Several Upper Peninsula players named Division 4 boys all-state
Da’Jion Humphrey knew the importance of being a senior at Southfield Christian.
The Eagles have created a legacy of being a power over the last 10 years and the 2019-20 season was his chance to be a captain and lead Southfield Christian toward another championship.
“Coming into this year I knew I had to step up my game and be more of a leader because of the departure of some great leaders we had,” the senior guard said. “It really meant a lot to me to be a captain and a leader for this program.”
What resulted was Humphrey, a Holy Cross commit, averaging 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.6 assists per game while leading the Eagles to a 17-4 record. He earned The Associated Press Division 4 Player of the Year honor.
Humphrey and the Eagles had all four of their losses this season come against Division 1 programs, and they were the top-ranked team in Division 4 throughout the season.
“We had a lot of confidence as a team and we had great chemistry,” Humphrey said. “We all knew our role on the team and everybody stayed within that role. We felt like if we were a unified team, that nobody in Division 4 would be able to stop us. We wanted to be one of the best teams in the state overall.”
While no area players received all-state recognition in Division 4, a number did from other areas of the Upper Peninsula. They were led by seniors Ashton Janke of Dollar Bay and Nick Edington of Pickford, each picked for the First Team.
On the Second Team was another senior, Brett LaFord of Carney-Nadeau, while making the honorable mention list were seven more — Luke Gorzinski and Noah Gorzinski of North Central, Zach Englund of Mid Peninsula, Tyler Sundling of Rapid River, Davin Hill of Dollar Bay, Jaden Borseth of Ewen-Trout Creek and Zach Gross of Brimley.
Since 2012, the Eagles have won five Class D/Division 4 state championships. They were the two-time defending state champs this season, but had added motivation with the departure of longtime coach Josh Baker to become an assistant coach at the University of Alabama. Baker’s veteran assistant, Clennie Brundidge, took over the head coaching position and earned Division 4 Coach of the Year honors.
“We were a little more hungry this year and I think it’s because we wanted to prove that we could still win with a new head coach,” Humphrey said. “Coach Baker was great and taught us all a lot about hard work, but Coach Brundidge has been with us for years too and we really wanted to win a title for him. It was definitely an added chip on our shoulders.”
Southfield Christian’s bid for a third straight state championship ended when the MHSAA canceled the remainder of the postseason due to the COVID-19 outbreak prior to the district finals.
“It broke my heart,” Humphrey said of the postseason ending prematurely. “I really love putting on that Southfield Christian jersey and being able to play with my teammates. I love those guys and I wish I knew that (the district semifinal) would be my last chance to play with them and for Southfield Christian.”
Joining Humphrey on the Division 4 All-State first team from the Lower Peninsula are Blake Goodman of Novi Christian Academy, Joseph Kimmerer of Hale, Blake Cassidy of Pellston, Jack Stefanski of Frankfort, Chase Ingersoll of Fife Lake Forest Area, Jared Dugener of Muskegon Catholic Central, Conor Gausselin of Battle Creek St. Philip and Brendan Busch of Will Carleton Academy.