Southfield Christian wins third straight Class D championship

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Southfield Christian didn't experience anything like the foul trouble that sent its two top scorers to the bench for much of the second half of Saturday's Class D state championship game, but it was OK.

Bakari Evelyn was there to pick up the slack.

The junior guard scored 16 of his 28 points in the second half and the Eagles hung on for a 63-61 victory over Adrian Lenawee Christian and their third straight state title.

"I had to do what I had to do to keep us in the game," said Evelyn, who also finished with seven rebounds, four assists and four his team's nine steals.

Jalen Bouldes converted a three-point play with three minutes left to give Southfield Christian the lead for good, and Evelyn made five of six free throws in the final minute to keep it there.

The Eagles (26-1) still had to watch Lenawee's Nick Mewborn launch a potential game-winning shot at the horn, but his 3-point attempt was off the mark.

"We've never had it where all our main guys were in foul trouble," Southfield Christian coach Clennie Brundidge said. "I told them at the end, our depth was going to win this."

Fouls -- there were a combined 52 in the 32-minute game -- landed Lindsey Hunter IV and Damarco White on the bench midway through the third and both later fouled out. Evelyn kept the Eagles close, however, by scoring 11 points in the third quarter, including a layup off a steal in the final seconds to send Southfield Christian to the fourth quarter ahead 46-45.

The Cougars (21-5) answered with a 6-0 run early in the fourth but struggled to score down the stretch. They managed just six points in the final four minutes.

"Our free-throw shooting hurt us, but we still had opportunities," Lenawee coach Scott McKelvey said. "We couldn't ask for any more than that."

Lenawee was 19-for-31 from the line, and Southfield turned its 19 turnovers into 22 points.

Kingsley, one of three Nigerian-born players on the Cougars' roster, had 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead Lenawee, which led for most of the second quarter and took a 32-31 lead to intermission after his two free throws in the final minute.

The game often lacked any kind of flow, mostly because of the fouls and 37 combined turnovers, and it seemed to favor Lenawee most of the morning. Hunter said it took some time to get used to.

"We're a lot better in transition than we are in the half court," he said. "They definitely slowed us down."

Hunter, son of the former NBA guard, fouled out midway through the fourth with 16 points.

He got a hug from his dad after he walked to the end of the bench. He ended his career with three state titles.

"I never, ever thought I'd be in the position I'm in now," he said.

Grant Hohlbein added 15 points and Maxwell finished with 11 and nine boards for the Cougars, who were seeking the school's first state championship.

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