Last second block, triple-double from Davis lead Muskegon past Arthur Hill in battle of state’s elite
West Bloomfield – In an early season matchup between ¬two of the state’s best teams, defending Class A state champion Muskegon and Saginaw Arthur Hill, and two of the state’s top players in Muskegon’s Deyonta Davis and Arthur Hill’s Eric Davis, it was without question one of the most anticipated games of the season.
And it’s safe to say that all of the above lived up to the hype on Saturday night.
Muskegon, behind a Deyonta Davis block at the buzzer that prevented the game from going to an extra session, held off Arthur Hill for a thrilling 65-63 win at the Prep Spotlight’s Battle of the Best at West Bloomfield High School.
“I just talked to myself and said I needed this last block, and I just did it,” said Davis of his block.
Muskegon coach Keith Guy said that he saw the emotion out of his star senior that he was ready to win and came up with the block that sealed the win for his team and added that Davis’ performance on Saturday night showed why he’s one of the nation’s top players.
“He wanted to win,” he said. “I saw emotion out of him tonight. People give him a hard time because he’s quiet off the court, but he’s a beast and an animal on the floor and he showed it tonight. He was protecting the paint, rebounding, he’s the real deal. He’s a McDonald’s All-American, he’s the best player in the state in my opinion and he showed it tonight.”
Davis’ block capped off an outstanding performance from the Michigan State commit as he finished with a triple double of 16 points, 16 rebounds and 10 blocks to lead Muskegon.
Davis said that he took his coach’s advice to protect the rim and added he was tracking the ball all night, looking for rebounds, two things he’s proven he can do as well as anybody throughout his high school career
“My coaches told me to stay back and protect the rim,” he said. “So I did that and I was looking for the ball and trying to get some putbacks and he said that when the rebounds come down, just get them when no one else can get them.”
Not to be outdone, Eric Davis put together a monster night of his own for the Lumberjacks as the Texas-commit poured in a game-high 36 points to lead the way for Arthur Hill.
Arthur Hill coach Greg McMath said that Davis’ shot hadn’t quite been on early on this season, but he put in some extra work before Saturday’s game and he definitely came up big for his team on S
“Eric got up today, his shot had been a little off, but he got up today and really worked with his teammates shooting,” he said. “He’s one of the better guards in the country, so he’s a big time player and he was really working on his shot and his game and we expect that out of Eric.”
After Arthur Hill jumped out to a 40-33 lead midway through the third quarter after a Davis 3-pointer, Muskegon began chipping away at the lead and took a 47-44 lead into the fourth quarter after 12 third quarter points from Joeviar Kennedy, including a dunk that gave the Big Reds the lead¬, who finished with a team-high 19 points.
“I learned that we’re fighters,” said Guy. “We don’t let up, we have the heart of a champion. What I did not like is that we didn’t take care of the ball, we made some bonehead plays, we didn’t look comfortable and that’s because we’re replacing three senior guards and I knew that would be a problem early on, but we’ll get it right.”
In the early stages of the fourth quarter¬, Muskegon built up a 51-46 lead after baskets from Kennedy and Davis, but Arthur Hill began closing the game and eventually retook the lead briefly, after a basket from Eric Davis gave the Lumberjacks a 52-51 lead with 4:25 left to play.
But from there, Muskegon built the lead back up to five, 57-52 after a Deyonta Davis dunk and begin to pull away until one final push from Arthur Hill cut the deficit back down to just one, 61-60 when
Eric Davis hit his seventh 3-pointer of the night, but the Big Reds held on thanks to a few late free throws from Jason Loera and Davis along with his last second block.
Davis said that even with his team pulling out a win over one of the top teams in the state, he feels he and his teammates could have played better, but added he was happy with the Big Reds’ energy and intensity throughout the game.
“I think we could have played better than that,” he said. “But the intensity that we played with, we can play with that throughout the whole season.”