By Justin Haggerty
Local Sports Journal
NORTON SHORES – With a showdown with state power Romulus looming, it would have been easy for the Muskegon Big Reds to look past the Mona Shores Sailors Friday night in their O-K Black Conference opener.
As it turns out, it wasn’t their best showing overall, but the Big Reds were still able to win big, 77-39.
“As much as you’d like 16-17 year old kids not to look forward, they still do,” said Muskegon Coach Keith Guy, whose team improved to 6-1 overall. “I don’t think we played bad, I just think we could have played better.”
Muskegon’s 6-10 center Deyonta Davis, who has been nominated to play in the McDonald’s All-American game, took control of the contest, ending up with 26 points, 18 rebounds and eight blocks. He punctuated his performance with a few dunks and alley-oops.
The senior leader took personal responsibility for the Big Reds’ only loss, against East Kentwood over the holidays, and felt he needed to up pick his game going forward.
“I told my coaches, I was going to be the reason we won,” Davis said. “I just picked everything up,”
Guy likes the way Davis has been playing since the East Kentwood game.
“He’s locked in right now,” Guy said of Davis. “He doesn’t want to lose anymore.
“You have to give the kid credit for taking the blame for the loss to East Kentwood. It wasn’t all his fault. All of us, coaches included, had a part in that loss. He’s responded in every practice since then as well as every game. I like the direction he’s headed in at this point, his mindset.”
The Sailors stuck around through the first quarter, trealing just 17-12 at the first buzzer. But Guy made some adjustments and Muskegon took control.
Muskegon led 35-17 at halftime, with Mona Shores shooting just 7-of-23 from the field in the first half.
Davis opened the second half with a bang, scoring the first six Big Reds points and eight of their first ten. The Big Reds led 58-42 after three and outscored the Sailors 19-7 in the fourth to cap off the win.
Joeviair Kennedy had 11 points for Muskegon.
“I thought we played really well the first quarter,” said Mona Shores coach Gene Gifford. “Right toward the end of the first, we had a couple breakdowns and they scored.
“We struggled against the 1-2-2 zone (defense) when he went to that. We didn’t do a real good job of attacking that.”
Tyler Trovinger paces Mona Shores with 21 points, including four 3-pointers. Kobe Burse grabbed 11 rebounds for the Sailors.