The rivals, who have competed against one another in several different leagues now find themselves doing battle as independents.
On Friday, Chase Willer found himself wide open on an inbounds play with 33 seconds remaining and lifted the Crusaders to a 41-39 victory against the host Warriors. The Crusaders preserved the victory in the final seconds with a steal off a Warrior inbounds play with 3.4 seconds remaining.
It certainly didn’t look like the game would come down the wire in the early going. Catholic raced off to a 22-11 lead at the half.
But the Warriors began to chip away in the third quarter and pulled to within two at 25-23 with one quarter remaining. WMC’s 12-3 third-quarter run brought their faithful followers to their feet and signaled the started of what would be a highly competitive fourth quarter.
Warrior junior Fisher Campbell spearheaded the surge in the fourth quarter with nine of his game-high 17 points.
A layup by WMC’s Kevin Jackson gave his team a four-point lead with 3 minutes to play at 37-33.
Bryan Convertini hit a 3-pointer with 2:42 remaining, but WMC’s Eli Malek scored 30 seconds later.
Sam Kartes scored from underneath for MCC and Willer’s wide-open shot from underneath accounted for the game’s final four points.
Braden Gustin led MCC with 13 points. Convertini and Jake Westhoff had 10 points each.
Besides Campbell, WMC received nine points from Jared Olsen and five from Caleb Tejchma.
Muskegon Catholic hosts Grand River Prep next Friday.