By Dave Tomczak

USKEGON TOWNSHIP – What a difference a month has made for the Muskegon basketball team.

And what a difference Jarvis Walker makes.

The Big Reds guard, who joined the team in January after sitting out due to transfer rules, poured in 28 points to lead Muskegon to a surprisingly easy 63-28 O-K Black Conference win over host Reeths-Puffer in an O-K Black Conference showdown on Tuesday.

The Big Reds,13-3 overall, improved to 8-1 in the conference and took sole possession of first place. The Rockets (14-3 overall) dropped a game back at 7-2.

The big victory provided a measure of revenge for the Big Reds.

Vern Nash looks to reverse the ball against the Reeths-Puffer defense of No. 4 Carter Fulton and Kaleb Mitchelsn. Photo/Joe Lane

Muskegon, without Walker, dropped a 63-59 overtime decision to Reeths-Puffer less then a month ago, and Big Reds coach Keith Guy knew his team would be motivated to even the score.

“Tonight we played with a little bit of an edge,” Guy said. “Any kid who’s competitive wants to win. And when you lose to a team it adds a little bit more when you play them a second time.”

The Rockets jumped out to a 4-0 lead to start the game, but a pair of 3-pointers by Walker gave Muskegon an 8-6 lead after one quarter.

Tied at 10-10 early in the second quarter, Walker kicked off a 14-0 Big Red run with another 3-pointer, then finished off the scoring outburst with a steal and a dunk.

He had 11 points in the quarter and Muskegon led 28-16 at halftime.

“We got going on the defensive end, and that got us going on offense,” Walker said. “This was a big conference game and I was locked in the total time.”

The Big Reds held the Rockets to five points in the third quarter and increased their lead to 45-21. The Rockets finished the second half with only two buckets and 12 total points.

“We got good looks from outside and by the basket that wouldn’t go in,” said Reeths-Puffer Coach Lance Johnson. “And you’re not going to beat Muskegon having an off night shooting, there’s no way.”

Muskegon hit 14-of-23 free throws in the second half and 22-of-33 in the game.

The Rockets finished 10-of-19 from the stripe.

“I love our progress right now,” Guy added. “When we lost to them the 15th of January, everyone thought the world was ending, and I had to tell them we lost to a good team, but we will continue to get better and our best basketball was in front of us. Tonight shows we are getting better.”

Muskegon’s Vernon Nash contributed 14 points and six rebounds, and Cameron Martinez had four assists.

Daven Fox led Reeths-Puffer with 11 points and Carter Fulton added seven.