By Craig Beilfuss
MUSKEGON—The North Muskegon Norsemen rode the hot shooting hand of Troy McManus from the outside and the free throw line in the final eight minutes on Monday evening as they got by tournament host Western Michigan Christian 56-49 in the opening round of the Division 4 districts.
McManus scored 12 points in the final eight minutes, including 5-of-5 from the charity stripe, a 3-pointer and two other baskets from the field. McManus finished with a game high 24 points on just 8-13 shooting from the field.
Teammate Jason Bogue was instrumental from inside the paint scoring eight points down the stretch for North Muskegon who as a team racked up a huge 26-14 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter.
Both teams started a little sluggish on the offensive end as the first quarter ended in a 9-9 tie. WMC went into halftime with a slim 21-19 lead.
The Warriors increased their lead to 35-30 by the end of the third quarter as WMC senior Owen Varnado hit for seven points in the quarter to pace the Warriors.
The Norsemen took the lead for good at 43-42 and WMC had difficulties controlling McManus’ outside shooting game and the inside game of Bogue.
“It was just one of those nights tonight,” said North Muskegon coach Chuck Rypstra when talking about McManus. “Our other guys did a great job of getting him the ball.”
Rypstra went on to comment about the job his defense did on WMC senior sensation Owen Varnado.
“He’s a tough matchup for us because he’s so big and strong. He puts you in some dilemma’s but I thought our guys did a pretty good job on him. We limited him to only two points in the fourth quarter.”
Joining McManus in double figures for the North Muskegon was Bogue with 13 points. Champ Young tossed in five points to go with three assists and Ben Meyers tossed in four points and also had three assists.
Varnado led WMC with a team high 16 points. He was joined in double digits by Sam Liggett who chipped in with 13 points. Eli Marek tossed in nine points for the Warriors.
North Muskegon improves to 13-8 overall and will face West Michigan Conference foe Shelby on Wednesday evening. The Tigers will come in with a 12-8 record.
The two teams split the season series, with Shelby winning back on December 10 by six, 40-34. North Muskegon got some revenge getting by the Tigers on February 1, by a final margin of 57-51.
Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.
The Warriors ended the season with a 7-14 overall record and tied for second place with Muskegon Heights in the Lakes 8 Activities Conference with a 7-3 record.
Check out photos from the action shot by Leo Valdez.