GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With a minute to go in regulation, it truly felt like the Muskegon Big Reds were going to find a way to complete a huge comeback in their Division 1 state semifinal against Southfield A&T, but they fell four points short in the end, losing 54-50.
For most of the first half, the game looked like a blowout in favor of the Warriors, who opened on a 9-0 run, then continued to grow that lead to 25-5.
Led by Miss Basketball finalist Alyza Winston, the Big Reds managed to chip away at the Warriors' lead, which was 29-13 at the half.
The Big Reds came out of halftime with a renewed sense of purpose. Muskegon's pressure defense created several Southfield turnovers, allowing the Big Reds to cut into the Warriors lead.
Winston, who committed to play collegiately at Michigan State after she graduates this spring, led the Big Reds second half surge. She finished with a game-high 25 points, which included going 7-19 from the floor and making 11-14 free throws.
De'shonna Day tossed in 13 points for Muskegon. Day hit a critical 3-pointer late that cut the Southfield A&T lead to just 2, causing the Big Reds bench and their fans to erupt and believe the comeback was possible.
The Warriors held on in the end. They made a pair of late free throws to seal the win and punch their ticket to the Division 1 state championship game Saturday afternoon.
The most successful season in Big Reds history has come to an end one game shy of the team's ultimate goal of winning a state championship.
Muskegon finishes its season with a 21-5 record.
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