Defending Class C state champion Detroit Edison flexed its muscles Saturday by pulling off a 77-68 win over Carlos “Scooby” Johnson and defending Class B state champion Benton Harbor.
Brian Taylor, a 6-foot-5 senior, scored 25 to lead Edison (10-4) while Raynard Williams had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Bryce George, a 6-6, 235-pound transfer from Marlette, contributed 15 points.
“Bryce George gives us a big, physical presence inside,” said Edison coach Bo Neely, “and in Brian Taylor’s absence (missed multiple games due to foot injury prior to Saturday), Raynard Williams played out of his mind, averaging a double-double. Raynard’s a 6-foot-4 junior, extremely athletic.”
Edison showed it could make another deep postseason run – this time in Division 3 – already owning victories over a pair of teams in The Detroit News Super 20 rankings in Canton (12-1) and Benton Harbor (14-1).
Flint Beecher (13-2) will be looking to dethrone Edison and has one of the top backcourts in the junior tandem of Jalen Terry – who has an offer from Michigan State – and Earnest Sanders.
Terry (30 points) and Sanders (20 points) combined for 50 points, rallying No. 8 Beecher back from a 16-point third-quarter deficit to take a fourth-quarter lead against No. 4 U-D Jesuit before losing 70-69 Saturday in Flint.
Terry, a 6-foot combo guard, is averaging 24.3 points, and Sanders 18.4 points.
“This type of game, the competition is always good for us, makes us play hard and gets us ready because every game in the playoffs will be like this,” said Terry, a four-star recruit who will join Benton Harbor’s Johnson as a candidate for next year’s Mr. Basketball award. “We didn’t put our heads down when we were down, but we came out with extra effort, and that’s what it takes to be great.”
Terry was a key part of Beecher’s state championship team his freshman year and how is a team leader.
“We have a lot of young guys – two freshmen who start – and I have to get them prepared for the playoffs,” said Terry. “I like being in that role.”
Terry was rumored to be making his college choice this month but decided against it.
“I’m going to take my time, make sure it’s what I want,” Terry said. “Missouri, Iowa State, Michigan State and Iowa are in the mix.”
When asked what he liked about Michigan State, Terry replied: “It’s close to home and (Tom) Izzo is great. It’s like a brotherhood up there and I like that.”
Sanders is a two-sport star, getting multiple offers in football – including Kentucky, Cincinnati, Toledo, Central Michigan and Bowling Green – while also getting interest from MSU in both sports.
Sanders was proud of Beecher’s fight in the loss to U-D Jesuit, showing his aggressiveness by attacking the basket on a consistent basis.
“We didn’t panic and Coach (Mike) Williams told us to keep our composure and we just fought,” Sanders said. “We’re all tough. Nobody is going to come in, especially in this gym (Moses Lacy Fieldhouse), come in and beat us without being in a fight.”
Sanders, 6-3 and 190 pounds, plays wide receiver and strong safety in football, coming up with 44 receptions for more than 1,000 yards and 25 total TDs his junior year.
“I love both sports,” said Sanders, who has offers from Oakland and Southern Mississippi in basketball.
“Michigan State has been recruiting me heavily in football and we had a talk with Coach Izzo a couple of weeks ago, and he put it out there that both sports would be an option. It felt great to hear because I’ve wanted to play both sports in college my whole life.”
Roper transfers to St. Mary's
Julian Roper and Josh Roper have left Detroit Country Day to attend Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.
Julian Roper, a 6-3 combo guard who has an offer from Iowa, is one of the top sophomores in the state, averaging 17 points and eight rebounds his freshman year, then coming up with a 20-point effort on Jan. 18 in a 75-59 loss to Saginaw.
“Julian played well, he’s just a sophomore and was pretty aggressive, scored 20 on us,” said Saginaw head coach Julian Taylor. “He scored most of his points in the first half and we just wore him down in the second half.”
Taylor had no idea Roper left Country Day for OLSM.
It was the second high-profile player to leave Country Day this season as junior guard Wendell Green departed prior to the school year to play at La Lumiere in Indiana, ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today.
Green was in attendance at Country Day Jan. 11 when Roper played, and scored 17 in a 61-53 loss to Southfield Christian. Green scored 33 a year ago in a win over Harlond Beverly and Southfield Christian.
After leading Southfield Christian to the Class D state championship last winter, Beverly bolted this summer to play his senior year at Montverde (Fla.) Academy, which is currently ranked No. 4.
OLSM coach Todd Covert said Julian and Josh Roper are at the school. The players would be immediately eligible by the MHSAA because they moved in the dorms, but OLSM has a self-imposed rule, making transfers sit out a semester.
Country Day coach Mark Bray did not immediately return messages left by The Detroit News.
OLSM will have one of the best backcourts in the state next season with Lorne Bowman, a Wisconsin commit, and freshman phenom Kareem Rozier being joined by Julian Roper.