HOLTON – North Muskegon may very well be playing its best basketball at the most important time of year.
Coach Chuck Rypstra said his team had stretches of their best offensive production of the season on Friday at Holton High School, helping the Norsemen roll to a Division 3 district championship over Kent City, 61-34.
North Muskegon sees its season record improve to 19-4. The Norsemen advance to Monday’s regional semifinal contest against Pewamo-Westphalia at Kent City High School.
Rypstra was especially proud of his team’s second quarter dominance on Friday, when they outscored the Eagles by a commanding 21-3 margin.
“We had a close battle in the first quarter, with each team feeling out the other,” he said. “The second quarter was one of our best offensive quarters this year. We moved the ball and attacked. They were really guarding Troy McManus closely, so our other guys needed to step up and they did.”
The outburst gave North Muskegon a 32-10 halftime lead. Kent City tried to claw back in the third, trimming its deficit to 44-28, but the Norsemen piled it on in the fourth, outscoring Kent City, 17-6.
“The halftime margin got cut down to 13 points (in the third quarter), as Kent City really pressured us and it took awhile to adjust and handle it,” Rypstra said. “Once we did, we kept them at bay for the rest of the game.
“They played great tonight and super hard. We just tried to match them and made a few more shots.”
McManus, who drilled seven 3-pointers against Ravenna in the district semifinals on Wednesday, was kept in check offensively against Kent City. Instead, his teammates picked up the scoring punch, including Lamarkis Graham, Jaxon Lisinski, Sam Gallo and Adam Dugener. They combined for 50 points, led by Graham’s 16 points, five rebounds and three assists. Lisinski chipped in 14 points, while Gallo and Dugener each scored 10.
Gallo also contributed seven rebounds and four assists, while Dugener handed out three assists.
Jaret Jaramillo paced Kent City with 14 points, while Seth Vanderwest added 10. The Eagles finish their season with a 14-9 record.
All photos below are courtesy of LSJ Photographer Krisha Wainright