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Montague girls basketball team overcomes injury to star player for rivalry win over Whitehall

Senior Emma Peterson scores career-high 21 points to lift Wildcats over Vikings.

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

MONTAGUE — In a tweet late Thursday night, Montague girls basketball coach Nick Thaler wrote, “That W was for the family. Believe in yourself and love each other!”

Earlier in the evening, he watched his Wildcats lift each other in the face of adversity.

Montague appeared staggered by a knee injury to standout junior Kendall Osborne barely a minute into Thursday’s home contest against rival Whitehall, but the Wildcats regrouped for a 44-34 victory thanks in large part to a career-high 21 points by senior Emma Peterson.

Here are notables and more details from the game:

  • Osborne drained a 3 from the right wing on her first shot attempt of the game in the opening seconds to give Montague a 3-0 lead. Moments later, she went to the floor grabbing her left knee. She was helped off the floor and did not return to the game. Thaler said after the game he did not know the extent of the injury. “Obviously we’re praying for her and hopefully everybody is because she’s a great talent,” he said. “You hate to see players like that go down. You rally around each other and just pick each other up.”
  • In Osborne’s absence, Peterson stepped up big-time. The guard got in the lane and drew contact several times, finishing 14-of-22 from the free-throw line. Peterson also filled the stat sheet with five rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Montague’s Emma Peterson poses for a portrait during CatchMark SportsNet Girls Basketball Media Day on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, at CatchMark Technologies in Whitehall, Mich. (Kara Raeth | CatchMark)
  • Whitehall led 8-7 after one quarter and 19-17 at halftime before Montague took command with a 16-4 third-quarter scoring advantage. The Wildcats led 33-23 entering the fourth.
  • Montague sophomore Addison Pranger hit a couple of 3-pointers and finished with eight points and nine rebounds to spark the Wildcats.
  • Montague senior Haylee Schwarz provided leadership and hustle along with her five points and 11 rebounds.
  • Whitehall senior Onnyka Dempsey hit a couple of 3s, got to the line (5-of-8 on free throws) and paced her squad with 15 points.
Whitehall’s Onnyka Dempsey poses for a portrait during CatchMark SportsNet Girls Basketball Media Day on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, at CatchMark Technologies in Whitehall, Mich. (Kara Raeth | CatchMark)
  • Whitehall senior Autumn Ferris added six points.
  • In a physical, foul-filled game where both teams were hustling and bodies hit the floor repeatedly in scrums for the basketball, Whitehall finished with 27 fouls and Montague had 20. The Wildcats were 20-of-41 from the free-throw line, while the Vikings were 8-of-19. Four starters fouled out for Whitehall.
  • The crowd was large and into it, especially the student sections from both schools. Check out our TikTok featuring those students:

Students for Montague and Whitehall showed out for the girls basketball rivalry game between their schools Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. Montague won, 44-34. #fyp #catchmarksportsnet #csn #mhsaa #wmc #whitehall #montague

♬ POP DANCE – Bensound
  • Montague rebounded from Tuesday’s 45-31 nonleague road loss to Spring Lake and improves to 3-1 overall. The Wildcats are 2-0 in the West Michigan Conference Lakes Division, tied atop the divisional standings with Ludington, which held off host Oakridge Thursday, 39-36.
  • Whitehall is 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the WMC Lakes.
  • Next games: Montague travels to Ludington on Tuesday (Dec. 13) for a key WMC Lakes matchup. On the game night, Whitehall will try to regroup at home against Manistee.
  • CatchMark SportsNet produced a free livestream of Thursday night’s Montague-Whitehall game. You can watch the replay below:

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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