Tigers edge fired-up Reds
Saturday, December 31, 2005
By Scott Brandenburg
One of the most memorable Muskegon vs. Muskegon
Heights basketball games in history was played on Friday night.
There were 3,216 lucky fans who packed the Reeths-Puffer
gymnasium to see the fourth installment of the renewed series
between the neighboring rivals go down to the wire in the final
game of the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Basketball
Just when local basketball enthusiasts were
wondering if the Big Reds would ever challenge the Tigers after
three straight convincing wins for the orange-and-black,
Muskegon reared up and nearly shocked everyone.
The Big Reds controlled the game until the very
end, when Muskegon Heights rallied from a 10-point
fourth-quarter deficit for a thrilling 73-68 win to up their
recent perfect mark over Muskegon to 4-0.
"This was very intense," said Tigers senior
center Edward Sanders, who pumped in 23 points to lead the
comeback. "It was just like a state championship. This will be
good for us to play in games like this to get us ready for the
Muskegon Heights improves to 5-2 and Muskegon
drops to 1-6.
Most felt the Tigers would easily dispatch of the
Big Reds, who have struggled mightily at times this season and
needed a 31-point fourth quarter to beat winless Grand Haven on
The Big Reds showed they are a very capable team,
especially when cross-town bragging rights are on the line.
"I think most people were pointing at their
record and saying it wouldn't be a game but I knew it was going
to be tough," said Heights coach Keith Guy. "You throw the
records out in this game. (Muskegon coach) Bernard Loudermill
does a great job of getting his kids ready to play and they made
it very tough on us today.
"I just thank God He gave us an opportunity to
come back and win the game."
The Big Reds had the Tigers on the ropes for most
of the game.
After Heights took a 7-4 lead starting guard
Timothy Hood and reserves Tommie Tatum and Bobby Miller took
control with their aggressive play.
Hood poured in 23 points and Tatum and Miller
added 15 points apiece for the Big Reds, who forced 23 Tiger
Muskegon sprinted to a 17-10 lead late in the
first quarter it maintained through the third quarter, which
ended with the maroon-and-white up 55-47.
"They're starting to believe in themselves and
each other," said Loudermill. "They played together as a team.
One of the reasons why Muskegon Heights won today is they're an
extremely battle-tested team. We're hoping we can take this loss
and learn from it."
With time running out and bragging rights
slipping away the Tigers turned to ther big guns and they
Seniors Ricky Anderson, David Fox and Sanders
scored 13 of Heights' next 19 points as they rallied to retake
the lead at 66-65 with 2:14 to play.
"I looked at each one of the (three seniors) and
told them 'It's time to step up, you've been here before'," said
Guy. "That's why I pulled them up as sophomores two years ago,
for situations like this now. It was time to get a return on my
It was a back-and-forth next couple minutes but
the Tigers prevailed on free throws.
Muskegon shot 3-for-9 from the line in the fourth
quarter while the Tigers were 4-of-5 in the fourth quarter,
including two from Fox which sealed the game with two seconds
Anderson and Stedman Briggs each totaled 14
points, including all six of Heights' 3-pointers, and Sanders
recorded 14 rebounds and seven blocks to lead the Tigers.
"Muskegon came out hard, harder than us," said
Sanders. "I think we were all trying to rush our shots, I was
rushing my shots, in the hype of the game. At halftime coach
told us to calm down, play defense and box out.
"In the end Ricky caught fire, Stedman caught
fire and I was just trying to get rebound after rebound until we
got the win. We never lost faith."
Reeths-Puffer 42, Grand Haven 38 --
could have dwelled on Thursday night's embarrassing 40-point
loss to Muskegon Heights in the opening round of the Muskegon
Area Sports Hall of Fame Basketball Classic.
Instead, the Rockets brushed aside any possible
ill affects Friday with a 42-38 win over Grand Haven in the
The hosts came out hot and never trailed in the
contest against the Bucs, who are still searching for their
first win of the season.
"I didn't doubt for a second these kids would
bounce back and play hard," said Reeths-Puffer coach Tim
Mitchelson after his team improved to 2-4. "I told them in the
shootaround that you have to get back up after getting pounded
down, and they showed a lot of character in coming back."
