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Southfield Christian's #22 Bakari Evelyn pushes the ball upcourt as Orchard Lake St. Mary's #2 Lamon Mathison Jr. tries defending during their game at Orchard Lake St. Mary's, Thursday December 6, 2012. (Oakland Press Photo By: Vaughn Gurganian)

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BOYS BASKETBALL: Evelyn's 37 points lead Southfield Christian to OT win at St. Mary's WITH VIDEO

Orchard Lake St. Mary's #1 Sam McClendon drives to the basket between Southfield Christian's #25 Kameron Garner and #3 Eugene Brown during their game at Orchard Lake St. Mary's, Thursday December 6, 2012. (Oakland Press Photo By: Vaughn Gurganian)

Orchard Lake St. Mary's #33 Peter Bonde pulls down a rebound against Southfield Christian during their game at Orchard Lake St. Mary's, Thursday December 6, 2012. (Oakland Press Photo By: Vaughn Gurganian)

Game Info

Basketball - Boys - 12/6/2012 

Orchard Lake St. Mary's 64 (OT)
Southfield Christian 67
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ORCHARD LAKE – It's hard to imagine someone leaving a better first impression in a season opener than what Southfield Christian sophomore Bakari Evelyn left on Thursday night.

Evelyn poured in a game-high 37 points on Thursday night, including a buzzer-beater 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, to lead Southfield Christian to a 67-64 overtime win over host Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.

After St. Mary’s guard Sam McClendon buried the second of two free-throws to give the Eaglets a three-point lead with five seconds left to play, Evelyn took the inbounds pass and drove up the court and knocked down a pull-up 3-pointer from almost 30 feet away to tie the game at 59-59 and force the extra session.

“My teammates came to me when we were in a timeout and said we were coming to you with the shot,” Evelyn said. “And I had to step up and make big plays, but it’s all because of my teammates. They gave me the ball and trusted me, so I had to step up.”

Evelyn, who returned from a leg injury in the second half, then accounted for six of the eight Southfield Christian points in the overtime period, including a lay-in to break a 63-63 tie and later picked up a pair of free throws to give the Eagles a three point lead with under 20 seconds left to play.

Southfield Christian head coach Josh Baker said that after falling behind by double digits in the fourth quarter he was happy to see his team battle back and give them an opportunity to pick up the win.

“I loved that our guys hung in,” Baker said. “We got down 12, and that’s my biggest thing, to not fall under adversity. If you get down, you have to work twice as hard, so I thought our guys responded well.”

In the fourth quarter, Southfield Christian overcame a 12- point deficit to cut the St. Mary’s lead down inside five points with less than a minute left to play, thanks to four 17 points from Evelyn as the Eagles tallied 28 points in the quarter.

Evelyn said that with Southfield Christian missing junior guard Lindsey Hunter IV because of an injury, his teammates put him in good spots where he was able to score all night.

“I was getting to the basket, and my teammates, with (Hunter IV) being out, looked to me to take control, and that’s a lot to do for a sophomore,” he said. “But they were looking for me and getting me the ball in spots that were right and I was hitting them and they kept feeding me.”

Baker added that the key to his team battling back into the game after falling behind early on had to do with Southfield Christian’s defense, which turned forced turnovers into instant offense on the other end.

“I thought we picked up our ball pressure,” he said. “They forced a few turnovers and we were having a hard time scoring, they (St. Mary’s) are good defensively and they’re bigger than us, so if we can get some turnovers, we can get some points in transition.”

Freshman Eugene (Marlo) Brown quietly put together a solid performance on Thursday for Southfield Christian, scoring 17 points and hauling in 10 rebounds in the win.

Opening up the second half, trailing by one, the Eaglets accounted for each of the first six points in the half, including a pair of jumpers from senior Matt Linehan to give the Eaglets a five point lead early on in the third quarter.

The Eaglets then increased their lead to 11 at the end of the third quarter after Linehan buried a 3-pointer and McClendon hit a lay-up to give St. Mary’s a 44-33 lead.

St. Mary’s head coach George Porritt said that he felt his team was doing a better job of moving the ball to start the second half, along with McClendon and Linehan getting good looks from the floor.

“We were moving the ball better,” he said. “In the first half, I thought we were ragged with the ball and in the second half, I thought we were moving the ball and we were coming off screens a little bit better. I thought Sam had some good attacks and I thought Matt knocked down some good shots.”

McClendon finished with a team-high 26 points, while Linehan added in 15 more points for St. Mary’s.

Last Updated: 12/6/2012 11:58:36 PM EST

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