By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
EAST LANSING – Lindsay Hunter IV sank his first shot 43 seconds into Thursday’s first Class D Semifinal at the Breslin Center.
And he didn’t stop until top-ranked Southfield Christian had cemented itself in a third straight championship game.
Hunter made 7 of his first 10 shots, missing just one more at the start of the third quarter before leaving the game with 21 points in 14 minutes as his team cruised to a 97-68 victory over Frankfort.
The two-time defending champion Eagles will face Adrian Lenawee Christian in Saturday’s 10 a.m. championship game.
“I just wanted to come out and get a win. I did everything (possible),” Hunter IV said. “It’s been like that all playoffs. I don’t know what’s going on. All of a sudden the swishes flew.”
And not just for Hunter. Southfield Christian (25-1) shot 50 percent from the floor including 41 percent from 3-point range. It took the lead for good 1:08 into the game and led by 14 by the end of the first quarter.
During the first half, when the Eagles' starters played most of the minutes, the team shot 60 percent from the floor and 75 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
Southfield Christian set a Class D Semifinal record for points, scoring two more than Detroit East Catholic did in its 95-65 win over Concord in 1986. Junior guard Bakari Evelyn added 17 points for the Eagles, making 7 of 8 shots from the floor including all three of his 3-point attempts.
Senior forward Damarco White added seven points, six rebounds and four blocked shots in only 12 minutes. He, Evelyn and Hunter also were main contributors in last season’s championship run, and Hunter and Evelyn played major roles in 2012 as well.
“Especially this year, it’s my last year and I’ve got to play as hard as I can every game because it could be my last,” White said. “I don’t want to let our team lose. Just like last year, I want to play for everybody in the locker room, everybody at my school, so I go out there and do the best I can.”
Frankfort seniors Connor Bradley and Brandon Schaub helped the Panthers to their first Semifinal since 1969, earning a legacy in their school's history. Total, they were part of three District and two Regional titles and “had as good a career as anybody in the history of Frankfort,” Panthers coach Reggie Manville said.
Junior center David Loney led Frankfort with 32 points and 13 rebounds. Schaub added 11 points and sophomore guard Kole Hollenbeck had five assists.
Frankfort finished 20-7 after entering the postseason as an honorable mention in the final Associated Press poll.
“Each year we’ve taken a step forward, from the District to the Regional to the final four, and we still have 10 guys coming back,” Manville added. “We want to take the next step, and yet we realize the next step is a big step. But at the same time, I’ve got confidence in my program that we’ll be there next year.”
PHOTO: (Top) Southfield Christian's Jalen Bouldes drives to the hoop as Frankfort's Ryan Plumstead defends. (Middle) Frankfort's Kole Hollenbeck works to get past Southfield Christian's Kameron Garner.
HIGHLIGHTS: (1) David Loney got Frankfort out to a 5-1 lead in the Class D Semifinal, hitting this 3-pointer for the first points of the game. He finished with a game-high 32. (2) Lindsay Hunter IV takes a long pass on a fast break and scores as part of an 11-point run for Southfield Christian in the first quarter. Hunter led his team with 21 points.