By Dave Tomczak
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON – A quick start was all that was needed for Muskegon to roll in its Class A district opener Monday.
The host Big Reds scored the game’s first seven points and held a 15-2 lead after one quarter en route to a 53-35 win over Grand Haven.
Muskegon will host Reeths-Puffer Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the district semifinal. The Rockets had a bye in the first round.
“It’s always great to get that first win,” Big Reds coach Keith Guy said. “You’re dealing with teenagers and you don’t know how they’ll react or respond, so there’s nothing like getting that first tournament win.”
Deyonta Davis controlled the paint for Muskegon, scoring six of his 13 points in the first quarter and grabbed four rebounds as his team sprinted out to a 13-point lead.
“When you have a shot-blocker like (Davis), even if you get to the rim he’s there,” Grand Haven coach Steve Hewitt said. “I think in the second half we did a better job of getting to the basket, but we were always battling from behind.”
The Bucs started the second quarter with six quick points to pull within 15-8, prompting Guy to use a timeout and get his team back in the right frame of mind.
“We had two bad offensive possessions and we stopped communicating on defense,” Guy said, “I just needed to refocus them.”
Muskegon responded by outscoring Grand Haven 8-4 the rest of the quarter, taking a 23-12 lead into halftime.
Deshaun Thrower, who led all scorers with 21 points, had 13 in the second half, including nine in the third quarter as Muskegon expanded its lead to 36-21 heading into the fourth.
Thrower, who also added four assists and two steals, said getting out in front of the Bucs was the key to the game.
“We knew against Grand Haven that they like to play at a slower pace then we do and when they get the lead they like to hold the ball. We had to “D” them up and make them play faster then they are used to,” said Guy.
The senior guard also hit 8-of-9 from the free throw line as the Big Reds finished 13-of-19 at the charity stripe. The Bucs made 8-of-15.
Davis finished the game with 12 rebounds and seven blocks for Muskegon, Joeviair Kennedy added 10 points and William Roberson Jr. dished out four assists.
Grand Haven’s Korey Searle had 10 points and Connor Grimes added six.
Take a look at a few highlights of Davis’ night for Muskegon and watch Thrower rise up on a drive to the basket.