Several Rockets turned in key performances to
help their team get back on the winning track.
Reeths-Puffer's biggest quarter proved to be the
second quarter, when reserve Ryan Hanson came in and
demonstrated a smooth shooting stroke.
Hanson made all four of his field goal attempts,
including two 3-pointers, and scored all 10 of his points in the
last four minutes of the second stanza to help the Rockets to a
25-16 halftime lead.
"Ryan's a very good shooter," said Mitchelson.
"As soon as he gets some defensive things figured out he's going
to be a very good player for us. He hit some clutch shots to
give us the spread we needed."
The Rockets held on thanks in part to the tough
inside defense of 6-4 junior Chris Fiebelkorn and 11 points from
senior guard Sean Wright.
Grand Haven (0-5) could not find its shooting
touch all game, but still managed to pull within 40-37 with 33
seconds to left.
D.J. Miller and Ricky Fleming were the only
consistent offensive performers for the Bucs with 11 and 10
"We really got off to a poor start," said Bucs
coach Steve Hewitt. "We didn't look very enthusiastic about
playing. They did a good job of packing it in on defense, and we
weren't patient enough to take advantage of it."
Puffer shot 39 percent from the floor to Haven's
post first win; Heights rolls past R-P
Friday, December 30, 2005
By Scott Brandenburg
Grand Haven and Muskegon were both hoping to use the Muskegon
Area Sports Hall of Fame's Fourth Annual Basketball Classic
as a springboard to the rest of the season.
Neither team came into their matchup Thursday at Reeths-Puffer
High School with a win. For three quarters, it looked like the
Bucs would be the team to emerge with that elusive first
the Big Reds ended up stealing the show.
Down 38-27 entering the fourth quarter and struggling
offensively, Muskegon suddenly found its rhythm to hit for 31
points and top the Bucs 58-48.
Instead of being 0-6 and still searching for answers, the Big
Reds are 1-5 and sensing a turnaround.
They hope it continues tonight against Muskegon Heights, which
spanked Reeths-Puffer 66-17 in Thursday's other game. Tickets
for that much-awaited game and the Grand Haven-Reeths-Puffer
contest to open the night will go on sale at 5 p.m. at the
Reeths-Puffer ticket booth.
"There are more games to focus on, but it feels good to get that
monkey off our back," said sophomore guard Tovales Allaway, who
struck for 12 of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter.
"It was a long time waiting for this win. This should get us
Grand Haven, meanwhile, finds itself 0-4 after coming within
eight disastrous minutes of notching win No. 1.
Having that snatched away by a 31-10 fourth-quarter deficit
definitely left a bad taste for the Bucs.
"Yeah, I think the way we lost makes this one hurt even more
than the rest of them," said Haven forward D.J. Miller. "It was
ours. It's tough to lose it the way we did at the end. We
stopped defending, we let them get into their press and we
turned the ball over."
The Bucs committed 30 turnovers, with eight coming in the final
quarter when the Big Reds made them pay.
Allaway and senior guard led Muskegon's comeback,
combining for 24 points in the quarter and leading the
full-court pressure which eventually did in the Bucs.
looked like a completely different team in the final
"I believe they were really thinking too much out
there," said Muskegon coach Bernard Loudermill. "They
were just dribbling twice and then looking to pass the
ball. I told them you can still be aggressive and shoot
and still be a team player and they were able to cut
loose in the fourth quarter."
Every time Allaway got the ball, he was able to
penetrate and either make a basket, shooting 5-of-6 from
the field, or get to the line, where he made 4-of-5 free
throws in the final quarter.
"I didn't feel like the guy that was guarding me could
hold me," said Allaway. "He was a good player, but he
was sagging down a little and I decided to take
advantage of it."
caught the Bucs midway through the fourth quarter, then
fell behind again before finally grabbing the lead for
good with 2:23 to play.
The Big Reds, who got 13 points from Hood and 10 points
from senior Tommie Tatum, scored the last nine points of
Miller scored 12 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting
from the field and the foul line and added eight
rebounds to lead the Bucs. Ricky Fleming tallied 10
points and Jake Pimm recorded six rebounds for Haven,
which shot 50 percent from the floor.
