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Southfield Christian hasn't lost a step under coach Clennie Brundidge WITH TOUT VIDEOS

  • Southfield Christian coaches Clennie Brundidge (left) and Josh Baker take in their team's dominating 97-58 win over Frankfort Thursday night in a Class D state semifinal game. (For The Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
  • Josh Baker, who led Southfield Christian to back-to-back state titles the last two years, missed some time earlier this season. He's back on the bench now. (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • Clennie Brundidge led the Eagles to district and regional titles (as seen above) this season. (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • Clennie Brundidge was a part of last year's state championship team at Southfield Christian. Prior to that he made trips up to the Breslin Center as an assistant for Southfield High School. (The Oakland Press file photo)
  • Southfield Christian coach Josh Baker had to step down early this season while dealing with family matters. He led the Eagles to state titles each of the past two seasons. (The Oakland Press file photo)

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EAST LANSING - Clennie to the rescue.

With their head coach, Josh Baker, sidelined with family medical issues, the Southfield Christian Eagles turned to longtime area assistant, Clennie Brundidge, to head the ship for the 2014 season.

In his second year with the program, Brundidge has made certain powerhouse Southfield Christian didn’t miss a beat.

The two-time defending Class D state-champion Eagles will be seeking a third straight title Saturday morning at 10 a.m. versus Adrian Lenawee Christian in the state championship game.

Just like Bakers’ Eagles teams of the recent past, this year’s club is a high-octane group.

On Thursday night in the semifinals, Southfield Christian pasted Frankfort, 97-68. It was the eighth time this winter the Eagles have eclipsed the 80-point plateau, and fifth occasion they’ve gone over 90 in a single game.

Brundidge has only dropped a single affair on the bench in his inaugural campaign holding the reins. Southfield Christian is 25-1 and was ranked No. 1 in the state the entire season, defeating four of the five Class A teams it faced during the year by double-digits.

“Josh and I think a lot a like, but sometime our methodologies can be different, so the kids had to buy in, after maybe being a little skeptical at first,” said Brundidge of the switchover on the pine. “They saw that what I was doing worked though and embraced it and it's been full-steam ahead from that point forward. These guys are hungry, they want to put up 100 every game. Just like me, they have a heavy will to win.”

Although he's officially on a leave, Baker is always close by, sometimes showing up and running practice and occasionally (like in the current tourney run) sitting on the bench during games.

For Brundidge in his first year filling head-coaching duties, it hasn’t been all roses. He’s guided his team through controversy and tumult, too, not letting the Eagles lose a single ounce of focus. All-state junior point guard Bakari Evelyn left the team for more than a month of the regular season only to return in February. Even with Evelyn on hiatus, Southfield Christian was unblemished (9-0).

“It was an opportunity for others, it made us a stronger team,” said Brundidge of the mid-season situation.

Coaching on the bench at the Breslin Center is not unfamiliar for Brundidge. As an assistant, he was there last season with Southfield Christian and in 2010 and 2011, he was an assistant for his son, Carlton’s back-to-back Southfield teams that appeared in the final four.

Before reaching Southfield, Brundidge was Gary Fralick’s assistant at Troy and played basketball and football himself at Army in the late 1970s (he was coached by Mike Krzyzewski while hooping as a collegiate at West Point).

Right now, he’s simply enjoying the moment.

“I’m honored to be here (in the final four),” he said. “There’s a bunch riding on this, we’ve got a lot of people’s hopes in this community on our shoulders, so hopefully we’ll go out there, have a good time and deliver in the end.”

Last Updated: 3/20/2014 9:04:35 PM EST

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