MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Shelby and Muskegon Heights high school boys basketball teams will square off after all.
The two teams were originally scheduled to meet on the court in Muskegon Heights on March 2. But Shelby school officials decided not to play because of security concerns. That was after four people were shot outside Muskegon Heights High School after a basketball game against Grand Rapid Ottawa Hills on Feb. 9. Everyone shot, one of whom was the suspect who was shot by a sheriff’s deputy, survived.
But now, because both Muskegon Heights and Shelby won their district titles, they’ll meet Monday night in a Class C regional semifinal.
Sunday, a day before the game, the Muskegon Heights varsity basketball team hit it hard on the court in practice. The boys are ready to bring the heat, no matter who they face on game day.
“We plan on running through everybody we play,” senior captain Anthony Gordon said. “It’s just me and a couple of my friends, family members on the same team trying to chase one goal and that’s to win the state championship.”
For Gordon and his teammates, Monday night’s regional against Shelby isn’t any different than any other matchup.
Muskegon Heights head coach Dalrecus Stewart said no one’s going to war and there’s no bad blood between the two teams and schools.
“It’s nothing but respect between our programs and our teams, so you know we understand some of those things were out of our hands, but it hasn’t damaged any relationship at all,” Stewart said.
He says it’s just athletes playing a game, hungry for a state championship.
Sunday, the athletic director at Shelby echoed coach Stewart’s sentiment.
“We’ve played them on a regular schedule for quite a few years and it’s always been a good matchup and we’re looking forward to another opportunity to be able to play them in a regional,” AD Chuck Persenaire said.
“You can guarantee that the Tigers are going to win. Between the Shelby Tigers and the Muskegon Heights Tigers, you’re going to get a win from the Tigers,” he added jokingly.
The regional semifinal game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. at NorthPointe Christian in Grand Rapids.