By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

Muskegon Big Red basketball coach Keith Guy made a guarantee after his team dropped an 85-77 decision to undefeated East Kentwood on Friday night.

“Listen to me when I tell you this,” Guy said. “We will be fine. We’re not making too much out of this. We don’t like to lose, but we will be fine. We played two very good teams back-to-back, two different styles of play and I thought we played as hard as we could.”

The game was the nightcap of the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Basketball Classic at Reeths-Puffer High School.

After dropping a one-point decision to Westland John Glenn on Thursday night, the Big Reds came back on Friday to battle a quick and hot-shooting Falcon team that made nine 3-pointers in the game and converted 26-of-32 free throws. That effort included 17-for-23 in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons began shooting the lights out right from the start as Arthur Pearson canned a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter and another in the second quarter. He came back in the fourth quarter and made 11-of-15 free throws to finish with a game-high 28 points.

Teammate Jaylen Carter finished with 25 points, Jeffrey Drake-Todd had 14 and Ben Hester had 13, including a monster dunk that gave the Falcons a double-digit lead in the early stages of the fourth quarter.

“I think in a two-game format when you’re playing teams like this, your depth comes into play and we have great depth,” EK coach Jeff Anama.

East Kentwood scored 25 second-quarter points to gain a 43-35 lead at the half.

But Muskegon battled back, as it did much of the night, and cut the deficit to 56-54 in the third quarter. But then Drake-Todd and Carter hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Hester threw down his dunk and just that quickly, the Falcons had a 70-58 lead.

Then the free-throw shooting clinic started as the Falcons were able to keep the Big Reds at arm’s length on the scoreboard with their prowess from the line.

“So far this season, we’ve been solid (at the line),” Anama said. “We don’t get to the line that much because we’re smaller and we don’t get those rebounds and put backs when there are arms everywhere. We get there at the end of games, and at the end of games so far, we’ve made our free throws in the fourth quarter.”

Muskegon produced a balanced offensive attack on Friday night, led by Juwon Martin with 19 points, Joviar Kennedy with 17, D’Vonte Dockery with 15 and Deshawn Thrower with 13 points and eight rebounds. Deyonta Davis also had eight rebounds and Kennedy has seven.

“That’s what we’re asking for,” said Guy, whose team dropped to 3-3.


East Kentwood 85, Muskegon 77


Arthur Pearson 7 11-15 28, Jaylen Carter 7 10-11 25, Jeffrey Drake-Todd 5 0-0 14, Michael Spicer 2 0-0 5, Ben Hester 4 5-6 13. Totals 25 26-32 85.


D’Vonte Dockery 6 3-4 15, Deshaun Thrower 5 3-5 13, Jalen Smith 0 1-2 1, William Roberson 1 4-6 6, Joviar Kennedy 7 3-3 17, Juwon Martin 6 3-3 19, Deyonta Davis 2 2-3 6, Ronald Jenkins 0 0-2 0. Totals 27 19-26 77.


E. Kentwood 18 – 25 – 17 – 25 – 85
Muskegon  17 – 18 – 21 – 21 – 77

3-pointers: Martin (4), Pearson (3), Carter, Drake-Todd (4), Spicer. Fouled out: Dockery, Roberson, Jenkins. Total fouls: East Kentwood 24, Muskegon 26. Technicals: EK bench, Muskegon coach, Drake-Todd, Muskegon bench.