- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) - In the spirit of the event, high school boys basketball teams from Muskegon Heights and Kalamazoo exhibited true sportsmanship during their “unity game,” which was held to help people in both cities deal with recent shootings.

On Wednesday night, before the Muskegon Heights High School and Kalamazoo Lakeside Charter Academy teams came together on the basketball court to move past the violence in front of a crowd of more than 2,100 people, a moment of silence was held for the victims of the most recent shooting in Kalamazoo.

On Feb. 20, a series of random shootings killed six people and wounded two others outside a restaurant and at a car dealership in the Kalamazoo area.

On Feb. 9, two Muskegon Heights students were among three people wounded in a shooting after a basketball game at the high school. A Grand Rapids man was wounded by a sheriff’s deputy and charged in the shootings.

Shelby High School was scheduled to play in the game on Wednesday, but it decided not to let its team travel to Muskegon Heights due to safety concerns after the Feb. 9 shooting outside the school, the Muskegon Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1Ts2aGo ) reported. Kalamazoo Lakeside stepped in to serve as a replacement opponent for Muskegon Height’s last home game of the season, otherwise the team would’ve had a senior night at John E. Sydnor Gymnasium.

“I just feel blessed,” Muskegon Heights head coach Dalrecus Stewart said. “There’s no way I could have envisioned anything remotely close to this. Just to see the level of love and support that has come in.”

During the third quarter, Muskegon Heights guard Anthony Jones fell to the ground after he was fouled while driving to the basket, but he was immediately lifted to his feet by Kalamazoo Lakeside’s Marquis Barrino, who offered a pat on the back and an apology.

Muskegon Heights went on to beat Kalamazoo Lakeside Charter 76-27.

“I appreciate everyone coming out,” said Muskegon Heights senior Anthony Gordon. “I feel like we’ve been doing good keeping the community together. Basketball can sometimes hold a lot of stuff together.”

After the game, the teams shared a short prayer at center court and posed for a group photo.

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Information from: The Muskegon Chronicle, http://www.mlive.com/muskegon

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