By Craig Beilfuss

MUSKEGON–The Muskegon Lady Big Reds were no match for the highly ranked Detroit Renaissance Phoenix on Saturday afternoon.

The Phoenix, ranked No. 2 in Division 1, ran away from Muskegon, 74-45.

The Phoenix, members of the Detroit Public School League-Blue led from start to finish. They hit 10 shots from beyond the arc and went 14-of-20 from the free-throw line.

Renaissance had a balanced scoring attack with four players scoring in double figures. Senior point guard Amyah Espanol scored a game-high 18 points. Junior Nevah Otis tossed in 16 points while junior Makayla Johnson chipped in 12 points. Junior Anaya Hardy contributed 10 points.

The Phoenix raced out to a 25-11 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back. They extended that lead to 45-19 by the half by racking up a 20-8 scoring advantage in the second quarter.

Muskegon fell further behind in the third period as the Big Reds were outscored 15-7 and trailed the Phoenix 60-26 at the end of three.

The Big Reds generated some offense in the final eight minutes outscoring the the visitos 19-14.

Freshmen Mariah Sain led Muskegon with 14 points while senior Ty’Veonna Davis tossed in 11 points. The Big Reds ended up going 4-of-13 from the free-throw line.

Photo courtesy of Craig Smith

“We primarily played catchup the whole game because we missed some defensive assignments on Johnson,” said Muskegon coach Bernard Loudermill. “She made three 3’s in the first quarter and you just can’t give up good shots like that early to such a good team like that. It kind of forces you to do things that you normally don’t do,” Loudermill said.

The Big Reds play a tough non-conference schedule and Loudermill is looking forward to getting back into the OK Conference-Green, but he did take some things away from Saturday’s contest.

“We have to pay more attention to detail,” he said. “We have to do a better job executing and staying focused on the defensive end. Their (Phoenix) defensive pressure was pretty good, but at the same time, I thought we kind of pressed ourselves unnecessarily. I thought that if we wouldn’t have done that, we would have been more competitive.

“Our focus is now on the conference,” he said. “We’ve had a really tough non-conference schedule. This has prepared us for conference play.”

Muskegon (7-5, 5-0) will travel to Holland on Tuesday evening.

Photo courtesy of Craig Smith