Deyonta Davis leads Big Reds to Muskegon Showcase victory over Chicago Curie

By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

Deyonta Davis fed off the home crowd on Saturday night and led the Muskegon Big Reds to a 71-61 victory over Chicago Curie Metro in the finale of the Muskegon Showcase Basketball Tournament at Redmond-Potter Gymnasium.

The 6-foot-10 post player poured in 27 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and blocked five shots as the Big Reds played their first game of the season on its home floor.

Deyonta Davis wins the tipoff against Chicago Curies Terry Smith Jr. Photo/Jason Goorman

Deyonta Davis wins the tipoff against Chicago Curies Terry Smith Jr. Photo/Jason Goorman

In the day’s earlier games, Kalamazoo Central outlasted Thea Bowman (Gary, Ind.) 65-58 and Saginaw Arthur Hill ran away from Chicago Vocational 70-53.

That gave the Michigan teams a three-game sweep over the out-of-state competition.

But, in the nightcap, before a capacity crowd, Davis was the leader of the defending Class A state champions.

“After we lost to East Kentwood, he kind of took it personal,” Muskegon coach Keith Guy said. “He texted me and said, “coach that’s on me and it will never happen again.’

“We have to play through him,” Guy said. “I have to get my guards to understand that me makes the game easier on everybody. We have to find ways to get him the ball. We can’t go four or five possessions and not have him touch the ball.”

Muskegons Michael Littlejohn dribbles up the side line. Photo/Jason Goorman

Muskegons Michael Littlejohn dribbles up the side line. Photo/Jason Goorman

It was evident right from the start that Davis was going to leave a major mark on the game. He started things off with a dunk near the midpoint of the opening quarter and carried that to a 14-point first half, including 12 in the second quarter.

Seniors Jamarie Collins and Jason Loera also got off to solid starts for Muskegon in the opening half. Collins had eight points and Loera added six as the Big Reds took a 43-26 lead into the half.

However, Curie wasn’t going away and when the second half started, so did a Condor run of eight straight points that cut the deficit to 43-34.

It was the Condors’ full court pressure that caused turnovers and easy buckets.

“It’s spacing, too much dribbling, our court vision is terrible, they are panicking and going too fast,” Guy said. “I tell our guards, you control the tempo of the game. They don’t make you go fast, you have the ball … just relax. We will get through that.”

By the end of the third quarter, Muskegon regained a 16-point lead and kept it at double digits until Allonte Pickens canned a 3-pointer with 2:01 left that cut the lead to 66-57. Another Pickens’ 3-pointer made it 67-60 with 1:20 remaining, but the Big Reds were able to hold off the Condors for the victory.

Besides Davis’ big game, Muskegon received 11 points from Michael Littlejohn. Joevair Kennedy added seven points, 11 rebounds and four assists in a solid game. Loera added nine points.

Curie was led by Joshua Stamps with 16 points and Devin Gage with 14.

KALAMAZOO CENTRAL 65, THEA BOWMAN 58: The Giants used a balanced scoring attack with four players in double figures to capture the victory in the opening game of the day. Isaiah Livers led Kalamazoo Central with 18 points, followed by Devon Daniels with 16, Hunter Hale with 13 and Orlando Little with 11.  Thea Bowman was led by Jaylen Williams with 13 points off the bench, all in the second half, and Martin Schiele with 11.

SAGINAW ARTHUR HILL 70, CHICAGO VOCATIONAL 53: Mr. Basketball candidate Eric Davis scored 22 points to lead the Lumberjacks to the victory. Davis is committed to the University of Texas. Standout sophomore Brian Bowen added 15 points and Willie Rodgers added 13. Chicago Vocational had two players score in double figures – Jakobe Barker with 14 points and Keeshawn Palmer with 11.

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