KENT CITY — North Muskegon’s boys basketball team won 19 games this season.
The Norsemen put themselves in position for victory No. 20, but they came up just short in a hard-fought Division 3 regional semifinal Monday night.
North Muskegon fell to Pewamo-Westphalia, 49-46, in a game at Kent City High School that was tight from start to finish.
“It was well played by both teams and we have nothing to hang our heads about, but with any close game, there were lots of little things that could have turned the tide,” North Muskegon coach Chuck Rypstra said.
“We ended the season at 19-5 and we won our third district in a row. Our senior class can be real proud of their accomplishments on the basketball court over these last few years.”
Pewamo-Westphalia (18-6) advances to Wednesday’s 7 p.m. regional final against Grandville Calvin Christian (24-1), which rolled past Blanchard Montabella in the night’s first game, 80-46.
In the nightcap, North Muskegon opened the game with a 5-0 run. P-W made the next basket and from there, neither team led by more than three points.
With 2 minutes remaining, North Muskegon took a 44-42 lead on a basket by Jaxon Lisinski. P-W answered on Jamison Eklund’s three-point play to claim a 45-44 lead and never trailed again, although the Norsemen weren’t finished.
On the ensuing possession, North Muskegon stepped out of bounds. The Norsemen fouled to put the Pirates at the line for a one-and-one. P-W missed. North Muskegon called timeout and got a good look at the basket, but missed.
P-W rebounded and North Muskegon fouled again. The Pirates made both free throws for a 47-44 lead, then the Norsemen got a bucket to pull within a point again.
With 3.6 seconds remaining, North Muskegon had to go for a steal. P-W sent a player deep and made a perfect pass. The Norsemen chased and fell into the player, called for an intentional foul.
“We definitely were not trying to foul, but it just happened and they made one of two, so we were down three with 2.2 (seconds) left and had to try and steal the inbound,” Rypstra said. “They threw it up to their big guy and we just missed tipping it away. The time ran out and we ended up on the short end.”
Lisinski, a junior, led North Muskegon with 19 points. Senior Troy McManus had seven points and 10 rebounds for the Norsemen, while senior Denny Belmonte scored six points.
Adam Dugener also had six points for the Norse, while Lamarkis Graham had five points and three assists.
Jamison Eklund led all scorers with 29 points, while Grady Eklund scored 11 as the brothers combined for 40 of their team’s 49.
Photos by Laura Moat for CatchMark
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