Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON — The move seems small, but the Muskegon Big Reds now hold down the 22nd spot in the USA Today Sports Super 25 boys’ basketball rankings.

The Big Reds, now 25-0, climbed one spot from 23rd last week in the poll announced Tuesday in USA Today. None of the teams ahead of Muskegon lost, so the change amounted to a shuffling of spots.

Muskegon is the last of eight unbeaten teams included in the Super 25 list. Its two victories in the Class A regional tournament at Zeeland East last week allowed the Big Reds to swap places with White Station High School, from Memphis, Tenn. White Station ended its season with a 30-3-0 record after losing in its state sectional tournament last week.

Of the teams ahead of Muskegon, six teams already have won state championships in their respective tournaments.

The various team power marks for the Big Reds also improved. Muskegon’s strength of schedule rating improved from 1,370 to 1,255; its offense rating went from 545 down to 491; its defense rating improved from 717 to 488; and its power mark went from 237 down to 205.

In comparison, the national leader — Montverde Academy, of Montverde, Fla. — had ratings of four for strength of schedule; three for offense; 118 for defense; and one for power.

Montverde is 25-0 for the season. Second place, Mater Dei High School, of Santa Ana, Calif., is 32-0; third place Rainier Beach High School, of Seattle, Wash., is 30-0-0; fourth place Northside Christian Academy, of Charlotte, N.C., is 26-1-0; and fifth-place Huntington Prep, of Huntington, W.Va., is 27-4-0.

Rainer Beach already has won Washington’s Class 3A state championship. Northside Christian Academy is the 2A champion in the North Carolina state independent schools association tournament.

Muskegon’s season will continue Tuesday when the Big Reds play Ann Arbor Skyline (17-7) at 7 p.m. at Lansing Eastern High School. The winner will advance to a 1 p.m. game Friday against the winner of Tuesday’s Mount Pleasant (21-4) vs. Howell (19-5) game at Davison High School.

The other quarterfinal games have Detroit U-D Jesuit (21-2) playing Romulus (21-4) at University of Detroit Mercy while Bloomfield Hills (22-3) takes on Warren Mott (21-4) at University of Detroit Mercy.

Quarterfinal winners from the opposite side of Muskegon in the tournament bracket will advance to a 2:50 p.m. semifinal game Thursday. The Class A state finals are set for noon Saturday. The semifinals and championship games will be played at the Breslin Center on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing.