In Play with Tom Markowski

Muskegon and Davis come to River Rouge, leave with a win with work to do before next week's tournament

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

Muskegon and Davis come to River Rouge, leave with a win with work to do before next week's tournament

River Rouge – The unofficial end to the boys basketball regular season featured a myriad of storylines in the city that Ford Motor Company, Lofton Green and basketball made famous.

Muskegon (19-1) defeated River Rouge (15-5) 68-50 but the final score was an afterthought to what took place on and off the court at River Rouge on Thursday.

Muskegon, the defending Class A champions, arrived with the leading candidate for this season’s Mr. Basketball Award, Deyonta Davis, in tow. Davis’ future coach, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, was seated in one corner of the gym with a handful of other college coaches, including Eastern Michigan’s Rob Murphy, and other dignitaries like Derrick Coleman, the former Detroit Northern, Syracuse and NBA star.

Muskegon coach Keith Guy has brought many of his teams to River Rouge in the past but this was the first time with the Big Reds. Guy had made the trek before when he coached Muskegon Heights.

The Big Reds controlled play in the first half and the 6-9 Davis ended it with an alley-oop dunk off of a fine pass from fellow senior Joeviair “Hip Hop” Kennedy.

The game got a little ragged in the third quarter. Muskegon had just three turnovers in the first half then had five in the third. Muskegon displayed a lack of discipline for much of the second half and with 4:50 left in the third Guy, displeased with Davis’ play, pulled his star center. Davis didn’t return until there was 2:13 left in the quarter.

“One thing about Davis,” Guy said. “I’m harder on him than I am on anyone else. To me he’s just Deyonta Davis. He gets it. He understands.”

Davis said Guy took him out “so I could keep my composure. I needed to gather myself,” he said. “That’s all it was.”

With 1:26 remaining a two-shot foul was called on River Rouge sending Davis to the line. Leading up to this call both Guy and River Rouge coach Lamonta Stone had differences of opinion with some of the calls the three-man officiating crew made. One official called both coaches together in what appeared to be an attempt to calm the situation. Instead both coaches began arguing with one another and at one point Guy and Stone got face-to-face. There was no physical contact and soon the coaches went back to their respective benches.

But the official who called the coaches together left the court and did not return. The game went on with just two.

“Me and Lamonta are good friends,” Guy said. “There’s nothing but love between us.”

Stone agreed and said he was shocked the official, without giving an explanation to either him or Guy, left.

“Me and Keith are competitive guys,” Stone said. “He’s working the refs. He’s coaching his team the best he knows how. I get that. But as a coach on my home court, I have to counter that. I can’t let the visiting head coach control the game.”

Strange indeed, but the game went on and both coaches got what they wanted. Guy and Stone wanted a competitive game to ready their trams for the tournament. Both teams are expected to win their respective districts (River Rouge in Class B) and then get challenged in the regionals.

Stone’s son, Lamonta, Jr., had 21 points and Jalen Gibson had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Davis had 20 points, including seven dunks, 14 rebounds and eight blocks for Muskegon. Kennedy haf 14 of his 17 points in the first half.

“There are different grades to the test,” Guy said. “We passed the test. But there are things we can work on. It was an 18-point win but I give us a C.”

That grade won’t be good enough in the tournament and Guy knows it.