NORTH MUSKEGON — Games don’t get much closer than the boys basketball contest between North Muskegon and Montague in the West Michigan Conference at North Muskegon on Friday night.

In a crowd-pleasing affair, that was hotly contested from the start until it was finally decided in overtime, the Norsemen pulled out a thrilling 53-48 victory.

“There were big runs by both teams, and it truly wasn’t decided until about 30 seconds to go,” Norsemen head coach Chuck Rypstra said. “We would go ahead, then they would come back.

“They ran a good play and got a 3 to tie it. In overtime, we went ahead, but they were always there.”

Montague took a slim 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, and had an 8-7 edge in the second to squeeze into a precarious 20-18 lead at halftime.

North Muskegon came out and grabbed the lead to open the third quarter, but the Wildcats went on an 8-0 run. The Wildcats finished the quarter with a 14-11 edge and led by five, 34-29 entering the fourth quarter.

Although the Norsemen had a couple good chances in the final eight minutes, they couldn’t connect and settled for a 14-9 scoring advantage to force a 43-43 tie.

The Norsemen went ahead early in overtime, but Montague refused to go away and hung right with North Muskegon. Troy McManus hit a bucket to put the Norsemen up four.

But the Norsemen fouled the Wildcats on a scramble, missed the second and nearly knocked the ball out of bounds off North Muskegon. The Norsemen were awarded the ball, and made two free throws to clinch the win.

McManus led the Norsemen with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while James Young scored 10 points, Champ Young eight and Brandon Rypstra seven.

Owen Raeth was the top scorer for the Wildcats with 15 points, and Rodney Brassfield added 10.

The Norsemen improved to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference and are scheduled to host Hart next Thursday. Montague slipped to 3-2 overall, and is also 2-2 in the WMC. The Wildcats are next scheduled to play at Holton on Tuesday.