Buckley Falls to No. 1 Southfield Christian in Class D Finals

 

EAST LANSING – A 22-point first-half deficit proved too much for the No. 8 Buckley boys basketball program to overcome as it fell to top-ranked Southfield Christian 64-54 in the MHSAA Class D championship game at Michigan State’s Breslin Center on Saturday.

Buckley was making its second straight appearance in the title game after falling to Powers North Central in similar fashion a year ago. The Bears trailed by 18 after the first quarter against the Jets in the 2017 final but rallied in the fourth quarter in a 78-69 loss.


For Southfield Christian, it’s the fourth Class D championship for the Eagles in the last seven years. The school won three consecutive titles from 2012-14.

“They’re always in the game,” Buckley coach Blair Moss said. “You know, if we make a stop, get a bucket. Anything can happen. And that’s been our… the last four years, these kids, that’s what they’re thinking all the time. ‘Hey, get a stop. Get a bucket. We’re in the game.’ Bless their hearts. They didn’t quit and I’m so proud of them.”

Buckley took a 5-4 lead in the early going of the first quarter on a 3-pointer from Brock Beeman before Southfield Christian responded with a 10-0 run. The Eagles would end the quarter on a 17-5 spurt and take a 21-10 lead to the second quarter.

The Eagles (23-5) continued their offensive run in the second, leading by as much as 22 at 32-10 with 5:31 remaining before the half. The Bears would regroup and end the first half with an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to 35-24.

Buckley would get within six points twice in the third quarter and trailed 49-42 after three before Southfield Christian pulled away late.

Joey Weber closed out his career with a game-high 26 points and eight rebounds for Buckley. Austin Harris also tallied 15 points and seven boards.

A staple of Buckley’s run this season and semifinal victory over Hillsdale Academy on Thursday, the Bears couldn’t get the 3-point shot to fall Saturday, finishing just 4-for-23. Buckley held the edge in rebounding at 36-33 and in field goal percentage at 39.2 (20-of-51).

Harlond Beverly’s play carried the Eagles as the junior finished the day with 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists, eight steals and six blocks. Caleb Hunter also finished with 13 points and four boards.

“I’m proud of my team. I wouldn’t want to trade these guys for anything. I don’t care,” Harris said. “They worked really hard. They’ve helped me work hard. They’ve built my character up. I’m blessed to have all of them.”

Co-champions of the Northwest Conference, Buckley finishes the year at 21-6. Since dropping a 75-62 contest to Manton back on Feb. 27, Buckley had reeled off seven straight wins leading up to Saturday’s title game. The Bears picked up postseason wins over Bear Lake (82-36), Brethren (74-30), Muskegon Heights Academy (70-48), Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart (66-44), Hillman (67-50) and Hillsdale Academy (65-55) en route to the East Lansing.

Buckley’s senior class will go down as one of the best in school history. The Bears went 63-14 over the last three years, winning two Northwest Conference titles, three district championships and two regional titles and reached the Breslin Center twice.

Categories: Boys Basketball