MONTAGUE — All season, Montague has started slowly in the first quarter and picked it up from there. Friday night, the Wildcats got to see what life was like with a quick start, and they liked it.

Montague dominated the opening frame against Mason County Central, leading by 15 points at the end of it, and was never threatened in a 51-25 victory.

The Wildcats didn’t immediately take command of the game — they were only up 4-2 three minutes after tip-off — but consecutive three-pointers by Emma Flynn and Kat Moreau broke open the game late in the frame, and the score was 19-4 after eight minutes.

“We’ve generally been a second half team most of the year,” Montague coach Cody Kater said. “We came out, and that was our biggest first quarter by far all season, not even close. We average something like eight-point-something points in the first quarter. That was a great first quarter.”

Montague followed it up with some major struggles in the second quarter, not scoring for over six minutes and failing to make a field goal, but even then, overwhelming defense kept that from being too big a problem. The Wildcats still led 21-9 at halftime.

After halftime, Montague turned it back on, ripping off 21 third-quarter points to double its total, many of them coming on easy breakaways created by its defense.

“That was great to see as well,” Kater said. “We’re grabbing steals and we’re rebounding off contested shots and we’re pushing the floor. It was nice to see them execute.”

In addition, Montague focused on attacking inside on offense in the third quarter, to great results.

“I thought in the second half we did a great job of really pushing to get the ball in the paint, almost forcing it to the point where we were going to either get a free throw or two points out of the attack,” Kater said. “I thought the girls did a great job of that in the second half.”

Flynn and Braquelle Osborne each had 14 points to lead the team, with 10 of Osborne’s points coming in the second half. The junior guard also had six assists.

The win was a pivotal one to keep the Wildcats (11-3, 8-2 West Michigan Conference) within a game of Hart in the WMC race. Montague dropped a game out last week with a loss to Ravenna, a game in which Kater said the Wildcats were compromised by illness. However, he added that that loss has served as motivation since.

“I think when you look at it like that, it was a good learning moment for the girls,” Kater said. “You are right in the thick of this, but you do have to prepare every single day to win it.

“We’re right in the thick of it, but we have to understand, and I think they do, how important the preparation and living it is. They did a better job this week at doing that.”

MASON CO. CENTRAL (25) Quigley 3 0-0 9, Janicki 0 2-2 2, Banks 1 3-4 5, Tyron 1 1-2 3, Lyon 0 1-2 1, VanDyke 1 0-2 2, Miller 1 1-2 3. Totals 7 8-14 25.

MONTAGUE (51) Zamojcin 2 0-0 4, Moreau 1 0-0 3, Hall 3 0-0 7, Osborne 3 8-9 14, Flynn 5 1-2 14, Unger 0 2-2 2, Koetje 0 1-2 1, Meacham 2 1-3 5, Moore 0 1-3 1. Totals 16 14-21 51.

Mason Co.... 4 5 5 11 — 25

Montague....19 2 21 9 — 51

Three-point goals — Mason Co. Central 3 (Quigley 3), Montague 5 (Moreau, Hall, Flynn 3). Total fouls — Mason Co. Central 21, Montague 17. Fouled out — Tyron. JV score — Montague 47, Mason Co. Central 24.

Whitehall beats

North Muskegon

MUSKEGON — Whitehall knocked off North Muskegon on the road Friday night, 58-39.

The Vikings improved to 8-6 and 7-3 in the West Michigan Conference with the win. Statistics had not been reported at press time.

Rockets knock

off Union

MUSKEGON — Reeths-Puffer defeated Union Friday night in O-K Black Conference aciton, 59-44.

The Rockets moved to 12-2 (4-2 O-K Black) with the win. No statistics were reported at press time.

Montague stays

in WMC hunt

MONTAGUE — Montague got off to a slow start Tuesday night against Oakridge, but played tough defense and ended up with a 50-39 win.

The victory kept Montague in the West Michigan Conference hunt, one game behind Hart.

The Wildcats (10-3, 7-2 WMC) led only 9-7 after the opening quarter, but limited the Eagles to seven points each in the next two frames as well, giving their offense enough time to catch fire.

Ally Hall had 14 points to lead Montague, along with 11 rebounds. Braquelle Osborne added 12 points and six assists.

Whitehall D’s

up in win

RAVENNA — Whitehall used tremendous defense to secure its fourth straight victory Tuesday night against Ravenna, 45-31.

The Vikings (7-6, 6-3 West Michigan Conference) held a slight lead throughout the game, but pulled away by outscoring the Bulldogs 13-5 in the final quarter.

Karleigh Jeffries led the way for Whitehall, scoring 22 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Reeths-Puffer routs

Kenowa Hills

GRAND RAPIDS — Reeths-Puffer pounded Kenowa Hills Tuesday night in O-K Black Conference action, 58-15.

Lauren Ross led the Rockets with 24 points, 14 rebounds and seven steals. Ariel Walker chipped in nine points.