By Craig Beilfuss
Muskegon—The North Muskegon Norsemen advanced to the Division 4, district basketball championship game on Friday evening against Holton, with a 50-40 win over the Shelby Tigers on Wednesday evening at Western Michigan Christian.
North Muskegon led from start to finish.
For the second consecutive district game, the Norsemen rode the hot shooting hand of junior James McManus who hit for a team high 20 points, while grabbing five rebounds and coming up with three steals.
It didn’t hurt that North Muskegon hit 17-of-21 from the charity stripe including 13-of-17 down the stretch in the final eight minutes.
The two teams split the regular season series, with each winning on their home court by six.
Shelby hurt whatever chances it had at beating the Norsemen as it turned the ball over 17 times, including six in the opening period.
North Muskegon jumped out to an 11-4 lead after one period. They continued to increase the lead, outscoring the Tigers 11-9 in the second stanza to take a 22-13 lead at intermission. McManus led the way with 13 first half points for the Norsemen.
Both teams put up identical scoring figures from the second quarter in the third quarter as North Muskegon carried a 33-22 lead into the fourth period. Shelby held a slim 18-17 scoring advantage and got within seven at 45-38 as Joseph Hayes tossed in 14 points for Shelby in the final eight minutes.
Joining McManus in double figures for the Norsemen was Jason Bogue with 11 points. A trio of North Muskegon player’s each scored six points respectively including Brandon Rypstra, James Young and Sam Gallo.
North Muskegon shot 15-of-31 from the field, grabbing 13 rebounds and only having nine turnovers.
North Muskegon (14-8) will take on the Holton Red Devils (15-6) in the district final game to be played at Western Michigan Christian on Friday evening at 7 p.m..
Hayes led the Tiger offense with a game high 23 points and teammate Bishop Lee also hit for double digits with 11 points. Hayes led Shelby with 11 rebounds.
Shelby hit 14-of-33 shots from the field, 10-of-13 from the free throw line and had a team total of 19 rebounds.
Shelby completes the season with a 12-9 overall record.
Photos below are courtesy of Leo Valdez/Local Sports Journal Photographer