Good enough to be great

By: Mike Moore | Southfield Sun | Published December 13, 2017

SOUTHFIELD — When it came to last year’s Southfield Christian boys basketball team and the 2017 state playoffs, the Eagles were one win — and less than one second — away from playing for a state championship.

But in one of the most dramatic semifinals ever, Southfield Christian watched as its season came to a close in an 84-83 double-overtime loss to Powers North Central in a Class D semifinal. The game-winner came as time expired.

The mission now is to get back and go further.

“The mindset of this team is centered around how close we were,” coach Josh Baker said. “We were right there. Now it’s on us to do everything we can to make sure we get back. Every day, every possession, every little thing is going to matter.”

If his players maintain that belief, Baker feels there’s talent to burn as the season starts to ramp up.

The Eagles went 21-6 one year ago, and had it not been for a circus buzzer beater in that semifinal, they were set to eliminate Powers North Central and end what was an 81-game win streak for the two-time defending champions in Class D.

When camp broke this year, seven players who were part of the madness at the Breslin Center returned to the team, including three starters.

“It’s a very strong group,” Baker said. “It’s one that can go on a long run here.”

The team’s strength is at the guard position. Harlond Beverly, Caleb Hunter and Bryce Washington all return, and all have Division 1 collegiate offers waiting for them. 

“When that’s the case, you’re going to be pretty good,” Baker said with a laugh.

Washington looks to lead the team offensively, scoring 35 points in a victory over Southfield A&T and 26 in an overtime loss against Detroit Pershing.

The Eagles were 1-1 at press time.

Baker laughed when asked about what he’s seen so far, even in just two games.

“I’ve seen glimpses of what it will take to get done what we want to,” he said. “At the same time, we were up late against Pershing and didn’t win. We missed free throws, we missed layups and turned it over. We have to learn from that.”

The talent is present, Baker added, but he knows it will take more than that to make a run at a fourth state title since 2012.

“It’s about giving 100 percent every single night,” he said. “We have to make sure we play defense, contest every shot and fight for the offense we get. It’s that simple, really. We have to execute the way we can. … We’re at the point where it’s not wanting to do it, because we really know we can. The issue is doing what’s asked of each guy every single time out.”