Southfield Christian Nets 3rd Title Try

March 20, 2014

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.”

Click for a full box score and video from the press conference.

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.

South Christian Sails Into Latest Challenge, Earns Saturday Return

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

March 24, 2023

EAST LANSING – The Grand Rapids South Christian boys basketball team faced adversity when it lost standout sophomore Carson Vis to season-ending injuries in last week’s Regional Final.

The Sailors faced a different kind of adversity Friday in a Division 2 Semifinal, as they were tested for the first time since late January.

South Christian responded, and showed a steely resolve that put the team one step closer to a championship following a 40-35 overtime win over Romulus Summit Academy North at Breslin Center.

The Sailors will play Ferndale in Saturday’s Division 2 Final.

“We talk about adversity all the time, and we’re missing our 20 points a game star player, and so we’ve had some throughout the season,” South Christian coach Taylor Johnson said. “It builds character.”

Summit’s Dontez Scott Jr. works to get past the Sailors’ Nate Brinks.

South Christian had won 15 games in a row entering Friday, all by double digits. Summit gave the Sailors their closest game since losing to Grand Rapids Catholic Central on Jan. 24. 

“We’ve been on a run here, and even as a coach, I feel like I haven’t done enough because we haven’t been in these situations,” Johnson said. “What a battle, and that’s what it’s all about. Two great teams with a lot of great players, and we found a way.”

Senior Jake DeHaan, who led the Sailors with 14 points, said he embraces playing in these types of games.

“This is what our team talks about, adversity, and we want to play in the biggest moments,” DeHaan said. “As a competitor, that's what you want to do. You want to play on the biggest stage against the best teams, and that's what we like to do.”

In a defensive struggle with points hard to come by, the Sailors maintained the lead throughout.

The Sailors took a 19-13 advantage into the half, but the Dragons rallied and cut the deficit to 23-21 with a minute left in the third quarter.

Summit’s Dominic Krzesowiak drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to knot the score at 31-31 with 30 seconds remaining in regulation.

In overtime, Nate Brinks buried a 3-pointer for South Christian after Summit took its only lead of the game.

Junior Jake Vermaas, who finished with 12 points, then made 6 of 6 from the free throw line to keep Summit at bay.

“I just kept dribbling with my head up and knocking down free throws when we needed them,” Vermaas said. “Staying focused and locked in, and I think that’s a credit to being on a big stage like this in football and being comfortable.”

The Sailors, who won the Division 4 football championship in November, will search for their first basketball Finals title since 2005.

Summit Academy (25-3), which shot 35 percent (16-46) from the field, was playing in its first Semifinal.

“We expected it to be a defensive game and every possession to be tough,” Summit coach Mark White said. “We expected to be challenged to execute and to challenge them to execute.

“We knew it would come down to who executed the best and took advantage of their opportunities. We came to battle, and I’m very proud of our team and our program that we made it this far.”

James White led Summit with 13 points and seven rebounds. Krzesowiak finished with six points and six rebounds.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS (Top) South Christian’s Jake Vermaas (0) makes a move toward the basket during his team’s Division 2 Semifinal win. (Middle) Summit’s Dontez Scott Jr. works to get past the Sailors’ Nate Brinks.