By Jim Goorman
Local Sports Journal

The Muskegon Heights Tigers overcame an early 12-9 deficit and cruised to an easy 71-58 victory Tuesday over Muskegon Catholic in nonleague boys hoops.

MCC's Erik Van Fossen on the fast break as Muskegon Heights' Demonte Crosby tries to make the block. Photo/Tim Reilly

MCC’s Erik Van Fossen on the fast break as Muskegon Heights’ Demonte Crosby tries to make the block. Photo/Tim Reilly

In a closely contested first quarter, Heights prevailed 15-11, eliminating a 12-9 Catholic lead by scoring the last six points. It was to be the final lead that MCC would have in the game as Heights upped the lead to 34-25 at halftime.  The 6-foot-4 Heights center Marquis Gresham scored nine of his 10 game points to spark his team in the second quarter. The Tigers had 3 of their 5 game treys during that span.

The Crusaders never backed down in the third quarter. They clawed their way back using a full court press, scoring seven of the first nine points of the quarter and cutting the Heights lead to 36-32.

The Tigers used their quickness and aggressiveness to recapture the momentum. They built their biggest lead in the fourth quarter with a 66-50 advantage. Eddie Tornes scored 11 of his game high 28 points in the fourth quarter to help the Tigers pull away. He also finished with seven rebounds and three block shots.

Muskegon Heights coach Dale Stewart gave credit to MCC.

Ian Tyler looks to drive around the Tiger's Marquis Gresham. Photo/Tim Reilly

Ian Tyler looks to drive around the Tiger’s Marquis Gresham. Photo/Tim Reilly

“They played very well and they got some confidence tonight,” Stewart said. “We are playing many types of teams this year and we have to adjust to that and it is really good for us.”

Muskegon Catholic was led by senior Ian Tyler with 22 points, followed by junior Erik Van Fossen with 16 points. Adam Callow played a solid floor game going against Heights quickness in the back court of Tornes and Antonio Jones.

Stewart was very complimentary of his junior guard Jones, who scored 16 points and had seven assists. 

“He makes us better as a team. I want him to play like Robin to Batman distributing the ball and he is doing it. I am pleased with him”.

Both coaches feel that this game is a step in right direction for the tournaments next month.  

“I love that we have this game on the schedule for the tournaments and Dale (Stewart) does a great job as he had seven kids and they play hard for him,” Jordan said. Stewart feels his 9-1 team “has a lot of work to do” but he likes where they are.

MCC had no 3-pointers, but shot 16-24 free throws while the Tigers shot a paltry 10-21 at the stripe. 

“The kids executed really well and got some baskets to a manageable lead and then we actually turned the ball over that was really huge,” said MCC coach Lamar Jordan. “I thought our kids really handled the pressure very well and we changed the tempo of the game with our press defense.”