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Benton Harbor head coach Corey Sterling knew he had one of the state’s top players in 6-foot-6 junior Carlos “Scooby” Johnson, but didn’t know if he had a good enough supporting cast to go around him to repeat as state champions heading into the season.

Well, now Sterling — The Detroit News Dream Team head coach from last season — definitely feels Benton Harbor has the weapons to lift the Division 2 championship trophy this March at Breslin Center after hoisting the ultimate trophy last year when Johnson came through with a big effort (24 points, 11 rebounds) in a 65-64 overtime Class B title game win over Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

And, of course, Johnson is leading the way. Johnson is averaging 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead Benton Harbor to a 10-0 start and a No. 1 ranking in The Detroit News Super 20.

Johnson was at his best Saturday night with a 39-point, 14-rebound performance in a 79-70 comeback win over No. 6 Saginaw, scoring 20 of his points during the third quarter, making four 3-pointers.

“I didn’t know that my guards would develop this fast,” Sterling said. “They are really gelling and playing lockdown defense so I really think we have a chance at repeating now.

“Our guards, Jamon Walker and Quindarius Davis are playing great on-ball defense. They’re good at shuffling their feet and they are quick with their hands. They are fast and quick as far as vertically and laterally, and they can score the ball. They shoot the 3s well and they can get to the hole so they complement my three 6-6 starters (Justin Brown, Chris Conway, Johnson). We have a really solid lineup and their confidence is oozing.”

And of Johnson?

“He’s averaging 26 points and I didn’t know he had that many points (39 against Saginaw),” Sterling said. “He had that look in his eye and took the game over. It’s the best I’ve seen him play since I’ve been coaching him.

“He just got hot, shooting the ball from 3, hitting the mid-range, post moves, just bringing out the total package and playing like the best player in the state.”

So, how has Johnson’s recruiting been?

“I’m sure I’ll get more calls after this,” Sterling said. “Coach Beilein has been down to the gym, watched Scooby play a game on the 28th. West Virginia (has offered), just the 10 or 11 that’s been there, but Iowa called today.”

Benton Harbor also has a win over South Bend Riley and will continue to face a strong schedule, including defending Class C champion Detroit Edison on Jan. 26 at Detroit Voyageur, Emoni Bates and Ypsilanti Lincoln Feb. 2 in the Grand Rapids Union Showcase and hosting No. 2 River Rouge on Feb. 16.

State Super 20 

1. Benton Harbor (10-0, Division 2)

2. River Rouge (5-1, Division 2)

3. New Haven (7-1, Division 2)

4. U-D Jesuit (6-2, Division 1)

5. Flint Beecher (8-0, Division 3)

6. Saginaw (7-2, Division 1)

7. Detroit Cass Tech (6-1, Division 1)

8. Roseville (7-1, Division 1)

9. Bridgeport (7-0, Division 2)

10. Detroit King (4-1, Division 1)

11. Williamston (9-1, Division 2)

12. Okemos (9-0, Division 1)

13. Clarkston (7-2, Division 1)

14. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (5-2, Division 1)

15. Canton (5-1, Division 1)

16. Grand Rapids Catholic Central (7-1, Division 2)

17. Ypsilanti Lincoln (5-1, Division 1)

18. Flint Carman-Ainsworth (6-2, Division 1)

19. Oak Park (5-2, Division 1)

T20. Macomb Dakota (6-1, Division 1)

T20. Muskegon (3-2, Division 1)

Detroit

1. U-D Jesuit (6-2)

2. Detroit Cass Tech (6-1)

3. Detroit King (4-1)

4. Detroit Renaissance (5-3)

5. Detroit Edison (7-3)

6. Detroit Pershing (8-0)

7. Detroit Mumford (5-3)

8. Detroit Henry Ford (5-4)

9. Detroit Loyola (6-3)

10. Detroit Osborn (3-4)

North

1. Clarkston (7-2)

2. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (5-2)

3. Oak Park (5-2)

4. Detroit Catholic Central (6-2)

5. Pontiac (9-0)

6. Lake Orion (6-2)

7. Oxford (7-0)

8. Troy (6-3)

9. Walled Lake Northern (8-0)

T10. Madison Heights Madison (8-0)

T10. West Bloomfield (4-4)

East

1. New Haven (7-1)

2. Roseville (7-1)

3. Macomb Dakota (6-1)

4. Sterling Heights Stevenson (6-1)

5. Warren DeLaSalle (5-3)

6. Warren Mott (7-1)

7. Warren Lincoln (6-3)

8. Harper Woods Chandler Park (5-0)

9. Warren Lincoln (6-3)

10. St. Clair Shores Lake Shore (6-2)

West

1. River Rouge (5-1)

2. Canton (5-1)

3. Ypsilanti Lincoln (5-1)

4. Westland John Glenn (4-1)

5. Wayne Memorial (4-2)

6. Ann Arbor Pioneer (7-2)

7. Ann Arbor Huron (5-2)

8. Dearborn Divine Child (7-2)

9. Woodhaven (7-2)

T10. Saline (5-3)

T10. Ann Arbor Skyline (5-3)

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