Muskegon defeats East Kentwood 68-48 in boys basketball regional semifinal
MUSKEGON – A few days after surviving a wild contest against Reeths-Puffer, the Muskegon boys basketball team once again showcased its championship mettle by fending off East Kentwood for a 68-48 win on Monday in the Division 1 regional semifinals from West Ottawa High School.
The Big Reds jumped out to a 29-5 advantage in the first half but the Falcons swarmed back in the third quarter to cut the deficit to just six points entering the final quarter of play. Muskegon used several key defensive plays by David Day III and M’Khi Guy, and some timely long-range jumpers from Anthony Sydnor III and Jordan Briggs to secure the win and advance to Wednesday’s regional semifinals.
The OK Green Conference champions made just two field goal attempts in the fourth quarter but still managed to extend their lead over the Falcons down the stretch after knocking down 26 free-throw attempts in the final frame. The Big Reds finished the game 37-for-49 from the charity stripe as their consistent offensive attack eventually wore down their OK Red Conference foes.
Sydnor finished with 18 points to lead Muskegon, while Day and Briggs each added 13 points, Guy had seven points, Terrance Davis had six points and Justin Watson had five points.
Muskegon (23-2) will face Hudsonville (18-7), at 7 p.m. Wednesday from West Ottawa High School with the winner advancing to next week’s state quarterfinals. The Eagles defeated Rockford 55-50 in the opening game of the night.
Below is a look at how all the Muskegon-area boys basketball teams performed Monday night in the regional semifinal round of competition.
Hudsonville Unity Christian 70, Fremont 40
The host Crusaders built a 28-15 lead in the first half and continued to pull away from the Packers the rest of the contest thanks to a red-hot performance from beyond the arc and a dominant effort on the offensive glass.
Unity Christian converted 11 three-pointer field goals over the course of the game, while the Packers knocked down just three.
TJ Fisher was the leading force for the Crusaders with 24 points, including six 3-pointers, while Dylan Shaban added 11 points and Colin Nieuwenhuis had 10 points.
Jordon McDonald led Fremont with 15 points, while Ben Mellema and Gavin Richards each added eight points.
Fremont closes out the season with a 13-12 overall record.
Hudsonville Unity Christian (17-9) advances to host Grand Rapids Christian (20-5) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Division 2 regional finals.
Grand Rapids Christian 64, Spring Lake 39
The Lakers jumped out to an 8-3 lead to start the game but the Eagles eventually used their speed and depth to wear down Spring Lake in the fourth quarter and end the game on a 25-7 run.
Zane Stahl finished with 13 points to lead the Lakers, who finished the season 14-9 overall, while Eli Morrison added nine points, and Zach Schlepp, Reid Grimmer and Jack Duggins each had four points.
Jaylan Ouwinga finished with 14 points to pace Grand Rapids Christian, while Dono Thames and Quintin Willis each added 11 points, Malachi Hooser II had 10 points and Nate Johnson had six points.
Grand Rapids Christian (20-5) advances to take on host Hudsonville Unity Christian (17-9) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Division 2 regional finals.
McBain 53, Shelby 42
The Tigers battled to a 21-21 tie in the first half but couldn’t keep pace with McBain down the stretch as the Ramblers outscored Shelby by 11 points down the stretch to fend off the upset-minded squad from the West Michigan Conference.
McBain (20-5) advances to face Traverse City St. Francis (21-4) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Division 3 regional finals from Lake City High School. The Gladiators defeated Sanford Meridian 56-38 in the opening game of the night.
Shelby closes out the season with a 14-12 overall record.
Pewamo-Westphalia 49, North Muskegon 46
The Norsemen jumped out to a 5-0 lead but the Pirates evened the score shortly after, as both squads entered halftime tied at 25. A back-and-forth second half saw Pewamo-Westphalia take a 1-point lead into the fourth quarter but North Muskegon eventually tied the contest once again with 2:41 left to play.
A short-lived North Muskegon lead at 44-42 was ousted by a 3-point play by the Pirates and the Norsemen were forced to chase from that point on. With just 3.6 seconds left on the clock, Pewamo-Westphalia ran a perfect full-court pass that resulted in an intentional foul by North Muskegon. The Pirates made 1-of-2 attempts and then managed to tip the ball away on the ensuing in-bounds pass to run out the clock and secure the hard-fought win.
“It was a well-played game by both teams and we have nothing to hang our heads about, but with any close game there were lots of little things that could have turned the tide,” said North Muskegon head coach Chuck Rypstra. “We end the season at 19-5 overall and we won our third district title in a row. Our senior class should be really proud of their accomplishments on the basketball court over these last few years.”
Jaxon Lisinski finished with 19 points to lead North Muskegon, while Troy McManus added seven points and 10 rebounds, Denny Belmonte and Adam Dugener each scored six points and Lamarkis Graham had five points and three assists.
Jamison Ecklund scored 29 points to pace Pewamo-Westphalia, while Grady Ecklund added 11 points.
Lansing Christian 51, Fruitport Calvary Christian 40
The Eagles jumped out to a 10-6 advantage but the Lansing Christian ended the first half on a 17-8 run to go up by six points at the break. Fruitport Calvary struggled from the field the rest of the game, as the Pilgrims pulled away for the regional semifinal win.
“It was a really tough night for us on offense to miss 31 shots in the paint and only shoot three shooting fouls,” said Fruitport Calvary Christian head coach Brad Richards. “It’s not fun to lose but as time goes on we’ll reflect very positively on the season.”
Gabe VanBaale finished with 13 points to pace the Eagles, while Bradley Richards added 11 points and 17 rebounds.
Calvary Christian ends the season 15-10 overall, which is the third-highest win total in program history, set a single-game scoring record with 90 points against Saugatuck earlier in the season and won the school’s first-ever boys basketball district championship last week.
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