Beecher Extends Winning Streak To Seven Following 60-43 Win Against River Rouge

14 Feb

photo-10Flint Beecher and River Rouge, two schools with celebrated basketball prestige and tradition.  The two programs have combined for 19 MHSAA state championships, River Rouge 14 and Beecher five.

Rouge and Beecher last met in the 2012 Class C quarterfinals, Beecher won 59-55 en route to a state championship.

The latest meeting was another Beecher victory, a 60-43 outcome in the Buccaneers favor.

“It’s great,” Beecher sophomore point guard Malik Ellison following the victory.  “It’s a good tune up game that’s going to lead us to the tourney in March.”

Ellison led Beecher in scoring with 18 points, ten in the first-half.

“I think I played well,” Malik added.  “I picked my spots on the court and made my teammates available to score.”

Beecher led 15-14 at the end of the first.  Rouge would lead 23-21 with 3:38 before half, the last Panther lead of the game.  The Bucs finished the half on a 11-4 spurt for a 32-27 half-time advantage.

Panther senior point guard LaMonta Stone entered the night having scored at least 30 points in the team’s previous two contests against Romulus and Consortium.  The 5’9″ floor general struggled to find any form of offensive rhythm.  After making his first two shots of the game, Stone would only shoot 3-14 from the field the remainder of the first.

The man primarily responsible for guarding Stone was the 5’8″ Ellison.

“We played our tempo,” Ellison said the key was to neutralizing Stone.  “And boxed out. These are things we focus on for every game.”

Stone continued to struggle in the second-half.  He shot only 2-11 from the field in the second-half.  Along with senior forwards Maurice Witherspoon and Jalin Gibson repeatedly in foul trouble, the Panthers could not find a reliable secondary scorer to compliment Stone.  Beecher took advantage of the situation and built a ten point lead entering the fourth quarter.

The Bucs would outscore the Panthers 12-5 to five in the fourth quarter.  Methodically running their offense, limiting turnovers, and receiving the coveted 50/50 balls, Beecher was able to secure a victory and end Rouge’s five game winning streak.

Stone led the Panthers in scoring, but on 7-27 from the floor, the only Panther in double figures.  Aside from Ellison, 6’2″ senior Cedric Moten added 17 points, and 13 rebounds for Beecher against a taller and athletic Panther front-court.

“Ced (Moten) plays hard every game,” Ellison would say about his teammate.  “He’s our scrapper and energy guy.  He plays a huge factor for us, and he is the reason we are where we are.”

The Bucs are currently 14-1, and had outscored the opposition on average 73-47 entering the game against River Rouge.  In a statement game against a Class B contender, Ellison wants Michigan to know Beecher might be Class C, but can compete with anyone in the state.

“We don’t want to just be number one in Class C,” Ellison stated.  “We want the whole state to know we can compete with any class in the state.”

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