Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
MONTAGUE — Whitehall girls basketball coach Brian Milliron said that freshman Clare Westerlund improves each time she takes the floor.
The 5-foot-9 forward picked a great time to play her best varsity game to date.
Westerlund scored a game- and career-high 16 points — four points down the stretch, including the go-ahead bucket in the closing minutes — to power Whitehall to a 37-35 comeback victory over host Montague in a packed Wildcats gym Friday night.
Whitehall (4-8 overall) improves to 2-4 in the West Michigan Conference Lakes Division and avenges a 47-27 home loss to arch-rival Montague (2-9, 2-4) early in the season.
Westerlund, who played in the teams’ first meeting as a fifth-quarter player but did not score, added 11 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Milliron said that Westerlund became a full-time varsity player a couple weeks ago.
Whitehall freshman Clare Westerlund (Courtney Jimison | CatchMark)
Whitehall senior Kendall Osborne, who transferred after spending her first three years at Montague — she lost nearly all of last season to a knee injury — totaled 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Whitehall junior Lexi Daggett, who battled foul trouble all night before reaching her limit, added six points and five rebounds. Vikings senior Lucy Zamojcin, who received her acceptance letter to the University of Michigan earlier in the day, notched five rebounds and two assists.
Montague got off to a strong start, taking a 13-5 first-quarter lead and enjoying a 25-16 advantage at the halftime break. Westerlund kept the Vikings afloat with eight second-quarter points.
Whitehall turned the tables in the second half, outscoring Montague 12-6 in the third quarter and 9-4 in the fourth.
Montague junior Addilyn Peterson led her team with 10 points, followed by junior Addison Pranger with nine and senior Ella King five.
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Orioles (18-6) next head to Big Rapids regional where they will face Clare (16-8).