Beecher makes history, wins third consecutive Class C title, 73-58, over Covenant Christian
East Lansing – Flint Beecher made Monte Morris proud on Saturday.
The Bucs pulled away from Grand Rapids Covenant Christian and won its third consecutive Class C title, 73-58, at the Breslin Center.
Morris, Mr. Basketball in 2013, led Beecher to two state titles in his four-year career and he was behind the Beecher bench to watch and cheer on his guys.
Malik Ellison, like Morris, started for four seasons at Beecher and though he wasn’t among the six finalists for the Mr. Basketball award Ellison was a part of one more title than Morris.
Ellison was 14-of-16 from the free throw line and had 32 points in his last high school game. A 5-7 guard, Ellison said he committed to Eastern Michigan 10 days ago.
Beecher (23-5) is the first program, in the modern era, to win three consecutive Class C titles and the first to win five in six seasons. It’s the eighth title in school history.
“I was in the eighth grade when Monte took me under his wing,” Ellison said. “He told me the rights and wrongs about winning a state championship. He facetimed me before the game and told me to get the job done. He’s basically my big brother.”
Covenant Christian (21-6) played well and stayed with Beecher for 27 minutes. The Chargers led 29-22 after a steal and layup by Trevor Miedema with 5:36 left in the first half.
Trenton Koole’s basket with 2:44 left gave Covenant Christian a 33-29 lead but Beecher ended the half on a 6-0 run to take a 35-33 lead.
The third quarter proved quite entertaining as each team executed well in their transition offense. There were eight lead changes and three times the game was tied in the quarter.
The Chargers took their last lead, 49-48, on Carson Meulenberg’s two free throws with 1:40 left.
The Bucs ended the quarter on a 4-0 run and began the fourth with a Jalen Terry free throw and dunk to push Beecher’s lead to 55-49 with 6:44 remaining.
The Chargers lost a bit of the momentum they had built earlier and Beecher kept the pressure on forcing nine turnovers in the quarter.
“Our effort was…I was really proud of our guys,” Covenant Christian coach Tyler Schimmel said. “Their pressure got to us. That’s what they’re good at. We missed opportunities.”
The Chargers struggled from the field (23-65, 35.4 percent) but they showed grit as they had 16 offensive rebounds and, overall, held a considerable edge (44-32) in this category.
Meulenberg had 20 points and eight rebounds, Tyler Cammenga added 13 points, and Koole had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Levane Blake, a 6-7 senior, was a force inside for Beecher. He had nine points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and four steals. Jordan Roland had 15 points and Jalen Terry, a freshman who will take over at the point next season, added nine.
“It’s been great playing in a Beecher jersey,” Blake said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Beecher coach Mike Williams said winning never grows old and that his players relish the challenge to carry on the tradition.
“They’re all sweet,” he said. “I’m greedy. This one is especially bitter-sweet because I have four seniors who I’ll never coach again.
“(The fourth quarter) was Beecher basketball. What we want to do is pressure all night long. I was banking on them not having the legs and not knocking down the shots late in the game.”
Editor’s Note: Remember to watch the highlights from this game and all of Saturday’s Boys Basketball State Championship games on the STATE CHAMPS! HS Sports Show on Sunday morning at 9:00am on Fox Sports Detroit!