The race for the boys basketball championship in the West Michigan Conference could be wide open this year, with several evenly-matched teams competing for the crown.

Two of those teams, Whitehall and North Muskegon, went head-to-head on Tuesday and battled down to the wire, before the Vikings escaped with a 42-41 conference victory.

Whitehall led 16-7 after one and held a 25-20 advantage at the half. North Muskegon fought back and tied the game 29-29 in the third quarter, and 39-39 with 1:39 remaining in the game.

The Vikings hit a late basket and a free throw to take a three-point lead. The Norse scored with three seconds left to pull within one, Whitehall was fouled, went to the line and missed, but got its own rebound to end the game.

Dayton Cole paced the Vikings with 13 points. Alfred McGlothin followed with 10 points while Reid Watson added nine.  John Hayhurst led North Muskegon with 24 points and 13 rebounds.

The Vikings are now 2-3 overall and 2-1 in conference play. North Muskegon falls to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play.