By Lucas Rains
LANSING – In the days leading up to Tuesday’s Class A basketball quarterfinals, all the talk was about the matchup between the two dominant big men – Muskegon’s Deyonta Davis and Lansing Everett’s Trevor Manuel.
And the talk really heated up on Monday when Davis won Michigan’s Mr. Basketball award over Manuel, who finished third in the voting.
Perhaps Manuel and his teammates took the vote personally, because they played like a team out to prove something Tuesday. Manuel finished with a game-high 24 points as the Vikings stunned the defending state champion Big Reds 75-52 at Lansing Eastern High School.
It was only the second loss of the season for Muskegon, which finished 23-2. Their record over the past two seasons is an amazing 51-2.
“(Everett) played great,” said Muskegon Coach Keith Guy. “They hit some shots and were just more ready than we were tonight.”
Everett’s guards played big roles in the contest, forcing turnovers and getting their teammates involved in the offense. Guard Jamyrin Jackson scored 20 points for Lansing Everett.
“I thought (Everett) played really well, their role players,” Guy said. “They made some shots off the glass and it just wasn’t our night.”
Davis finished with 12 points for Muskegon, as Manuel and the Vikings were able to create problems for all the Big Reds on the offensive end.
Muskegon jumped out to an early 14-7 advantage with two minutes to go in the first quarter. Joeviair Kennedy had the hot hand for the Big Reds, scoring 10 of his 20 points in the first quarter.
But the Vikings stormed back to end the quarter on a 7-0 run and tie the score 14-14 at the buzzer.
The game remained close throughout the second quarter, and Everett held a slim 26-24 lead at halftime. Davis helped keep Muskegon’s deficit at two with one of his seven blocked shots with under 10 seconds to go in the half.
Everett began to pull away in the third quarter. The Vikings opened the half with an 8-0 run and outscored the Big Reds 22-9 to take a 48-33 lead at the third buzzer. Jackson led the way with 12 points in the third, nine of which came within a one-minute burst toward the end of the quarter.
“I think they came out with more punch,” Guy said of the third quarter run. “I mean, the first possession of the second half was a turnover for us. We didn’t do a good job of taking care of the ball and we didn’t attack the zone the way we should have.”
The fourth quarter was more of the same, as Everett’s intensity forced Muskegon into uncharacteristic mistakes which led to easy transition buckets for the Vikings.
The Vikings put the exclamation point on their victory when Manuel caught an alley-oop pass off the backboard and jammed it home with six minutes to go in the game.