"I think the guys panicked a little bit when they lost
that double-digit lead and the wheels fell off," said
Bucs' coach Steve Hewitt. "It was hard to regain that
edge. We had a chance to extend our lead with some free
throws, but missed. Those are huge when you're trying to
finish a game."
Muskegon Heights 66, Reeths-Puffer 17 -- In Game
2, Muskegon Heights led 10-7 late in the first quarter
before exploding for the easy victory over the Rockets.
The Tigers scored the last four points of the quarter
before rolling to a 24-4 advantage in the second quarter
and a 38-11 halftime lead.
Contributions from the entire Heights lineup led to a
21-0 blanking in the third quarter and a running clock.
"It's nice to be in a game like this once in a while,"
said Muskegon Heights coach Keith Guy, whose squad
improved to 4-2.
"We knew the first five games were going to be
challenging and it's helped us find out where we're at.
I love that we have 13 guys who can give us a lift and I
thought everybody played with a lot of energy tonight."
Eleven Tigers scored, including seven who had six or
more points. Senior center Ed Sanders scored 11 points,
Lou Williams grabbed 10 rebounds and David Fox added
five steals to lead the Tigers, who shot 50 percent from
the field. Reeths-Puffer shot 26 percent and was
"In the first quarter, I thought we were doing a good
job of controlling the tempo and not letting them get
off to the races," said R-P coach Tim Mitchelson. "What
happened is they grabbed 19 offensive rebounds and got
over 30 points off second shots. You're not going to
hang with a team like Heights doing that."
All about teams, Tatum
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
By Tom Kendra
CHRONICLE ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
Heights is now known across the state as a basketball powerhouse.
wasn't always the case.
the basketball state championships started piling up in the 1950s, Heights
was a high school football juggernaut -- particularly in the mid-1940s, when
the Tigers went undefeated three years in a row and won mythical state
championships in 1945, 1946 and 1947.
Distinguished Service Award winner, presented to an individual who made an
outstanding contribution to sports in the area but not as an athlete, will
be announced in February. A male and female Student-Athlete of the Year will
be named in May.
sports hall was formed in 1986 to recognize the outstanding accomplishments
of Muskegon-area sports figures. The hall is located on the concourse of the
L.C. Walker Arena.
currently includes 85 members, five teams, 15 Distinguished Service Award
winners and 20 Student-Athlete award winners.
started honoring the area's top high school student athletes in 1996 and
bridged the gap to the younger generation the past three years by hosting
the Hall of Fame Classic high school basketball tournament during Christmas
thumbnail sketch of the Class of 2006 inductees.
came from a family of basketball players, but he proved to be the best and
most successful of all.
made his mark at Muskegon High School in the late 1960s at the height of the
Vietnam War, amazing fans with his combination of speed, ball-handling,
jumping and amazing long-range shooting.
size, I've never seen an athlete who is so proficient in so many phases of
the game," said then-Muskegon coach Mike Murphy after Tatum earned Class A
all-state honors in 1969.
6-1 guard, averaged 22.4 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals
per game in his senior year to earn first team all-state honors. He was
fourth team all-state as a sophomore and second team all-state as a junior.
most recognizable figures off those great Heights teams -- star running back
Everett "Sonny" Grandelius and innovative and legendary coach Oscar "Okie"
Johnson -- were two of the original seven inductees into the Muskegon Area
Sports Hall of Fame back in 1987.
then, fellow team members Tom Johnson, Frank Howell, John Nedeau and James
Dodson (who served Heights for years as an unpaid trainer and equipment
manager) also haven been enshrined into the local sports hall.
MASHF will enshrine the entire Heights teams from 1945, 1946 and 1947 at the
20th induction ceremony on June 3 at the Holiday Inn-Muskegon Harbor in
was good at everything in those days, but they were known by most people as
a football power," said Hall of Fame President Gene Young, who heads up a
14-member board of directors.
had some great teams in the area, but I don't know if the three-year stretch
that those Heights teams had has ever been matched."
