By Craig Beilfuss

HART–The Hart Pirates turned in a dominating performance on Wednesday night against the archrival Shelby Tigers.

Hart won the Division 3 district semifinal 70-37.  The Pirates will face Mason County Central at 7 p.m. Friday for the district championship.

Abby Hicks led the way for Hart with a game high 22 points, nine rebounds, seven steals and six assists. Addii Hovey tossed in 20 points, 10 rebounds, 10 steals and six assists. Aspen Boutell scored seven points and dished out four assists. Mariana VanAgtmael contributed five assists.

“That’s what they’ve been doing all year,” Hart coach Travis Rosema said of Hicks and Hovey. “I feel like they (Hicks and Hovey) left some points out there. They could have finished better. I’m never satisfied. They just lead our team in scoring and energy. They play well together.”

Hart raced out to a 17-7 lead by the end of the first quarter and kept increasing their lead. Hicks scored 20 first-half points, while connecting on three shots from beyond the arc. Hart led 32-12 going into halftime and never looked back.

The Pirates racked up a 22-8 scoring advantage in the third period and both teams went on to score 16 points during the final eight minutes.

Aubrey Klotz led Shelby with eight points and six rebounds. Kylie Brown tossed in five points and grabbed seven rebounds. Molli Schultz and Kendall Zaverl each scored five points.

“I’m so proud of how our girls played,” Shelby coach Sarah Wolting said. “It was by far the toughest that we played all year especially defensively. We missed a lot of little puppies, but we really battled. To start the season, we were very unexperienced. We’re smaller than everybody else (height wise), but my girls really fight hard and they battled all year. I’m really looking forward to the future. I played three freshmen quite a lot tonight and during the year.”

Shelby ends their season at 10-13.

The Pirates will be facing the Spartans for the third time this season.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity,” said Rosema. “We know how hard it is to beat someone three times. We’ll come in and play our game.”


Photos courtesy of LSJ photographer Joe Washington