MUSKEGON — As it has done so many times this season, the Muskegon Big Reds’ stifling defense paved the way to another victory.
The Big Reds forced 27 turnovers Friday night in a 69-34 O-K Green conference win over Reeths-Puffer to remain unbeaten on the season.
“Our defense is our calling card. Our guys buy into that,” said Muskegon Coach Keith Guy. “We pride ourselves on holding teams under their average and making them struggle to score. I’m thankful I’ve got 12 guys that buy into philosophy.”
Muskegon’s offense was good Friday night, too, with three players scoring in double figures and 11 three-point attempts hitting the mark.
Anthony Sydnor III provided a spark for Muskegon after halftime to help his team pull away. The senior scored 14 points in the third quarter, including a pair of threes and a 4-of-5 performance at the foul line.
“I started being more aggressive,” Sydnor said. “Once I saw a few shots go in, I just got rolling.”
For Reeths-Puffer, which is now 7-7 on the season and 4-4 in the O-K Green, it was a struggle offensively all night long. Rockets head coach Nate Aardema credited Muskegon for making it difficult for his team to run its offensive sets.
“We’ve got to be able to just play our game,” Aardema said. “We’ve got to be able to, regardless of the opponent, play the way we want to play. We’re still working on getting there and tonight we certainly didn’t.”
With Muskegon sitting at 13-0, including 8-0 in the O-K Green, the Big Reds are thinking big.
“We think we can go all the way,” Sydnor said, referring to a possible state championship. “That’s what we talk about every day in practice. But we’re just going to keep taking it one game at a time.”
“I think the sky’s the limit for this team,” Coach Guy said. “We’re 13-0 and we’ve played a really good schedule. Any time you win and you’re around a bunch of good kids who really love to be in the gym and be around each other and to hold each other accountable, that makes it more special.”
Muskegon led 15-8 after one quarter, ending the frame with a pair of Jordan Briggs three-pointers. The Big Reds extended the lead to 28-15 at halftime.
Muskegon made seven threes in the first half.
The Big Reds extended their lead to 52-26 after three quarters then outscored Reeths-Puffer 17-8 in the fourth.
Sydnor and Briggs led Muskegon with 18 points each. David Day was also in double-figures with 14 points, including four threes.
Jaxson Whitaker led Reeths-Puffer with 13 points, followed by Tyviea Williams with seven. Travis Ambrose scored six for the Rockets.
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