32 minutes of regulation was not enough to crown a champion in Boys Class A Regional matchup from Grandville on Wednesday night. Two heavy weights would battle back and forth as the Muskegon Big Red’s and the West Ottawa Panthers took center stage in front of a near sell out crowd.

The opening tip was controlled by West Ottawa. The Panthers would score the first basket of the night, but then not lead in this one until the overtime session. The low scoring affair boasted some incredible defense.

The score after the first quarter was just 5-5. Muskegon would take a 4 point lead into the locker room 16-12. The score looked like a mistake, afterall, these two scored 55 and 56 on Monday night.

The third quarter saw both squads score 10 points, bringing the score headed into the final 8 minutes to a mere 26-22.

The fourth quarter would come to an end with Muskegon having the ball with the clock running down and the score tied at 34. A last second drive to the rack by Jr Eonte Tornes, the games high point man (22), would prove unsuccessful and the game was headed to an additional 4 minute frame.

The OT would see Muskegon Sr Willy Shanks Jr. and West Ottawa’s Sr. Drew Pederson both pick up foul number 5. With the most versitile player on his roster on the bench, Coach Keith Guy would have to rely on Jr. Eonte Tornes to do even more heavy lifting. Likewise Coach Steve Windemuller, now without the services of his best defender, would need Sr. Xavier Wade and Sr. Tyler Bosma to try to shut down the potent Muskegon offense. Both coaches got what they were looking for, but the game came down to free throws, and the Panthers wouldn’t miss in the extra frame. Bosma made 8 from the stripe in OT and Wade added a pair, but when the Panthers needed it most, it was Jr. Jason Fairfield making both of his 15′ set shots that fueled the Panthers final drive to the victory. The Panthers scoring was limited to the charity stripe where they went 12 of 12. The Big Red’s could only muster 4 made free throws to accompany a pair of field goals falling short in the final 4 minutes by 4 (46-42). 

The Big Red’s will only graduate 4 from this squad, so be prepared for Coach Guy’s team to be back in post season play a year from now. The Big Red’s were led tonight by Jr. Eonte Tornes with 22pts, Jr. DeAndre Carter Jr. added 6, Sr. Willy Shanks Jr., Soph. Billie Roberts, and Sr. Edriese Jenkins Jr. each chipped in 4, while Sr. Clinton Jefferson Jr. had 2.

The Panthers were led by Sr. Tyler Bosma with 19pts, Sr. Xavier Wade added 9, Sr. Drew Pederson had 8, Sr. Nick Wehrmeyer had 5, Sr. Liam Cavanaugh added 3 while Jr. Jason Fairfield had 2.

The Core Power Performance Player of the Game award goes to Sr. Drew Pederson. He played some incredible defense against one of the most versitle ballers in the West Michiagn area. Holding Willy Shanks Jr. to just 4 points is no easy task. I spoke to Drew after the game, and when asked, he said, “It was a lot of work, trying to slow down Willy. He is so good at so many things, it’s tough to try to take them all away. I just worked hard at limiting the amount of touches and when he did get the ball, I tried to limit his options.”

Coach Steve Windemuller and his Panther team(22-2) will move on to the Boys State Quarter Finals on Tuesday March 20th. The game will be played at Lansing Eastern (where Erving Johnson played) agianst

Muskegon’s Willy Shanks Jr. battles West Ottawa’s Tyler Bosma for the opening tip in the Regional finals

(22-3). E. Lansing defeated Okemos 50-42 in Battle Creek tonight. Tip off is scheduled for 7 pm. Our broadcast coverage will begin at approx 6:45.