By Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON — The Muskegon Big Reds continued their rise in the national boys basketball high school rankings published by USA Today by moving up to 27th position.
That marks the ninth week in a row Muskegon has been ranked, and its highest rating of the season. Muskegon completed its regular-season schedule at 20-0 before starting Class A District Tournament play Monday night. The Big Reds won their opening tournament game by beating Grand Haven 53-35.
The tournament resumes Wednesday with Reeths-Puffer playing Muskegon, now 21-0, at 6 p.m. before Grand Rapids Union takes on Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills at 7:30 p.m. The district championship game in Muskegon High School’s Redmond-Potter Gymnasium will be Friday at 7 p.m.
Muskegon, which had been 30th in the poll last week, also took advantage of some changes above the Big Reds in the Super 25 poll announced today. Muskegon had started from the 49th spot in the Jan. 7 listing, the second of the season.
Not only did two previously ranked teams from Corona, Calif., and Jacksonville, Fla., drop out of the Super 25, but the former No. 2 team — Chicago Curie — had to forfeit its 24 victories in a 25-game season. Seven of Curie’s players reportedly had academic fraud problems so the team surrendered all 24 of its victories.
Curie’s only loss had been to Muskegon in early January when the Big Reds turned back the Condors 73-66 in overtime in a game played at Muskegon. Curie has been cleared to play in the Illinois State High School Tournament, but reports are Curie will have only nine players available for each game.
With Curie’s departure, the top five teams in the Super 25 poll underwent a change. Montverde Academy, from Montverde, Fla., had its only loss wiped out thanks to a Curie forfeit and moved back into the top spot. Montverde, now 25-0, had been the early season leader in the top spot and then slipped to No. 3 in recent weeks after the loss to Curie.
Elsewhere, the poll has Mater Dei, of Santa Ana, Calif., , now 29-0, dropping from its old No. 1 spot to No. 2. Rounding out the top five are Rainier Beach, of Seattle, Wash. (26-0) in the third spot; Northside Christian Academy, of Charlotte, N.C. (28-1) fourth; and Huntington St. Joseph Prep, of Huntington, W.V., (27-4) fifth.
Northside Christian Academy had been sixth and Huntington Prep seventh in the poll in recent weeks before dropping out of the list.
Muskegon is one of two Michigan teams included in the 50 schools mentioned in the Super 25 poll. Detroit Pershing, now 18-2, is the other Michigan school at 43rd. Pershing’s Doughboys had been 46th in last week’s poll.
Earlier in the season, Muskegon moved up from 49th to 44th and then 41st. The Big Reds then spent five weeks in the 30s bracket with rankings of 39th, 35th, 36th, 33rd and 30th before today’s jump to 27th.