Kent City Loses in Double OT to Muskegon High School
It was a cold and blustery night in Muskegon on Tuesday as the Kent City Eagles traveled to face off against the Muskegon High School Big Reds in their second annual matchup.
A year ago the Eagles lost a close one in regulation and hoped to change that result as they made their way back west to the lakeshore in 2020.
The cold temperatures were not relegated to the outdoors, however, as each team started the game unable to make shots that commonly fall for both squads.
The first half showed one thing very clearly, while the Eagles seldom need to call on Kenzie Bowers to be elite through the bulk of their schedule, they needed her to be special against Muskegon to have a chance and she was better than special. She was an absolute force.
While Kent City’s first half shooting struggled, Bowers was able to drive to the basket against any Muskegon defender tasked with guarding her and generated other buckets on steals. There was simply no answer for her ball handling and offensive prowess.
Despite a slow shooting start, both teams found ways to get points on the board and ended the half just a point apart with Kent City taking the lead into the break.
The second half started with a flurry of buckets from both teams as shots started falling and blistering Muskegon defensive pressure, coupled with a handful of long rebounds, got the Big Reds into the fast break.
While the fast break proved to be the best way for Muskegon to score against the stout Eagle defense on Tuesday, Kent City’s bread and butter, the 3-point shot, also started clicking with Junior stars Jenna Harrison and Kenzie Bowers leading the way.
Kent City trailed much of the second half and at times looked to be falling out of striking distance, but each time the score started to stretch and momentum looked to be shifting towards insurmountable, the Eagles clawed their way back.
As the final minutes of regulation waned, the Eagles managed to hit clutch 3-point shots, play lockdown defense and tie the game just as time ran out with the score notched at 49-49.
Overtime’s 4 minute period continued with the same intensity that ended regulation and the Eagles once again began to look overmatched by the speed, length and depth of the Big Red attack. The size difference was not relegated to the girls on the court, either, as Muskegon High School’s enrollment outpaces Kent City by almost 3:1.
Both teams struggled to pull away from the other and ended the first overtime tied again.
The second overtime started off poorly for the Eagles as the Big Reds went on a quick 7-2 run and it looked as if it the magic was finally hitting midnight before another big shot by Bowers made it a one possession game again. The Big Reds narrowly escaped heading to a third over time against the Eagles as several attempts at tying things up were just off the mark. In the end, the Big Reds managed to survive and give the Muskegon home crowd a 60-57 win.
Kent City is back in action on Friday at home against Hesperia High School.
Player of the Game:
Kenzie Bowers finished with 26 points on a night in which she seemed so unstoppable that even that total seemed to undersell her dominance for the Eagles. She also added 15 rebounds, 8 steals, 6 assists and 6 blocks to round out an astounding performance.