Gianna Reed, Leah Fox and Alanna Cregg.
The Pirates improved to 17-3 and will take on Western Michigan Christian (16-4) in the championship game Friday night at 7 p.m. at Holton. WMC defeated North Muskegon, 62-18 in the other semifinal Wednesday.
Holton ended the season with a 14-8 record.