By Lucas Rains
GRAND HAVEN – Muskegon Coach Keith Guy was not happy on Wednesday when his team fell behind in the first quarter.
His players were well aware of that and made the necessary adjustments on Friday.
The Big Reds jumped out to a 12-0 lead over the first four minutes of the game, then rolled on to a decisive 72-48 victory over Grand Haven in the Class A district title game on the Bucs’ home court.
Muskegon, 21-1, now advances to the regional semifinals on Monday at Holland West Ottawa against Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, which enters the game 23-0 on the season.
“We focused on having a good start tonight,” Guy said. “Tonight, we had to make sure we had a good start and take the crowd out of it and get our confidence up.
“I’m thankful we could come into a place like this, because Grand Haven is always a tough place to play, and win like we did and advance.”
Grand Haven was clearly focused on shutting down Deyonta Davis and Joeviair Kennedy, the Big Reds’ two leading scorers. They were successful to a point, holding Kennedy to 13 points and Davis to 12.
But Muskegon demonstrated it can beat opponents with multiple weapons. Daryl Kirkland tossed in 14 points for the Big Reds while Jason Loera added 10.
“We noticed the way they like to play defense,” Guy said of Grand Haven. “We knew they were going to try to take those two guys away. But the thing about it is, we have all of those weapons and a lot of people don’t know that.
“Those other guys can get it going, so it’s kind of like pick your poison, because those guys can step up and make plays.”
The Big Reds never trailed in the contest, grabbing leads of 19-11 after one quarter, 39-17 at halftime and 53-28 at the third buzzer.
Grand Haven had 11 different players score, led by Adam Abraham and Ross Koella with eight points apiece.