Buckley on the Cusp of History
EAST LANSING – The Buckley boys basketball team is set to make its second Class D title game appearance in as many years and will face one of the most storied Class D programs in recent years in Southfield Christian.
Ranked eighth, Buckley (21-5) will take on No. 1 Southfield Christian (22-4) at 10 a.m. Saturday from Michigan State’s Breslin Center.
The Bears rallied from a 12-point third-quarter deficit for a 65-55 semifinal win over Hillsdale Academy on Thursday. Senior Austin Harris led four Bears in double figures with 22 points. Joey Weber tallied 15 and Denver Cade and Brock Beeman added 11 points apiece.
After finishing runner-up to Powers North Central a year ago, a win Saturday would give Buckley its first state championship.
“Play our game. Play really good defense,” Cade said. “I know they have a lot of high profile guys that will probably go on to major D1 programs, but I’m not scared of anybody. I’m not going to back down from anybody. Hopefully I’ll be in the game the full time this time, and I’ll be able to go at them with all I got.
Southfield Christian won three consecutive Class D titles from 2012-14 and made quick work of No. 2 Dollar Bay in a 71-32 semifinal win on Thursday. The Eagles raced out to 16-2 lead after one quarter and received 23 points and 10 rebounds from Bryce Washington in the win.
After a loaded regular-season schedule with Class A and B programs, Southfield Christian hasn’t faced much competition in the tournament, picking up victories over West Bloomfield Frankel Jewish Academy (81-28), Auburn Hills Oakland Christian (79-50), Sterling Heights Parkway Christian (87-46) and Flint International Academy (88-53).
“Play together,” Weber said. “Play good team basketball. Not individual, play good team basketball and just take it to them. Don’t be afraid and just go at them.”
Buckley will be joined by fellow Northwest Conference member Glen Lake down at the Breslin Center. The Lakers will make their first appearance in the Class C finals, facing Detroit Edison Public School Academy.
“It shows that we can play basketball,” Weber said on Glen Lake’s finals appearance. “It shows just how hard our conference is and how much those wins mean to us in that conference and how good we are up there. I think it’s a good representation of the north and I’m so happy Glen Lake is up there with us today.”