Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
WHITEHALL — This is what a rivalry game should look like.
Packed gymnasium, intensity on the floor and in the student sections, back-and-forth action, a little trash talk and, by the end of it, opponents knowing they had just been in a battle.
Whitehall’s 64-62 victory over visiting Montague Thursday night featured all of those things and left spectators and the teams alike wondering: What if these squads meet in the Division 2 district at Orchard View in a few weeks?
Fifth-ranked Whitehall remained unbeaten in running its record to 18-0 overall, 8-0 in the West Michigan Conference Lakes Division. Montague, which lost on its home court to Whitehall 66-35 on Dec. 14, goes to 11-7 and 4-5, respectively.
Unlike some other recent meetings between the White Lake neighboring rivals, Montague had chances to win the game down the stretch. The Wildcats missed a number of close-range shots, especially early in the game. They were left to wonder “What if?” but also felt good about their effort in nearly knocking off a top-five-ranked opponent on its home floor.
After a slow start, Whitehall junior standout Camden Thompson came alive in the final three quarters. The 6-foot-5 wing finished with a game-high 25 points, 16 rebounds, four steals, and three assists. One of Thompson’s buckets came on an eye-popping alley-oop dunk, plus the foul, on a feed from senior point guard Kyle Stratton early in the third quarter.
Photos by Reid Burns for CatchMark
Whitehall senior Camar Ready had 10 points and six rebounds, while junior Kal Koehler scored 10 points to go with five rebounds. Stratton added nine points, five assists, and three rebounds, while senior DJ Jamison contributed eight points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
For Montague, senior Isaiah Atchison scored a team-high 16 points. Senior Owen Raeth had 15 points, while junior Kellan Francis pumped in 13. Senior Paul Olson and sophomore Cole Herremans added nine points apiece for the balanced Wildcats.
Montague shot a blistering 91 percent from the free-throw line (21-of-23) compared to a solid 71 percent for Whitehall (12-for-17).
Photos by Shayla Hardy for CatchMark
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