Muskegon Big Reds rebound from Saturday’s loss with a 76-46 bombing of Grand Haven

By Nate Thompson
LocalSportsJournal.com

GRAND HAVEN — Muskegon bounced back in a big way in enemy territory on Tuesday evening.

Coming off their first loss of the season on Saturday against Chicago Whitney Young in the Muskegon Basketball Showcase, the Big Reds didn’t let the defeat linger, posting an impressive 76-46 victory over a quality Grand Haven team in non-league action.

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“We locked in defensively,” said Muskegon Coach Keith Guy, whose squad improves to 4-1 overall. “I thought we played good position defense and good team defense. We knew their big guys had the ability to hit shots from the outside and several other players that could shoot, so we had to defend the 3, and we did that well.”

The Bucs’ shooters were as cold as the winter chill in the air, especially in the second quarter, when Muskegon outscored them 15-2. Muskegon had a 23-2 run that stretched from five minutes remaining in the first quarter to the end of the first half.

Grand Haven, which entered with a 5-1 record, looked frazzled against the constant perimeter pressure orchestrated by the Big Reds. The Bucs faced their largest deficit of the season, 29-9 at halftime, and never recovered.

The guard duo of Michael Littlejohn and Linwood Lee III led the Big Reds’ charge, scoring 16 and 14 points, respectively.

Guy said Lee’s overall improvement in his game has been a pleasant surprise for the Big Reds this season.

“Honestly, Linwood has been our most consistent player,” the coach said. “He’s not only scoring, but he’s leading us in assists and he’s second or third in rebounding. He’s the stick that stirs the coffee.”

“(Coach) pushes me. Always,” Lee said. “I came off the bench last season, but coach gave me that extra push over the summer. He knew I could elevate my game.”

Grand Haven couldn’t focus solely on slowing Littlejohn and Lee because the Big Reds shared the basketball extremely well, with eight players scoring five or more points. As a result, their lead swelled to as large as 30 points in the fourth quarter before both teams emptied their bench.

“It doesn’t matter who’s scoring,” Lee said. “Whoever is scoring, we’re not going to complain about it.”

Desi Stephens and Jocorey Sullivan each added six points for the Big Reds.

For Grand Haven, senior guards Tyler Wiedeman and Lucas Steffel had 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Bucs couldn’t take advantage of their quality post players, as Ross Koella and Zach Sinke (both 6-5) combined for just six points.

Muskegon opens O-K Black Conference play on Friday against Mona Shores, then welcomes non-conference foe Ypsilanti on Saturday.

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