Local Sports Journal

Erick Bleakely hit a pair of free throws with about 13 seconds remaining in overtime, then hit a putback with three seconds left, to give the North Muskegon boys basketball team a thrilling 60-59 victory over Whitehall Thursday in West Michigan Conference action.

The Norse came out strong, taking a 15-6 lead after one quarter. Whitehall fought back and tied the score at halftime.

North Muskegon pulled ahead again, leading by 12 after three quarters and 14 with five minutes left in regulation. But Whitehall stormed back again and took a late lead, before North Muskegon’s Marco Visconti hit a bucket at the buzzer to force overtime.

The Vikings led by three with 13 seconds left in overtime, but were called for an intentional foul. Bleakely hit two free throws, then the Norse were allowed to inbound the ball as a result of the foul.

Bleakely took a shot and missed, then got his own rebound and hit the winning bucket with about three seconds left.

North Muskegon improved to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play.

Ben Gautraud led the Norse with 21 points, including seven 3-pointers, and eight rebounds. Bleakely finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Riley Fairfield contributed nine points and 11 rebounds while Visconti had four blocks.

Keenan Aylor led the Vikings with 21 points.