EAST LANSING – Detroit Loyola led, 59-55, with 25 seconds to go in the Class C semifinal, but that didn’t seem to faze Flint Beecher even though it had surrendered an 11-point fourth-quarter lead.
That’s because the Bucs faced similar situations in the postseason, coach Mike Williams said.
“One thing about this team is that all season that they’ve shown resilience and poise and composure in the face of elimination,” he said. “They faced it against Flint Hamady in the first round down five points with 50 seconds to go, they faced it against Southfield Christian down by 13 points with a minute to go in the third, and today, the thing that I can say I was proud of — I wasn’t proud that we gave up the lead — it was all positive in the huddle.
“Everyone was saying ‘We got this, we’re OK.’
DESTINED FOR GREATNESS: Grandville Calvin Christian Coach Ryan Stevens felt early on — really early on — that the Squires could accomplish great things this season.
“You try not to do this on the first day of practice, but that was when we talked about making it to the state finals and said this is the goal for this season,” he said. “I felt we were good enough to do that. We had enough pieces and parts to put together and things have to go the right way, but it did.
“Eleven of my 12 kids that were on varsity all year played out-of-season, and so they put a lot of work in to get here.”
ONCE A COACH, ALWAYS A COACH: One person sitting in front of the Beecher fan section appeared to be the Bucs’ toughest critic, barking commands such as “Get in the game,” “Move your feet,” “Slow it down,” and the like throughout the contest.
But he knows his game, at least — Moses Lacy coached at the school for 15 seasons, winning Class B state titles in 1985 and 1987.
“We made so many mistakes, turnovers; that is not Beecher basketball,” said the 78-year old, dressed in a shiny red jacket and a red “BUCS” baseball cap to match.
If he were still coaching, how would he prepare the team for Saturday’s final against Calvin Christian?
“Go somewhere, sit their butts down,” he said. “I don’t let them stay home. I’d make them stay in the field house.”
RIM SHOT: It looked like Flint Beecher had put the game away with five minutes to play when a Levane Blake dunk put the Bucs up, 51-40.
However, Blake received a technical foul for hanging on the rim, and that started a chain of favorable events for Detroit Loyola.
First, P.J. Mitchell made both free throws, and the Bulldogs made it a five-point trip as Ernest Adams drained a three after the Bulldogs in-bounded the ball. Keith Johnson hit two more triples in the next three minutes, and Loyola took a lead that looked like it would last.
BOARD GAME: While both Loyola and Flint Beecher finished the game with 35 rebounds apiece, the difference was Loyola had 16 at the offensive end, while Beecher had just five. That was instrumental in keeping the Bulldogs in the game, as they went 0-for-10 shooting three-pointers in the first and second quarters.