By Andrew Johnson

MUSKEGON – The Muskegon boys basketball team honored its nine seniors in an appropriate way on Friday night, rolling to a 73-49 victory over Kenowa Hills in its final home game of the season.

Jarvis Walker takes a shot from the outside for Muskegon. Photo/Craig Smith

“I’m so happy for my guys,” said Muskegon head coach Keith Guy about Senior Night. “A lot of times we get so lost in the journey that we don’t appreciate the moment. I have a great group of seniors and it feels like we’ve been together a long time. They’re nine guys who I’m really going to miss. They’re a special group.”

Special indeed. The victory pushed Muskegon’s record to a shiny 17-2. The Big Reds also put an exclamation mark on their O-K Black Conference season, finishing with a 12-0 record after clinching their seventh straight title last week.

Perhaps people are getting used to Muskegon having winning seasons, because the Big Reds don’t seem to be getting as much notice as they usually receive. That’s fine with Coach Guy, with the state tournament just around the corner.

“We wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “We hope people continue to sleep on us. We’ll continue to do our work and enjoy the process, because no matter if people think we’re good or not, we know who we are and what this program is about.”

Lamar Lee boxes out during a free throw for Muskegon. Photo/Craig Smith

The senior theme was noticeable from the jump. Muskegon led 14-8 after one quarter, with senior Billie Roberts scoring six points and senior Vern Nash adding five.

In the second quarter, senior Jarvis Walker took his turn showcasing his talents with a strong 10-point performance. The Big Reds held a 39-21 lead at the halftime break

.Things got interesting in the third quarter when Kenowa Hills cut its deficit to 39-31 after a 10-0 run. But the Big Reds responded, closing out the quarter on a 12-2 run over the final three minutes and taking a 51-33 lead at the buzzer.

Muskegon had multiple players dunk down the stretch, and cruised to victory with each senior receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.

“I wanted every one of those seniors to get their moment of appreciation,” Guy said. “I just wanted to make sure these guys got what they deserved.”

Walker led the Big Reds with 21 points while Nash totaled 12. Kenowa Hills was led by Ryan Bart with 16 points.

“It was very special,” said Walker about Senior Night. “We wanted to go out with a bang and do what we could to get the win.”

Muskegon will wrap up the regular season next Thursday with a road contest at Kalamazoo Central, before beginning district play at Grand Haven on March 9 against Grand Rapids Union.

The Big Reds could be very tough to beat in the tournament if they continued to get bench contributions like they received from senior Quentin Reynolds, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half on Friday.

“Sometimes the starting five will hit a slump, so we need to roll off six to 10 points, which are huge,” Reynolds said.