Local Sports Journal

Whitehall stayed within striking distance of first-place Shelby, battling back from a very slow start to come away with the 58-52 victory over North Muskegon in West Michigan Conference boys basketball action.

The host Norse had a fantastic start, building up the 14-4 lead after one.

“(We) got off to a good start in the first,” said North Muskegon head coach Jeff Cooke.

The Vikings’ fortunes improved in the second, cutting the North Muskegon lead to seven, 27-20 at the break.

The third quarter proved to be the difference, with the Vikings outscoring the Norse 19-6 in that frame to pull ahead for good.

Whitehall senior center Matt Russell scored eight points in the third, and Matt Rohen added six more during that stretch to lead the Vikings.

“(Poor) free throw shooting and a cold third really hurt (us),” said Cooke. “Whitehall played hard all night.”

Whitehall compensated for zero fourth-quarter field goals by going 20-of-21 from the line to seal the victory.

Rohen finished with a team-high 17 points, with Russell pouring in 15 more, and sophomore Keenan Aylor added 13 for Whitehall.

North Muskegon’s Antonio Gordon led all scorers with 18 points, and teammate Mitch Edick added 12 points in the loss.