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Balanced Montague boys basketball team downs Oakridge, sets tone for season

Diverse offensive contribution and stellar defense drive Montague to win season opener

The Montague boys basketball team understood there would be little room for error if it wanted to compete as one of the West Michigan Conference’s elite teams.

A well-balanced Wildcat squad ensured they did just that on Friday night. Montague defeated visiting Oakridge 46-31 in the league opening matchup. The ‘Cats had only six turnovers and surfaced a smothering defensive front to compliment their vastly dynamic offense.

Montague’s win leaves them with a 1-0 record overall and in the WMC. Oakridge falls to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the WMC.

Aside from the minimal turnovers, the Wildcats put their versatility and depth on display featuring nine different scorers. “We are fortunate that we have a lot guys that can play.” said Montague coach Dave Osborne after the game. “We can rotate three, four, or five guys through those positions and not have a lot of fall off.”

After 3-point contributions from four different players in the first half, Montague led 25-7 and never seemed to look back. Down the stretch, senior leadership and youthful talent seemed to mesh creating havoc for Oakridge both offensively and defensively.

Video by Zach Zweigle | CatchMark

Montague senior, Tate Stine made his anticipated return after missing last season with a knee injury. The veteran point guard commanded his team alongside senior returnees Tugg Nichols and Colton Blankstrom. The leadership trio set the tone for Wildcats and rooted success for some younger talent.

Although Stine didn’t have the personal accolades he had hoped for in his first game back, he was abundantly happy with the victory. “I love to facilitate the ball and I love to get my teammates involved,” said Stine. “I trust my teammates and I love to see my guys score.”

Owen Raeth of the Montague boys basketball team is photographed at the CatchMark Media Day on Nov. 24, 2021, in Whitehall, Mich. (Cody Ottinger | CatchMark)

Sophomore guard, Owen Raeth headed up the offense for the ‘Cats shooting 6-of-9 from the field and tallying 13 points and 3 rebounds. Fellow sophomore, Isaiah Atchison followed closely behind with 10 points and 2 boards of his own.

The Eagles were led offensively by Ethan Jozsa who followed up his 29 point game against Fruitport on Tuesday with 16 points on the night.

Although Montague walked away victorious, Osborne knows that they won’t be able to let up on the gas pedal anytime soon. “I never try to look ahead, we just try to play it game by game,” he said. “There’s a lot of good teams and we could have an off night and get beaten by any one of them.”

Media Specialist for CatchMark Technologies and CatchMark SportsNet.

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