After the first 10 minutes or so last Saturday, it looked like a rout. When Flint Beecher got up on Traverse City St. Francis by 20, it looked like they could win by 40. It was 41-21 Beecher at the half.
But by the time it was over St. Francis had at one time closed the gap to 53-41, just 12 points, and they ended up losing 74-60 to one of the best teams in the state.
St. Francis lost the game but not their pride or respect for their program in their first-ever trip to the state boy's basketball finals, the culmination of a 25-3 season. It was hardly the Gladiators' first trip to a state championship game. St. Francis has won the state football championship six times and lost in the finals four other times, a dominance equaled by few schools in the state.
St. Francis All-State center Sean Sheldon had an outstanding game with 22 points — 17 in the second half — 19 rebounds and six blocked shots, and SF outscored Beecher 39-33 over the last two quarters.
But it was not to be. Class C Player of the Year Monte Morris led a balanced Beecher attack with 18 points and six assists. Three other players scored in double figures.
Not bad for a football school.