Local Sports Journal

Muskegon Heights Public School Academy coach Dalrecus Stewart wanted a big win to give his first-year program a boost.

He got it Friday night against Class A state power Rockford.  Jeff Jordan’s free throw with no time remaining helped MHA shock the Rams 60-59 in a thrilling nonleague game at Sydnor Gymnasium.

“I am extremely excited because Rockford is a quality program,” Stewart said after the emotional win. “Even though our kids are young, we played well. We made plays down the stretch.”

Chad Carlson, who scored a game-high 23 points for Rockford, drilled a long 3-pointer to tie the game with 10 seconds remaining.

MHA (2-0) then got the ball to Jordan, who made a few moves in isolation and was fouled by Carlson on a 3-point attempt.

Jordan calmly sank the first free throw as teammates, cheerleaders and fans mobbed him in a wild celebration.

“I was so excited,” Stewart said. “It felt like a playoff game. The crowd was into it. It was a nail-biter.”

Rockford trailed 51-47 entering the final quarter and kept the pressure on the Tigers to the end.

Jordan finished with 22 points to lead the Tigers and Aaron Sydnor added 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Sydnor also moved to point guard when Jordan hurt his back.

“Aaron played his best game tonight,” Stewart said. “He recognized things and got to the basket several times.”

Stewart lauded his team for its balanced attack.

“The key for us is we got out in transition,” Stewart said. “We rebounded and attacked the basket. It really worked out for us.

“We looked at Rockford as a Duke coming in,” added Stewart, who started two sophomores and three juniors. “This win really gets us moving in the right direction.”