Prep Boys Basketball State Finals Recap

Associated Press • Mar 26, 2018 at 1:27 AM

The prep boys basketball season came to close this weekend in East Lansing with four teams taking home state championship trophies. Here is a recap of each game from Class A to D.

Class A: Foster Loyer nets 40, Clarkston dominates Holland West Ottawa

Foster Loyer made a 3-pointer from the left corner 15 seconds into the Class A state championship game Saturday at the Breslin Center and didn't stop, helping Clarkston repeat as champions with a dominating 81-38 victory over Holland West Ottawa.

Loyer left the Breslin court the same way he started, knocking down a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:42 remaining for a 76-33 lead.

Loyer, who has signed with Michigan State, became the eighth player in state championship game history to score 40 or more points. He finished with 40, making 14-of-19 shots from the field, including 6-of-11 3-pointers and 6-of-7 free throws on his future home floor. Oh, and he dished out seven assists, too.

Clarkston (26-1) led 19-6 after the first quarter as Loyer made 5-of-6 shots.

Loyer, winner of the Michigan Mr. Basketball award, helped extend the lead to 49-20 at halftime with Loyer outscoring West Ottawa by himself, 29-20. He made 10-of-14 shots by the intermission, connecting on 4-of-8 3-pointers.

Clarkston shot a sizzling 59.2 percent, making 13-of-22 from long range with senior guard C.J. Robinson contributing 18 points (4-of-7 3-pointers). Wisconsin-bound 6-foot-9 center Taylor Currie had a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), even connecting on a 3-pointer with 5:40 left to open a 71-28 cushion.

Xavier Wade scored 13 for West Ottawa (25-3).

Class B: 'Scooby' Johnson's clutch 3 wins it for Benton Harbor

Carlos "Scooby" Johnson of Benton Harbor wanted to steal the spotlight away from Michigan State-bound Marcus Bingham of Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the Class B state championship game Saturday night at the Breslin Center with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo looking on.

And, Johnson — a 6-foot-6 sophomore who has an offer from Oklahoma — did just that, knocking down a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 12.2 seconds left for the difference in Benton Harbor's wild 65-64 overtime win.

"He's been doing that all year for us, I was so confident that was going down," said Benton Harbor 6-4 senior Shawn Hopkins, who was a hero in his own right after making an inside shot as time expired to force overtime.

Johnson finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, making 10-of-20 shots from the field and 3-of-7 3-pointers with his last one earning Benton Harbor its first state championship since consecutive Class A state titles in 1964-65.

Hopkins finished with nine points and 11 rebounds; TJ Jones, 10 points, Devan Nichols, nine points and five rebounds and Elijah Baxter, seven points and six assists.

"All day I've been thinking about this W," Johnson said. "It had been a wild up-and-down game, runs, fouls, a whole lot of fouls and it came down to who had the most heart and the best shot and the shot was on me and I was confident in that shot."

Johnson showed he would be a factor from the opening tip, scoring his team's first four points and blocking a shot by 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior Jacob Polakovich to set the tone.

Sure, it was the 6-11 Bingham (21 points, 13 rebounds, 8-of-16 shooting) who thousands of fans had their eyes on in the title bout, but it was Johnson who was among three Benton Harbor players who each made a 3-pointer during a pivotal stretch in the third quarter to open up a 45-38 lead.

First, Jones made a 3-pointer from the left corner for a 39-35 cushion, then Nichols made a long-range shot from the right corner for a 42-36 lead and Johnson's 3-pointer came from the left corner to end the 9-3 run.

Some fans entering the game wondered if Bingham would be able to play, thinking he had two technical fouls called on him in GRCC's semifinal win over New Haven Friday night. The first call, when he was whistled for swinging an elbow, was called an intentional foul, leaving him able to play in the title game.

Things looked gloomy for Benton Harbor after Darrell Belcher (21 points, nine rebounds) made a 3-pointer from the right corner off an inbound pass for a 54-51 lead with 40 seconds left in regulation.

After Johnson misfired from 3-point range, Baxter made both ends of a 1-and-1 to pull within 54-53. GRCC point guard Austin Braun was fouled, but cashed in on just one free throw.

It was Baxter who went on the attack and found Hopkins underneath for a layup as time expired to force the four-minute extra session.

Bingham then made a 3-pointer from the right corner to give GRCC a 60-57 lead, only to have Johnson answer with an 18-footer to cut the deficit to 60-59.

Again, Benton Harbor had to fight back after Belcher, who entered the game shooting 24 percent from deep range, made his third 3-pointer in a six-minute stretch to open up a 63-59 lead.

And, fight back Benton Harbor did when Nichols scored off a driving layup to get within 63-61. Then, after Nichols made just 1-of-3 free throws to cut the deficit to 63-62 — after getting fouled on a 3-pointer — Belcher made just 1-of-2 from the line, setting the scene for Johnson's heroics and a wild celebration to follow seconds later.

Braun had trouble with Benton Harbor's quick guards after scoring a career-high 31 in a semifinal win over River Rouge Friday. He finished with four points and two assists, going 0-for-7 from the floor.

