Desperate situations apparently don’t bother the Whitehall Vikings.
But the Vikings fought back and tied the game by the end of regulation.
Then Lucas Schumm hit a layup with 4.8 seconds left in overtime, giving Whitehall a thrilling 73-71 victory over the Norse in a West Michigan Conference showdown.
The Vikings improved to 7-1 overall and remained perfect in league play with a 5-0 record. North Muskego dropped to 5-2 and 3-2 in the league
“It was a huge game for us,” said Whitehall Coach Nate Aardema. “It was just about finding a way to make plays. A lot of guys chipped in and we managed to do that.
“For us to be five games deep into the conference season and be 5-0 is just huge. We have a lot of work to do and it’s going to be a grind. We’ve just been fortunate to come out on top so far.”
Whitehall led 19-18 after one quarter, before North Muskegon grabbed the momentum and took a 37-31 lead at halftime and a 53-42 edge after three quarters.
But then the Vikings woke up, outscoring the Norse 22-11 in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 64-64 at the buzzer.
CJ Watson led the Whitehall comeback with 13 points in the final quarter.
“We just battled like crazy to get defensive stops (in the fourth quarter),” Aardema said. “We had a lot of guys step up. Connor Boyd and Daniel DuBois worked like crazy.”
Watson also contributed to the winning basket in overtime, driving the lane and drawing the attention of North Muskegon defenders, then dishing the ball to Schumm, who scored the deciding bucket.
“We just couldn’t hold on,” said North Muskegon Coach Chuck Rypstra. “We went 1-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter and that was the difference. But we battled hard. I’m proud of our kids.”
Watson finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks. Schumm added 20 points, four steals, four assists and three rebounds. Aylor contributed nine points and nine rebounds.
Riley Fairfield led the Norse with 15 points, five rebounds, five steals and four blocks. Erick Bleakley added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists while Vernonell Smith totaled 13 points and six rebounds.
Dalton Fuller chipped in 11 points for the Norse.