Muskegon Heights boys rally past Manistee, clinch share of Lakes 8 championship

LocalSportsJournal.com

The Muskegon Heights boys basketball team was determined to win a trophy.

The Tigers trailed Manistee by a point after three quarters on Friday, and were in danger of losing their shot at a league championship.

But they outscored the Chippewas 11-0 in the fourth quarter, clinching a 48-38 victory and a share of the Lakes 8 Conference title with Ludington.

Muskegon Heights improved to 14-5 overall and finished their conference schedule with a 9-1 record.

The Tigers, who were an independent for years before this season, secured their first league championship since they belonged to the old Seaway Conference.

“I think this has been a very nice experience for us to be in a league with some class schools and coaches,” said Muskegon Heights Coach Delrecuis Stewart. “To be co-champions is something to be very proud of. Ludington is having an exceptional year and (Ludington coach) Thad Shank does a very good job with his kids.”

The Tigers held a 14-10 lead in the first quarter but trailed 24-23 at halftime. After a mediocre third quarter, Stewart had a heart-to-heart with his players, and they responded.

Muskegon Heights was able to take the lead in the fourth quarter on pair of baskets from Antonie Jones.

“We just played with more intensity,” Stewart said. “We didn’t go to any gimmick defense – we were able to just turn the corner. The kids started understanding, ‘Hey, we could get beat tonight and lose the conference if we don’t play.'”

Jones led Muskegon Heights with 14 points while Javontae Kendrick and Kieshon Watson grabbed nine rebounds apiece.

 

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