By Devon Kitchen
Local Sports Journal

What seemed to be a close game at the beginning tip off turned out to be a 44-point blowout as Muskegon Heights Academy handled Kalamazoo Hackett, 88-44.

The Class C regional semifinal win places the Tigers in the finals on Wednesday at 7 p.m. where they will face New Buffalo who beat Schoolcraft, 69-60.

At the start of the game the Tigers got out to an early 6-3 run over the Irish, which seemed to be the beginning of a huge rally that the Tigers could ride all night.

Kalamazzo Hackett didn’t seem as if it wanted to go down easy though, as it got on a quick run thanks to the help of drawing a lot of fouls and being able to convert at the line.

But after playing to a 21-15 Muskegon Heights lead, the Tigers went on the offensive in the second quarter and led 47-22 at half time.

“Coming out of the gates slow didn’t really affect my team,” said Muskegon Heights coach Dale Stewart. “Kalamazoo Hackett is a great team and we expected them to come out that strong and aggressive. After that quarter I just told my team to play true-Tiger basketball and that’s what they did the rest of the game.”

A key part to the Tigers win was from an unusual source in junior center Marquis Grisham. He poured in 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, not only a season high for him, but his first career double-double as well.

Also leading Muskegon Heights was Eddie Tornes with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists.

For the Fighting Irish, sophomore point guard Jack Dales carried most of the load, contributing 16 points.