By Craig Beilfuss

NORTH MUSKEGON—The North Muskegon boys basketball team rallied from a first half deficit on Monday evening and held on to get by Shelby 57-51 in a West Michigan Conference battle.

The Norsemen eventually built a second half lead of 18 only to see Joseph Hayes and the Tigers get within three with only under a half minute remaining but Shelby could never get a second half lead.

The sharp shooting Hayes and Shelby controlled the first quarter tempo, as the senior guard scored eight points in the first quarter to go with four points from Bishop Lee and the Tigers led 12-6 after the first eight minutes.

It looked sluggish but if you watch we got good shots we just didn’t make our shots,” said North Muskegon head coach Chuck Rypstra.

Shelby led 17-14 with 5:50 remaining in the second stanza.

North Muskegon went on an 8-0 scoring run, getting a basket from Ben Meyers, while Bo Neadeau would hit two shots to go with two free throws and the Norsemen had a 22-17 lead. It was a lead they never gave up and forced Shelby to play catch-up ball.

North Muskegon held Hayes in check in the second quarter and outscored Shelby 20-10 in the quarter to take a 26-22 halftime lead. Troy McManus canned two of his four 3-point shots in the quarter for the Norsemen.

Shelby head coach Rick Zoulek during a timeout on Tuesday evening. Shelby would fall to North Muskegon 57-51 (photo/Leo Valdez)

When they played more physical we didn’t rise to the occasion,” said veteran Shelby head coach Rick Zoulek.

It was a matter of toughness. I thought they were more tougher than us after the first quarter, then towards the end we toughened up in the fourth quarter,” Zoulek said.

North Muskegon looked like they were on the verge of blowing out the Tigers in the third quarter, as they hit four 3-point shots, outscored Shelby 22-13 and built a lead of 48-30.

Shelby scored the last five points of the quarter and trailed 48-35 after three quarters.

North Muskegon head coach Chuck Rypstra discusses some strategy with his North Muskegon team on Tuesday evening in West Michigan Conference game against Shelby (Photo/Leo Valdez)

The third quarter was amazing,” said Norsemen coach Chuck Rypstra.

After three quarters North Muskegon had held Hayes to a fairly quiet 14 points.

The final eight minutes saw Hayes and the Tigers make a huge run.

Hayes coming off a 40-point performance last Thursday against Hart, canned the first three buckets of the fourth quarter along with a free throw. Wyatt Dickman chipped in with a basket and Shelby was within 48-44 with 3:02 remaining.

Shelby managed to get within three at 54-51 with 19.4 seconds remaining but couldn’t get over the hump as North Muskegon hit 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch led by McManus who was a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.

Hayes finished the final eight minutes with 13-points, including two of his 3-point field goals for the evening.

He had 27 and I thought we did a good job on him,” said Norsemen coach Chuck Rypstra.

Junior Troy McManus led the North Muskegon attack with a team high 20 points and 3 assists. James Young tossed in 8 points while dishing out 5 assists. Ben Gallo and Ben Meyers chipped in with 6 points each respectively. Gallo grabbed a team high 6 rebounds.

Senior Joseph Hayes led the Tigers with a game high 27 points. Wyatt Dickman finished with 7 points. Shelby hit five 3-point shots and went 11-of-18 from the free throw line.

North Muskegon improves to 9-4 overall and is in second place in the West Michigan Conference with a league record of 6-2. The Norsemen will host the Whitehall Vikings on Friday evening.

Shelby drops to 7-4 overall is 5-3 in conference action. The Tiger will host Muskegon Oakridge on Friday evening.