Grand Rapids Christian's Xavier Tillman met with the media following his team's Class A semifinal victory Friday at Breslin Center.
East Lansing — Xavier Tillman and Grand Rapids Christian continued their unbeaten season with a dominating second-half performance in a 74-52 win over Romulus in a Class A semifinal on Friday at the Breslin Center.
Christian had a huge size advantage with the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Tillman (Michigan State), 6-7 James Beck (Oakland) and 6-5 junior Setric Millner.
Tillman, a Mr. Basketball runner-up, protected the rim, rejecting seven shots and altering several others, making it difficult for Romulus to score inside. He took only three shots, finishing with five points, eight rebounds and six assists, along with the blocks.
Beck scored 24 (11-of-17 shooting), many of his baskets coming off of put-backs or in transition. He had nine rebounds, four at the offensive end. Duane Washington, a 6-3 junior point guard, had 15 points and six assists.
Christian (27-0) will meet Clarkston in Saturday’s Class A title game.
Romulus (21-5) made 6-of-17 3-pointers in the first half and led 28-27. Dylan Price (12 points, 4-of-16 shooting) and Jaren English (17 points, 7-of-14) tried to attack the basket, but multiple shots were rejected and they also weren’t getting calls while making contact.
“We never went 8-for-26,” said Romulus coach Jerret Smith of his team’s 3-point shooting. “It’s very hard to get him (Tillman) out of the lane when you’re not hitting shots. That’s a good team, three Division 1 players and they go 6-8, 6-7, 6-5 while our tallest guy is 6-4. We just ran into a team that executed better, made more shots.”
Christian dominated the third quarter, using a 24-8 run to open up a 51-36 lead thanks to the inside play of Beck (10 points) and a pair of 3-pointers from Thad Shymanski.
Christian made 10-of-14 shots during the pivotal quarter with Tillman getting four assists.
Kaevon Merriweather scored 18 for Romulus.