LANSING — Xavier Tillman got his revenge.
The Grand Rapids Christian star forward and Michigan State signee, who finished second behind Kalamazoo Central’s Isaiah Livers in the Mr. Basketball voting, had the last laugh in tonight’s Class A quarterfinal at Lansing Eastern.
Grand Rapids Christian, ranked No.1 in Class A, pulled away from Kalamazoo Central in the fourth quarter for a 66-46 win before an estimated 5,000 at a packed Don Johnson Fieldhouse.
“We had a chip on our shoulder with the Mr. Basketball voting,” said Tillman, who finished with 18 points, 13 rebounds, eight blocks and four assists. “This game means so much to us. We wanted no regrets.”
Livers, a Michigan signee, edged Tillman in one of the closest Mr. Basketball votes. The results were announced Monday at the Free Press.
“I put this whole game on myself,” said Livers, who had 11 points and 10 rebounds. “This whole game was on me, none of my teammates. I didn’t step up.”
The victorious Eagles (26-0) advance to face Romulus (21-4) in the state semifinals at 2:50 p.m. Friday at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
“I’m going to come prepared and take care of business,” Tillman said. “It’s more welcoming since they know I’m going to Michigan State. It frees up a lot of pressure.”
Grand Rapids Christian opened a 26-16 halftime lead, but the Maroon Giants (21-4) fought back. Bass Ollie’s jumper got Kalamazoo Central within 31-30 late in the third quarter.
The Eagles, however, closed the third and opened the fourth with a 19-1 run, capped by Tillman’s dunk, to open a commanding 50-31 advantage with 4:09 remaining. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was at the game.
“I want this state championship real bad,” Tillman said. “I want it for my guys. I’d rather have a team award than a personal one.”
Tillman, a former AAU teammate of Livers’, was glad his close friend won Mr. Basketball.
“Of course, that’s my boy,” Tillman said. “It’s always fun to play against him, and I had to congratulate him. I was happy that it was either me or him, and it was him.”
James Beck II finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Eagles, who lost in last year’s regional round of the state playoffs.
Rog Stein scored 10 points for Central.
More Class A scores
West Bloomfield 80, Troy 43
Clarkston 70, Saginaw 50
Romulus 66, U-D Jesuit 63
New Haven 73, Detroit Osborn 66
Benton Harbor 46, Spring Lake 44
River Rouge 54, Williamston 51: Darian Owens-White had 24 points, including the game-winning three-pointer with 3 seconds remaining for River Rouge (24-1). DreQuan Bell added 18 points. Sean Cobb and Cole Kleiver each scored 19 points for Williamston.
Ludington 69, Lake Fenton 43
Detroit Edison PSA 61, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 48
Flint Beecher 66, Beaverton 32
Grand Rapids Covenant Christian 49, Kalamazoo Christian 40
Manton 51, Negaunee 49 (OT)
Powers North Central 74, Hillman 61
Southfield Christian 64, Fowler 42
Lansing Christian 63, Benton Harbor Dream Academy 45
Buckley 48, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 37
At East Lansing
Detroit Edison PSA vs. Flint Beecher, 1 p.m.
Grand Rapids Covenant Christian vs. Manton, 2:50
Powers North Central vs. Southfield Christian, 6:00
Lansing Christian vs. Buckley, 7:50
West Bloomfield vs. Clarkston, 1 p.m.
Grand Rapids Christian vs. Romulus, 2:50
New Haven vs. Benton Harbor, 6:00
River Rouge vs. Ludington, 7:50