BOYS BASKETBALL: Thrower and Davis lead Muskegon to its first state title in 77 years
EAST LANSING – The last time Muskegon won a Class A basketball state title, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the top grossing film and the state of Michigan had just celebrated its centennial birthday.
The Big Reds had gone 77 years without winning it all, after losing in 1942, but can now claim stake as Class A state champs, demolishing Bloomfield Hills, 91-67.
"This championship has been a longtime coming," said coach Keith Guy. "We’ve been trying to climb this mountain for years, trying to reach the top and I’m just excited for these guys."
Not only did Muskegon win it all, but they did it with an unblemished record of 28-0 and in convincing fashion. Bloomfield Hills in reality never had a chance from the tip. They trailed 6-4 with 5:30 left in the first, but a basket and a foul by junior Joeviair Kennedy gave them the 7-6 lead for good. Kennedy finished with 14 points.
"I told my guys we didn’t want to leave anything in the tank," Guy said. "In our 28th game we wanted to leave here with the championship trophy and make this a perfect season."
They certainly accomplished that, with huge contributions from their two stars, senior DeShaun Thrower and junior Deyonta Davis. Davis finished with a game-high 26 points and 14 rebounds, against one of the best bigs in the state, Yante Maten.
"He’s a different kid," Guy said. "He doesn’t show a lot emotion and there are no big moments for him. Today he came out and relaxed and played the way he’s capable of playing."
Muskegon had already led 25-15 after one and looked to add to their lead in the second. Davis made it 31-17 with one of his sweet jumpers in the lane and then senior William Roberson’s lay-up and foul with 3:09 left in the half pushed their lead to 16, at 36-20.
"We wanted to come out and make a statement in our last game," Thrower said. "Everyone is going to be good at this stage of the playoffs but today we were just better."
If things couldn’t get any better for Thrower, who was named Mr.Basketball on Tuesday, adding a state championship just put the cherry on top of what was already a great season.
"This feeling feels fake right now," he said. "This time it’s tears or joy instead of tears of sorrow. This one is for us, coach and everybody in Muskegon."
Knowing I won my last high school game ever with the people I grew up with is the best feeling ever."
For Bloomfield Hills (24-4) it was all but a great feeling. The Black Hawks were in foul trouble most of the game and senior leaders Yante Maten and Armand Cartwright could do nothing but watch as their team got ran out the gym.
"Shots just didn’t fall our way today and that happens," said coach Duane Graves. "Someone forgot to take the Saran Wrap off the top for us."
The game got out of hand with all the foul calls and our inexperience just caught up with us."
Maten is one of the top seniors in the state, but saw limited action today. He fouled out with 1:24 left in the third, ending his high school career with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.
"Coach Graves is a really great guy and mentor on and off the court,"
Maten said. "He taught me a lot about basketball and some moral things. I’m just glad to have ended it with him."
Davis (Deyonta) was really good today. He’s long, making me have to alter my shots and he seems like a really good kid."
Muskegon led by as much as 29 late in the third and cruised to an easy victory, for their first state title since 1937. Thrower finished with 21 points and William Roberson added 17. Xavier Kennedy was the lone bright spot for Bloomfield Hills, heating up from deep, with 21 points.
Muskegon’s football team has made appearances in the last two Division 2 state title games, led by Thrower at quarterback and is known for their play on the gridiron, but Guy thinks that the tables have begun to turn.
"We want to build what they have here at Michigan State," he said. "A two headed monster in basketball and football and we have obtained that at Muskegon. Coach Fairfield and I share the same kids and we just try to make them the best men possible."