Tatum, a basketball star at Muskegon High School in the late 1960s who was
an All-American at Southern Colorado, will join the three great Heights
teams in the MASHF's "Class of 2006."
one of the greatest high school basketball players ever around here," said
Young. "But then he went on to be the first player inducted into the
Southern Colorado hall of fame, and that's saying something."
graduated as the Big Reds' all-time leading scorer with 1,250 points and a
career average of 22.7 points per game.
heavily recruited and eventually decided to get away from home a little bit
and play his college basketball at the University of Southern Colorado in
He was a
four-year starter for the Indians and, despite playing in an era before the
3-point shot, is still the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,143
points. He is also the sixth-leading rebounder in school history with 805.
Southern Colorado, he made all-conference all four years and was a two-time
small college All-American.
one of the first inductees into the Southern Colorado Basketball Hall of
Fame and is considered by many as the finest basketball player in school
Muskegon Heights football teams of 1945, 1946 and 1947
Heights football ruled the area -- and the state -- for an unforgettable
27-game stretch from Sept. 22, 1945 to Nov. 15, 1947.
that magical run, no team, not even the might and hated Muskegon Big Reds,
could match the Tigers' wrecking crew under Okie Johnson.
Tigers of that era were known for defense, especially the 1945 team, which
outscored its nine opponents by a combined score of 189-44 -- allowing an
average of less than five points per game, including four shutouts.
memorable game of the 1945 season, which is still considered the greatest
high school football game in area history, was the Tigers' 7-6 victory over
Muskegon in the season finale in front of an estimated crowd of 13,500 fans.
bruising fullback Ed Petrongelli and backfield mate Paul Hulka, the Tigers
kept the Big Reds on their toes. Jim Howell scored the game's first
touchdown and Dorr Grover booted what proved to be the game-winning point.
won the game with a memorable goal-line stand, as the Tigers' defensive
front of Jim Dotson, Sonny Grandelius, Dick Ghezzi and Gene Hilliard stopped
Muskegon's Howard Peterson on fourth-and-inches near the goal-line to
preserve the victory and the first of three consecutive state titles.
Grandelius, who quarterbacked the 1945 team, moved to fullback in 1946 and
the Tigers kept rolling in front of big crowd at Phillips Field.
team had more close calls, outscoring its opponents 162-68, with the scores
captured on the school's new electric scoreboard. The season was capped by a
7-0 victory over Muskegon in a sea of mud in game nine. The key play of that
game was a pass from Grandelius to Frank Howell, with Howell then scoring
the game's only touchdown.
has it, when Grandelius was a young waterboy for Coach Johnson in the late
1930s, he told the coach that when he made it to varsity that the Tigers
"wouldn't lose a game."
Grandelius and his Tiger teammates completed three years of perfection in
1947, outscoring its nine opponents, 147-54, with many more close calls
along the way. Howell was the breakaway specialist for Johnson's team that
season ended with a 6-0 victory over the rival Big Reds.
Grandelius (Michigan State) and Howell and Tom Johnson (Michigan) both went
on to memorable college careers, as did many of the other linemen and
defensive contributors on the teams -- but none of them would ever again
enjoy the level of perfection of those three magical falls on the gridiron.
teams played long before the state football playoffs began, so the Tigers
had to settle for back-to-back-to-back "mythical" state championships, as
voted on by sportswriters from around the state.
members from those Heights' team are now in their mid- to late-70s, but
early indications are that a good number of them are expected to attend the
induction banquet, Young said.
said the Hall of Fame board is still trying to make contact with the
following team members: John Campbell, Arthur Craymer, William Hotham, Bert
Johnson, Joe Koteles, Robert Taylor and Wilmer Williams.
is also trying to reach the following reserves: Harold Hansen, Eugene
Fisher, Olis Hunter, William McGahee, Robert Mitchell, Rudolph Shepherd,
Jack Venne, Carl Wright and Charles Zorn.
addition, the hall hopes to reach family members of the following deceased
team members: Shelly Baldwin, Don Bartels, John Bollenbach, William Caughey,
William Cook, James Dotson, Dorr Grover, Paul Hulka, Bob Johnson, Tom
Johnson, George Jurkas, Ronald Kinsman, Richard Kreifeldt, Douglas Premo,
Bill Wansten, Clayton Borgman, Herman Ivory, John Dudzik, Robert Blackmer
and Kenneth Benson.
with contact information on those team members is encouraged to contact Ron
Pesch by phone at 759-7253; by mail at 1317 Lakeshore Drive, Muskegon,
49441; or by e-mail at