Southfield Christian boys basketball program on the rise

By: Christian Davis | Southfield Sun | Published February 1, 2012

 Southfield Christian’s Lindsey Hunter III tries to get around the Southfield High defender Jan. 27 at Southfield. The host won 58-56.

Southfield Christian’s Lindsey Hunter III tries to get around the Southfield High defender Jan. 27 at Southfield. The host won 58-56.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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SOUTHFIELD — They call it their “Daily 150.”

Every morning, players from the Southfield Christian boys basketball team stroll into the gym with the intention of making 100 3-pointers and 50 free throws before school begins.

“We know when we’re coming in at 7 a.m., no (other team) is coming in, and we’re getting shots up. It just gives us confidence in the game,” senior Gavin Toma said. “You have to have drive to come into the gym that early. A lot of people want to sleep the extra hour, but it’ll pay off.”

So far, the morning ritual has done just that. At press time, the Eagles were 9-2 overall and 6-0 in the Michigan Independent Athletic Conference.

The extra session is new to the program, implemented by first-year coach Josh Baker.

“We’re just trying to build a program where we work harder than anybody else,” Baker said. “I think the kids love it, and they buy into it. I also think it makes it harder to lose. You’re not going to lose to someone that doesn’t work as hard as you.”

Baker comes to Southfield Christian after being an assistant at Romulus High for the past nine years. In that time, the team went to two Class A semifinals and one state final.

The coach is hoping to build the Eagles’ program much like the one at Romulus.

Southfield Christian’s losses are to perennial state power Birmingham Detroit Country Day 106-75 and Southfield High 58-56, which has played in the Class A state semifinal the past two seasons.

Even in defeat, Baker said they were important games.

“It was great for us. (Country Day) drilled us, but it showed us what we didn’t do well,” he said, adding that Southfield Christian led 21-20 at one point before depth became an issue.

Baker said rebounding was the biggest issue against the Yellowjackets.

“Obviously, we’re small, but if we just hit people and get tough … we’ll be fine,” he said. “We can do it.”

The Eagles have excelled in getting to the basket and pressuring opposing offenses. Baker likes to run an up-tempo game, having four guards on the floor to pressure.

“We think the more possessions in the game, the better for us,” he said.

And when Baker does need some advice in a tight situation, he doesn’t have to look far down the bench, as former Detroit Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter is an assistant with the team.

“There’s been a couple games, late in the game with defensive stuff, and I’m just like, ‘Coach, you’ve got it,’” Baker said.

Hunter, who has worked with the program in past seasons, said he likes the direction it’s heading.

“I’ve watched Coach Baker at Romulus. He’s a great man of faith, and he’s a basketball junkie like me,” Hunter said. “My job is really to encourage him, give him my input on things when he needs me and just help him grow. He’s done a phenomenal job of bringing life to our program.”

Catch the Eagles against Grosse Pointe University Liggett at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at Liggett.
 

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