Class C: Pierre Mitchell gets hot, Detroit Edison prevails

Detroit Edison coach Brandon Neely wanted his team to become relevant in the city of Detroit.

Well, not only did Edison (16-10) win its first PSL championship this season, it capped off the year by winning its first state championship with a 53-38 victory over Maple City Glen Lake in the Class C title game Saturday at the Breslin Center.

Central Michigan-bound point guard Pierre Mitchell made sure of it.

Mitchell came alive in the final 5 1/2 minutes of the third quarter, scoring 14 of his 17 points to help turn a 25-21 deficit into a 39-31 lead.

Mitchell had just scored three points on 1-of-4 shooting before his impressive five-minute stretch where he made 5-of-7 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 3-pointers and a free throw.

Mitchell caused havoc with his quickness while in the press, helping Edison force six turnovers during the pivotal third quarter, scoring two baskets in transition and the three shots from deep range.

Then, 6-foot-5 senior Gary Solomon got going in the fourth, scoring six of his 16 points, including a layup off a steal in transition, then slamming in a dunk in transition to close a 14-0 run for Edison's largest lead at 47-31 with three minutes left.

Maple City Glen Lake (24-3) received a strong effort from junior Xander Okerlund (19 points, seven rebounds) and 6-6 senior Cade Peterson (12 points, 10 rebounds).

Peterson went down with an ankle injury with five minutes left and the game even at 25. He left to get treatment in the locker room. When he re-entered the game to start the fourth quarter his team trailed 39-31.

Deante Johnson, a 6-9 senior, had a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) for Edison and Brian Taylor Jr. scored 10.

Class D:Harlond Beverly, Southfield Christian too much for Buckley

Harlond Beverly was the best player on the floor in the Class D championship game on Saturday, leading Southfield Christian to a 64-54 victory over Buckley at the Breslin Center.

Southfield Christian (23-5) made amends for its double-overtime loss in last year's semifinal to three-time state champion Powers North Central.

It was Southfield Christian's first state title since it won three straight Class D championships from 2012-14.

Beverly, a 6-foot-4 junior guard who has offers from Michigan State, Ohio State and Xavier, came out with tremendous energy in the title game, scoring inside five seconds into the game, then on a dunk off an alley-oop pass from Bryce Washington a minute later. Beverly scored his team's first 11 points and continued with strong play at both ends of the floor the rest of the game.

With MSU coach Tom Izzo looking on, Beverly filled the stat sheet in the opening quarter alone, putting up numbers in the opening eight minutes what the majority of players would be proud of having an entire game.

Beverly had 14 points and four steals in the first quarter to help Southfield Christian jump out to a 21-7 lead.

Beverly made a pair of 3-pointers and had a highlight-reel put-back off a Caleb Hunter missed 3-pointer during an early 10-0 run to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 15-4 lead.

"I didn't even know that, I just tried to play basketball and do what I do," Beverly said about scoring his team's first 11 points, when he made 5-of-6 shots. "The rim feels as big as an ocean."

Beverly finished with 23 points, eight steals, seven rebounds, six blocks and four assists.

Southfield Christian seventh-year coach Josh Baker was thrilled with Beverly's start.

"He was great and we made a nice play to get him going and he had a ton of energy," said Baker. "He had eight steals and six blocks and that's a lot of energy and a lot of effort. He can make great plays in transition and give us some easy ones. We struggled the rest of the game so his start was the game.

"I felt we were kind of rolling and then Harlond and Bryce got some tough calls (fouls) and it kind of changed the momentum, had to take them out and the momentum shifted. I was proud of our guys in the second half. We made the tough plays, got rebounds, loose balls and I thought defensively we were great down the stretch."

Buckley (21-6), which lost to Powers North Central in last year's state title game, regrouped after the bad start and got back in the game with Beverly and Washington each picking up their second fouls, pulling within 35-24 at halftime.

Buckley made it a two-possession game (40-34) with 4:40 left in the third when Denver Cade scored inside, but Southfield Christian went on a 14-8 run, culminating with a Beverly dunk off an inbounds pass and then a Caleb Hunter 3-pointer off a steal from Beverly for a 54-42 cushion with 7:20 remaining.

Southfield Christian also received strong efforts from Washington, Hunter and sophomore Da'Jion Humphrey.

Washington had 12 points and nine rebounds, Hunter scored 13, making four 3-pointers, and Humphrey had nine of his 11 points during the third quarter to make sure Southfield Christian kept its lead.

Humphrey, who also had seven rebounds, started his big third quarter by making a 3-pointer from the right corner to open a 38-26 lead. He also scored off two driving layups and took a charge when Cade crashed into him while going to the basket.

Buckley had three players score more than 1,000 career points and it showed with senior guard Joey Weber scoring 26 on 10-of-20 shooting while also grabbing eight rebounds; 6-3 senior forward Austin Harris contributing 15 points and seven rebounds; and Cade, a 6-3 senior, eight points and nine rebounds.

"They are crazy good, very athletic and we don't see teams like that up north," said Buckley coach Blair Moss. "It's hard to scout them with their athletic ability and they jump out of the gym. I just told our kids to put a body on them. We tried to play physical and we got called for it."

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