By Dave Hart
HOLLAND – Monday night’s Class A regional semifinal game between Muskegon and Forest Hills Central had all the feel of a state championship game.
The Big Reds faced their biggest challenge of the season, playing undefeated Forest Hills Central, which came into the game ranked fourth in the state.
The standing-room-only crowd got its money’s worth watching Deyonta Davis score 20 second half points to lead Muskegon to a 60-48 victory at West Ottawa High School.
The Big Reds, now 22-1, advance to Wednesday’s regional final against Hudsonville.
“This is what everybody came to see,” said Muskegon coach Keith Guy. “It was a fun environment and I am just excited and thankful to God that we came out on top.”
The Rangers outscored the Big Reds 16-13 in the first quarter, paced by Alex Dykema’s eight points. Michael Littlejohn scored seven of his 15 points in the opening quarter.
Davis and Joeviair Kennedy, Muskegon’s two leading scorers, each collected had two fouls with more than two minutes left in the first half and Muskegon trailing 22-21.
But the Big Reds responded with a 10-1 run, sparked by four points from Jason Loera, to grab a 31-23 halftime lead.
Muskegon continued to roll, outscoring Forest Hills Central 17-10 in the third quarter. Davis, who only had two first half points, scored six of the 17 Big Reds points in the third while Littlejohn hit two 3-pointers with 4:38 and 2:11 left, respectively.
Muskegon closed the game with 21 fourth-quarter points, fueled by Davis who had 12 down the stretch, most on thundering dunks
“I want everyone to understand that we are not just Dayonta Davis,” Guy said. “He is a big part, don’t get me wrong, but we have a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things.”
Davis finished with a a triple-double with 22 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 blocks. Kennedy added 21 points and had six assists despite the early foul trouble.
Muskegon was dominant under the basket, outrebounding the Rangers 47-17.
“I was so proud of our fight during the first half,” said Forest Hills Central coach Ken George, whose team ended the season with a 23-1 record. “We ran into a team who is better than us right now.”