SHELBY — Montague had to clear one more hurdle Friday night to set up a de facto West Michigan Conference championship game against Hart next week, but it was a tricky one. The Wildcats had to travel to Shelby on a Friday night and beat a dangerous opponent.

Montague passed that test resoundingly, exploding in the third quarter to grab control of the game and earn a 61-41 win.

The Wildcats (14-4, 11-2 WMC) got off to a quick start and never trailed in the game, although they did lead by only three at halftime, 21-18, after a Tigers' push in the second quarter.

In the third, though, Montague turned up the pressure on defense and attacked the basket on offense, and both moves paid off as it held a 23-8 scoring edge in those eight minutes.

"At halftime, we got to kind of reset a little bit and come out here, and we were able to execute and make them get up and down the court at our pace," Montague coach Cody Kater said. "And we finally hit shots. 23 points in the third, and that's what you want to see at this time in February."

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