Posted On: 12/19/17 6:56 AM
The Horatio Williams Tip Off Classic has always been filled with some of the state’s top talent. This event has the format of Detroit Public School league teams versus other schools. PSL basketball has always been special. This year the event took place at the historic Cass Tech High School, reigning city champions. As usual, this event did not disappoint.
The showcase game of the event for many was the game between Class C Detroit Pershing and Class D Southfield Christian. Both teams have rich histories in Michigan basketball and are state title contenders again this season. Pershing is a team loaded with seniors, and have everything needed to succeed. Size, depth, shooting and athletes that can beat teams in many different ways. Southfield Christian is a high scoring, high octane team that has some of the most elite talent in the state. They have 3 players with D1 offers, and another who looks like he could pick some up sooner than later. From start to finish, this game was highly entertaining and ended up being the most exciting game of the event.
Both teams traded buckets for most of the game, and neither team could get more than a couple buckets ahead of each other from start to finish. It ended up going to overtime, and was neck and neck for much of that period as well. However in the end, Southfield Christian’s lack of depth proved to be its downfall and Pershing ended up winning the game 81-74.
Below are my 10 best from this highly entertaining game.
MVP: D’Juan Seal- 2018 6’4 SG Pershing
Seal is one of the best players available in 2018, and he played like it in this game. He frequently fills the stat sheet and contributes on both ends of the floor, and against Southfield Christian, it was no different. “Toodles” did all his damage inside the three point line and at the free throw line, scoring 21 points while going 5-5 at the line. He also grabbed an impressive 13 rebounds, and was a force defensively. He had 2 steals and a pair of blocks as well. Seal played like a D1 caliber player once again, and did it against other future D1 players.
Best offensive performance- Bryce Washington- 2018 6’4 SG Southfield Christian
Washington, like Seal is one of the top available players in 2018. He too, played like it. He scored a game high 25 points, and did it scoring from anywhere on the floor. He knocked down a pair of threes, had several baskets at the hoop, and also got to the free throw line. Washington is considered by many to be the top shooting guard in the 2018 class, and he did nothing but help that claim for those who believe that in this game. Washington also chipped in 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
Best Defensive Performance- Charles Brown- 2018 6’5 SF Pershing
Brown really put the state on notice that he too is one of the best available seniors in Michigan. He did a bit of everything for his team, including being a versatile defender. He was active attacking the glass, grabbing 7 rebounds, and also was active in getting his team transition opportunities. He had 3 steals and a block and played tough defense on Washington and Beverly all throughout the game.
Best shooter- Pierre Hill- 2019 6’1 SG Pershing
Hill was the only non-senior to make an impact for Pershing, but he made a huge one. He was by far the top shooter in this game. He knocked down a game high 4 threes, and frequently caused issues for Southfield Christian because he demanded the team shade towards him, opening the floor for guys like Seal and Brown to attack the rim from the wings. Hill has a quick release and moved well off the ball to get into pockets where he got himself free and teammates could find him. Hill finished with 20 points.
Best underclassman- Daijon Humphrey- 2020 6’2 SG Southfield Christian
Humphrey was on fire early for Christian. He scored 8 quick points and was their best player for much of the first quarter. Humphrey showed he could finish both at the rim, or step out and hit from range. He also is one of the team’s top defenders, and usually guards one of the opposing team’s top perimeter players. He filled the stat sheet this game and he played older than what most sophomores would in these types of games. He rarely seemed rattled or nervous. Humphrey looks like one of the next D1 players to go through Southfield Christian. He finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Best intangibles- Jayln Benning- 2018 6’5 PF Pershing
Benning came up clutch for Pershing in the 4th quarter and overtime. He was simply superb. A strong, wide frame allows him to be a force inside, yet he was mobile enough to check Southfield Christian’s perimeter players whenever they drove to the hoop. His heroics defensively were critical towards Pershing’s success outlasting Southfield Christian in overtime. Benning finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block.
Best stat stuffer- Harlond Beverly- 2019 6’5 CG Southfield Christian
Beverly did not play even close to his best this game. Yet he still nearly posted a triple double. He displayed good vision handling the ball and when he made passes he put them in shooters pockets or led teammates in transition and put the ball in a area that they could easily finish the play. He did most his damage in transition scoring, where he showed great ambidexterity finishing with either hand. Beverly also got involved both on the glass and on the defensive end. He grabbed 7 rebounds, had 3 steals and 1 block to go with his 8 assists and 20 points. An impressive all around performance with Michigan in attendance.
Unsung Hero- Ron Hill- 2018 5’9 PG Pershing
Hill is one of the best remaining point guards available in Michigan. Against Christian, he was frequently getting to the line and converting, going 9-10 in the game. He also did a great job at running the offense, controlling the tempo and setting his teammates up in the halfcourt. He also did a great job defending one of 2019s best point guards in Caleb Hunter. Hill finished the game with 13 points, 5 assists and 3 steals.
Best glue guy- Caleb Hunter- 2019 5’9 PG Southfield Christian
Normally Hunter would not be considered a “glue guy”, but in this game he seemed to play more that role. He made a huge effect on the game despite not scoring a ton. He got after it on defense and created multiple on ball turnovers. His handles allowed him to regularly penetrate the Doughboys defense as well. He has some of the top handles in the state. And combine those with his blazing speed and you have potentially a very lethal PG. Hunter finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
Biggest takeaway from the game: Both teams could be taking home state championships in March
I would not be shocked to see both Pershing and Southfield Christian being crowned the class C and D state champions at the end of the year. As stated above, Pershing has the size, depth and talent to hang with and outplay almost every team in Michigan. They can play a variety of different style games with their mixture of talent and strengths in each player. Southfield Christian has a high octane offense and 4 dynamic players offensively that can take over games with solid role players. In class D, they should have more than enough firepower to get by everyone relatively easy outside of Buckley. If those two do meet, it will be in the Class D title game.
Pershing’s biggest threat is Detroit Edison (DEPSA). DEPSA, like Pershing, has a ton of size, skill and experience on their team. Pershing i think has more depth but DEPSA has the winning mentality, having been to the semis last year. Whoever can win that likely matchup in the postseason will be the safe bet to win C. You can’t discount teams like Calvin and Covenant Christian, Dansville, PW, Manton, Glen Lake and a others. But in terms of raw talent, DEPSA and Pershing stand above the rest. If both Pershing and SC play line they should, both teams should expect to bring home state titles.