By Jason Goorman
Local Sports Journal
If there ever was a time for Muskegon High School Athletic Director Keith Guy to find his range at the free throw line, it was Tuesday night with two seconds left in the championship game of the I Am Basketball League.
Guy made one of two free throws, which forced the game to overtime and allowed his Chicken Coop team to beat the “A” Team 54-51 and capture the league title.
“You know when you get old and play two games today, you gotta get better,” said Guy about his free throws down the stretch. “I almost cost us the game, though.”
The Chicken Coop was able to rely on the inside presence of Drew Naymick and the court presence of Brandon Burrell and DeAngelo Johnson to get past its rival and claim the title.
The three combined for 33 of the Coop’s 54 points. Johnson finished with 13 points while Naymick and Burrell had 10 apiece.
Chicken Coop led 30-22 at halftime. But the “A” Team scratched its way back in the second half and eliminated its deficit by the end of regulation. Kelvin Grady’s 3-pointer with seven seconds left put the “A” Team up 48-47.
But Guy was fouled near midcourt with a few ticks left on the clock, sending him to the charity stripe.
Naymick provided the highlight of the night with an in-your-face dunk with 53 second lefts in regulation that put the Coop up 46-45.
“That was a big possession because including myself, we couldn’t make free throws,” Naymick said. “Someone hit (Jason) Aerts on the baseline and he made a great drop off to me. I was fired up at that point because I was frustrated and I let out a little aggression on that one.”
Anthony Sydnor kept his “A” Team in the hunt in overtime with a deep 3-pointer that brought his team to within one point with 14 seconds left. Sydnor finished with 16 points.
Jessie York contributed to the “A” Team effort with 15 points, 10 of which came in the first half.
The two teams reached the finals with semifinal wins in a pair of games earlier in the night.
The Coop beat the Silent Assassins 74-64 behind Willie Burrell’s 16 points. Rob Cook led the Assassins with 14 points.
The “A” Team topped Odyssey 44-42. Lou Williams paced the winners with 14 points while Michael Pollard led Odyssey with 11 points.