EAST LANSING – Tony DeWitte was so impressive with 31 points in Grandville Calvin Christian’s semifinal victory that he drew special attention in the Class C championship game against Flint Beecher.
That attention took the form of junior Jordan Roland.
Other than in the Grandville huddle, Roland followed DeWitte everywhere he went on the floor Saturday at the Breslin Center.
Roland took a hard foul with 6:43 left in the game and spent 30 seconds on the floor regrouping. He eventually went to the locker room.
He re-entered the game with 3:39 to play and hit a huge triple with 2:09 left to give Beecher a 58-55 lead.
DeWitte was “held” to 15 points while Roland finished with 12.
“We pride ourselves on defense,’’ said Roland after the 63-61 victory.
Said Beecher coach Mike Williams: “I think he had 25 points or so at halftime the other day. I got tape on him from three other games so I knew not just Roland but the whole team had to make sure we knew where he was.’’
REF TAKES HIMSELF OUT: Ollie Sandifer Jr. pulled up lame and couldn’t finish the game.
Sandifer, from Muskegon, was officiating the Class C title game when he started laboring in the second quarter.
Suffering from a knee injury, Sandifer was replaced at halftime by alternate Chandler Terry, officiating his first championship game.
FLINT WATER CRISIS: Beecher coach Mike Williams still feels betrayed. He was born and raised in Flint and has family members who live inside the city, although he doesn’t anymore.
The city’s water crisis has hit 40 to 50% of his Flint Beecher team.
“I work at a different high school and I’m the phys ed teacher,” he said. “I have to be careful because we don’t know the kids’ personal situation at home and how they are affected. I have to keep a lot of drinking water around for the kids. You don’t want to pry into people’s personal lives, but you know it’s affecting them. About half of my team lives in the affected area; not the immediate area.”
COPING ON THE RUN: Just before the start of the season Detroit Henry Ford coach Ken Flowers received devastating news. Antwan Johnson, who had worked with the team all summer and fall, was leaving.
“His family moved to Cincinnati,” said Flowers. “We didn’t know what to do. He was going to be a key part of our team and all of a sudden he was gone.”
The Trojans, coming off a championship game appearance, lost their first two games: a 67-49 blowout at the hands of Class A finalist North Farmington and 70-61 to Detroit Edison.
Another spot in the Class B final seemed more like a dream than a chance of becoming a reality in December.
But led by James Towns, the Trojans regrouped, leading to their first state title in a 61-47 victory over Stevensville Lakeshore.
“We picked it up and started rolling,” said Flowers. “We did some different things in practice to help guys get acclimated to his loss. Now they’ve been playing well.”