Girls varsity basketball teams for Mason County Central and Ludington showed Monday night what a rivalry game should look like.
The West Michigan Conference cross-over at Hawley Gym was hard-fought and physical with nearly every bucket contested.
Mason County Central’s lock-down defense in the first quarter proved the difference, as the Spartans earned a 37-32 victory over Ludington to remain unbeaten on the young season.
MCC (4-0 overall) shut out Ludington (3-2 overall) in the opening quarter, 10-0.
“We started the game with great defense. Anytime you can shut an athletic, well-coached team like Ludington out in a quarter, you are doing good things,” MCC coach Brian Beebe said. “All kinds of credit to them. They played a great second quarter in a great atmosphere. Super fun, very intense game.”
Mason County Central junior point guard Mallory Miller tallied seven of her game-high 12 points in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Ludington outscored MCC, 16-8, to get back into the game. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Karli Mesyar and Elianna Jeruzal sparked the Orioles’ run as they pulled within 18-16 by halftime.
Ludington junior center Jordyn Anderson scored nine of her team-high 11 points in the second quarter.
The contest grew more physical in the second half. A pair of MCC seniors made key plays in the fourth quarter despite battling foul trouble.
Spartans senior center Wren Nelson scored six points in the second half to go with her team-high 10 rebounds on the night. Nelson came through with a big blocked shot, which led to a 3 by senior Grace Weinert in a crucial moment.
A few possessions later, Weinert grabbed a steal and made a pair of free throws to stake her team to a lead it would hold the rest of the game. MCC went 9-of-12 from the free-throw line in the second half to seal the win.
Weinert finished with eight points, while sophomore Jessica Peterson had six points for the Spartans, who outscored the Orioles 8-6 in the third quarter and 11-10 in the fourth.
Ludington senior Emma McKinley totaled eight points, hitting a couple of 3-pointers. Jeruzal and Mesyar added six and five points, respectively.
“We didn’t play our best offensively, which Ludington will do to a lot of teams this year,” Beebe said. “I’m happy for our kids. Everyone played a key role in the game tonight and contributed to a great road win.”
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