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Munising Mustangs survive scoring struggles to beat Westwood Patriots, 38-33 in overtime

MUNISING — Defense wins championships, and that’s what the Munising varsity boys basketball team will need if it wants to challenge Negaunee in Friday night’s MHSAA Division 3 district tournament championship game.

The Mustangs put out a strong defensive showing in Wednesday’s semifinal against Westwood, topping the Patriots 38-33 in overtime to advance.

Both Negaunee and Munising sit with records of 20-2, setting up a classic showdown at Lakeview Memorial Gym at 7 p.m. Friday.

“It’s going to be another defensive battle,” Mustangs head coach Terry Kienitz said. “We’re hoping we can use our length and athleticism to move up and down the floor.”

On Wednesday, scoring was hard to come by in the first half, with Westwood taking a 4-3 lead after one quarter. The Mustangs made up that point in another low-scoring second quarter for an 11-11 deadlock at halftime.

Westwood outscored Munising 12-6 in the third to take a 23-17 lead into the final eight minutes.

The script flipped in the fourth, however, with the Mustangs doing the exact same thing the Patriots did in the third, outscoring the latter 12-6 to draw things even yet again at 29-29 after regulation.

Munising senior Jason Cornish sent the game into overtime, hitting a game-tying triple with five seconds left.

The Mustangs limited Westwood to four points in the extra session while scoring nine of its own.

Cornish led the Mustangs with 11 points while freshman Kane Nebel added nine. Seniors Josh Huotari and Austin Killips chipped in seven points apiece.

Westwood’s season comes to an end at 10-11. The Patriots were led offensively by senior Ty Alderton with 14 points. Fellow senior Taylor Dellangelo chipped in nine.

Westwood shot 11 of 23 at the free throw line to Munising’s 13 of 21.

Munising and Negaunee each compete for their second consecutive district championship on Friday.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Spitza. Email him at sports@miningjournal.net.