Beecher Routs Horton 71-43. Advance to Class C Title

26 Mar

IMG_0286Sam said “I am,” and Horton heard his swish.

Flint Beecher’s Sam Toins has had the Breslin Center on his mind for well over a year.  Toins’ Bucs suffered a heart breaker a season ago in the quarterfinals.  The senior shooting guard swore to himself and team that would not be repeated in 2015.

In the team’s 71-43 dismantling of Hanover-Horton in the Class C semifinal, Toins led the Bucs with a game-high 20 points, including five threes, four of which occurred in the first-half.

Not too often is the case a game of this magnitude is decided in the opening eight minutes.  However, the Bucs are no ordinary team.  Beecher outscored the Comets 23-3 in the opening period of action.  Horton found difficulty managing the Buccaneer half-court trap.  Beecher forced nine Hanover turnover in the first quarter, and 21 overall.

Coach Mike Williams’ team relies heavily on pressure to gain an advantage in games.

“We want to establish a tempo,” Williams said.  “And by coming out and some  these kids have never been in these situations before.”

Williams compares his team’s game-plan similar to a fight.

“You get into a fight, you want to throw the first punch, and throw the last punch,” Williams stated.  “So it doesn’t matter you win or lose you want to gain the respect of your opponent.”

If the Comets were fortunate to break the Beecher trap, Horton found little success in the half-court.  With a 36% field goal percentage compared to Beecher’s 51% field goal percentage, Horton had little to no room for error on the offensive end of the floor.

In addition to Toins’ performance, the Bucs had a well-rounded performance throughout the roster.  Senior forward Cedric Moten added 18 points, sophomore forward LeVane Blake added nine points and eight rebounds, while sophomore point guard Malik Ellison found success facilitating the Beecher attack, limiting turnovers, and applying on-ball pressure.

The win places Beecher into the Class C state championship game for the third time in the past four years, Beecher won state titles in ’12 and ’13.  Coach Williams also emphasized following the game he has lost as many state championships the same amount he has won.  Drawing on the invaluable amount of experience had led Williams to master the art of preparation.  Beecher’s special “championship practices,” involve grueling hours of sprints and scrimmages.  According to Coach Williams, it’s moments like this that have helped Beecher gain a state-wide reputation of excellence, and foster a sense of connection between the coaching staff and players in pursuit of a common goal.

“If you can’t handle me (Williams) in practice, when the pressure is on in the real game, they you won’t be able to handle it,” Williams said.  “But if you can handle me in practice, and you can get through.”

Williams’ goal for Saturday is to leave with “tears of joy.”

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