Regional basketball preview

Drew Pedersen

After an exciting district week, regionals will now take place starting March 13 and ending on March 15. Hosted by Grand Haven, Regional 1 is composed of West Ottawa, Forest Hills Northern, Muskegon, and Grand Rapids Christian. On Monday, March 13, West Ottawa will take on Forest Hills Northern at 5:00 and Muskegon will take on Grand Rapids Christian at 7:00. The winners will then face each other on Wednesday at 7:00. All games will take place at Grand Haven High School. Below is a look at each team in the region.

West Ottawa: Now 23-1, West Ottawa is on a 19 game winning streak. After winning the OK Red conference for the second year in a row, earning West Ottawa’s first ever district championship, and setting the record for most number of wins in a season, West Ottawa hopes to carry this momentum into the regional tournament. The Panthers only loss came to Grand Rapids Christian earlier in the season by eight points. Outside of the one loss, the Panthers have dominated their competition, beating their opponents by an average of over 20 points. Led by Sr. Jake Van Tubbergen, who led the Panthers with 23 points in their district title win over Wyoming, the Panthers hope to use their length and strong offense to beat Forest Hills Northern Monday night.  

Forest Hills Northern: Finishing the regular season at 13-7, the Huskies played well in their district tournament to improve to 16-7 on the season. After losing twice in the regular season to Forest Hills Central, the Huskies edged Central by one in the district semifinals. In the district title game, the Huskies beat Northview by 11 to take home the district championship. This week, the Huskies will be put to the test as they will face a talented West Ottawa team on Monday. Look for Sr. Tyler Black to lead the Huskies on Monday.  

Muskegon: One of a few left without a loss, Muskegon hopes to keep their undefeated season alive. Muskegon is a balanced team led by Sr. Markell Jackson, Sr. Anthony Bethea, Sr. Jermayne Goliday, and Sr. Sam Cornett. Muskegon is hoping to repeat last year where they knocked off Grand Rapids Christian in the regional semifinals. Muskegon, though, will have their hands full.  After beating Grand Haven by 27 points in the district title game, Muskegon looks to win a tough one against Grand Rapids Christian on Monday.

Grand Rapids Christian: Also undefeated, Grand Rapids Christian hopes to keep their season alive this week in regionals. After ending the season with a tough Kalamazoo Central win in overtime, Grand Rapids Christian cruised through the district tournament beating East Kentwood by 19 points in the district title game. Led by two division one players in Sr. Xavier Tillman (Michigan State) and Sr. James Beck (Oakland), the Eagles are tough to beat. So far, the Eagles have played extremely well together and are expecting to make a long run this year but will have to get through some talented teams to keep that dream alive. After a disappointing loss last year to Muskegon, Christian will look to prove their dominance in an exciting game Monday.
Those planning to attend the games should know that ticket sales will differ from previous years, with the gym cleared between games. Tickets for the second game will go on sale during halftime of the first game.