Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON — The Muskegon Big Reds paid for their recent 58-57 loss to the East Kentwood Falcons in boys basketball.
Not only did the loss end a 31-game winning streak for Muskegon, but it knocked the Big Reds out of the USA Today Sports’ new Super 25 national high school boys basketball team ratings.
Instead, Kentwood, now 7-0, slid into the 24th spot in the Jan. 13 poll, one spot up from Muskegon’s previous 25th ranking on Dec. 16. In this week’s Associated Press state poll, East Kentwood checked in at No. 2 in Class A and Muskegon is No. 3.
In a ratings turnover, the USA Today poll had Muskegon as one of eight teams dropping out of the Super 25 portion although one team – La Lumiere, of La Porte, Ind., went from No. 7 to totally out of the rankings even with a 9-0 record.
The national leaders also underwent a change. Findlay College Prep, of Henderson, Nev., jumped from its previous fourth spot to the top spot with a 16-0 record. The second and third spots also changed.
Montverde Academy, of Montverde, Fla., dropped from the top spot to fourth with its 19-1 record after it lost 72-65 in the finals of the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla., to then 10th-rated Wheeler, of Marietta, Ga. Wheeler wound up with a 15-1 record after the holidays and climbed to the third spot in today’s poll.
Muskegon’s departure from the rankings ended a full year of national ratings for the Big Reds. They had started the 2013-14 season unranked and went from the 49th spot in the third week of the ratings in January 2014 to 20th at the end of the season with a 28-0 record. In the process, Muskegon also won the Class A state tournament title.
Prior to Christmas, Muskegon had been ranked 28th, 27th and 25th before the loss to Kentwood in the championship game of the recent Meijer Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Classic.
Kentwood replaced Muskegon as the only ranked team from Michigan in either the Super 25 or the next 25 groupings of ranked teams nationally chosen by the USA Today Sports department. The ratings are based on results, quality of players and strength of schedule.
The upcoming schedule has Muskegon playing at Mona Shores in an O-K Conference Black Division game Friday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m.
The Big Reds, now 5-1 overall, will play their next home game on Jan. 20 against Grand Rapids Christian at 7 p.m. in the Redmond-Potter Gymnasium at Muskegon High School.