Southfield Christian's Beverly named AP Class D top player
By DREW ELLIS
Apr. 02, 2018
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) — It can be hard enough being the best player on the Southfield Christian boys basketball roster, let alone the best in all of Class D.
Still, junior point guard Harlond Beverly managed to use his practice time against fellow First Team All-State teammates, Bryce Washington and Caleb Hunter, as a chance to raise his game. Beverly did that in 2017-18 and earned The Associated Press Class D Player of the Year honor.
"Playing with Bryce and Caleb really makes me better and any success I have is a credit to them as well," Beverly said. "In practice, they push me to a new level. In games, they take pressure off me because they are capable of scoring and making the big plays."
The trio led Southfield Christian (23-5) to the Class D state championship this season in a dominant postseason run. The Eagles won every playoff game by double digits, including a 64-54 victory over Buckley in the championship game.
Beverly had a team-high 23 points in the final, to go with eight blocks, seven rebounds, six steals and four assists.
"I feel like I got a lot better with my defense this year," Beverly said. "That's an area I want to continue to improve in. We certainly could score a lot, but I think our team defense is what really separated us from other teams this year."
Beverly and the Eagles had plenty of motivation for the season after falling in double overtime in the 2017 Class D semifinal to Powers North Central.
"I felt like I didn't finish the game like I should have," Beverly said of the loss to Powers, a game where he scored 22 points. "I started really well, but I didn't finish the game strong and had a I made one more play here or there, we may have won. So this year I was all about finishing games. I think myself and the team finished games a lot better this year."
This season, Beverly averaged 16 points, six assists, six rebounds and three steals per game. The 6-foot-3 point guard has over a dozen Division 1 college offers, including Michigan State, Ohio State, Butler and Baylor.
Beverly will return for his senior season with the Eagles next winter, joined by Hunter, which will allow Beverly to not have to be the only scoring option.
"I like to pass, so ideally I like to be able to find someone else that's open," Beverly said. "I like knowing that I don't have to do all the scoring and can really just feel free on the court to play instinctively and not just think about having to score."
Joining Beverly on the AP First-Team All-State squad are Washington and Hunter, as well as Dylan Jergens of Howardsville Christian, Trey Helinski of Adrian Lenawee Christian, Peter Kalthoff of Hillsdale Academy, Daniel Everhart of Cardinal Mooney, Austin Harris of Buckley, Jake Witt of Ewen Trout Creek and Devin Schmitz of Dollar Bay.
Dollar Bay's Jesse Kentala was named Class D Coach of the Year after leading the Blue Bolts to a 26-1 record and their first Michigan High School Athletic Association semifinals appearance.
The 2017-18 AP All-State Basketball Team is selected by Michigan sportswriters.