Muskegon Heights advances to ‘C’ regionals with victory over Western Michigan Christian

Local Sports Journal

Muskegon Heights flashed its speed and balance on Friday night and earned a Class C district boys basketball championship.

Anthony Sydnor steals the ball from WMC's Jacob Ray. Photo/Rande Riksen

Anthony Sydnor steals the ball from WMC’s Jacob Ray. Photo/Rande Riksen

The Tigers are heading to next week’s regional tournament after a convincing 65-50  victory over the host Western Michigan Christian Warriors.

Muskegon Heights has little time to prepare for regionals, which begin at 6 p.m. Monday against Kalamazoo Hackett, which defeated Hartford 67-43 to win its district title. That game will be played at Bridgman.

Aaron Sydnor led the Tigers’ balanced attack with 22 points. He was followed by Eddie Tornes with 15 points and Antonio Jones with 13. Marquis Greshman added eight points.

“Eddie Tornes, Aaron Sydnor, Antonio Jones … those guys are a blur,” Muskegon Heights coach Del Stewart said.

The Tigers raced to a 23-13 lead after one quarter and were never threatened as they raised their record to 17-3. Heights led 35-23 at the half and 50-31 heading into the final quarter.

“We were preparing for zone or man-to-man because we know they like to do both,” Stewart said. “When they came out man, we tried to spread the floor out a little bit … because they had superior size inside. And if we can drag the big out a little bit, we can turn the corner.”

Senior post player Bernard Smith was dominant inside for the Warriors with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Jacob Ray added seven points and Devin Eekhoff contributed six rebounds.

WMC's Bernard Smith drives baseline against No. 32 Marquis Gresham. Photo/Randy Ricksen

WMC’s Bernard Smith drives baseline against No. 32 Marquis Gresham. Photo/Randy Ricksen

“Bernard was establishing himself in the low post and he was playing like a man,” Stewart said. “We were trying to keep him outside his comfort zone, but he wasn’t really pushing us out of the way, he was drop stepping and carrying people with him.”

WMC bowed out of the tournament with a 14-7 record.

“We kept working the whole way through,” Warrior coach Kyle Mastenbrook said. “We can look back on the season with very good memories and even tonight, I am proud of the way we finished our season. It wasn’t that we stopped playing hard, we played well and Heights just had more tonight.”

Muskegon Heights 65, Western Michigan Christian 50

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS
Eddie Tornes 5 4-6 15, Antonio Jones 6 1-4 13, D’Monte Jones 0 1-2 1, Aaron Sydnor 7 6-9 22, Marquis Gresham 4 0-0 8, Jalontae Johnson 2 0-2 4, Demonte Crosby 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 12-23 65.

WESTERN MICHIGAN CHRISTIAN
Alex Rop 0 0-0 0, Devin Eekhoff 2 1-3 5, Derrick Holt 1 1-2 3, Jacob Ray 3 1-2 7, Bernard Smith 10 2-7 22, Jared Varnado 1 0-0 2, Sam Mast 1 0-2 2, Ben Mast 1 1-2 3, Nate Dugener 2 2-3 6. Totals 21 8-21 50.

MH 23 – 12 – 15 – 15 – 65
WMC 13 – 11 – 7 – 19 – 50

3-pointers: Tornes, Sydnor (2). Fouled out: D. Jones, Gresham. Technicals: none.

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