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Iron Mountain’s Foster Wonders makes Division 3 boys basketball all-state

Iron Mountain’s Foster Wonders, top left, gets his fingertips on the ball as Flint Beecher’s Keyon Menifield puts up a short jumper in the third quarter of the MHSAA Division 3 boys basketball state championship game played April 10 at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

Flint Beecher has turned into a factory for outstanding point guards. Keyon Menifield is the latest model to come off the assembly line.

The latest wave of the production started with Monte Morris, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, in 2013. It continued with Malik Ellison in 2017 and Jalen Terry in 2019 and 2020.

All of the point guards were named The Associated Press Division 3 Player of the Year, winning the award in the aforementioned years.

Now, the Bucs have another Division 3 Player of the Year in Menifield.

Menifield led Beecher to its sixth state championship since 2012. He scored 37 points in a 75-47 victory over previously unbeaten Iron Mountain in the Division 3 title game.

Flint Beecher's Keyon Menifield Jr., front, runs into the forearm of Iron Mountain's Foster Wonders while dribbling to the basket in the fourth quarter of their MHSAA Division 3 boys basketball state championship game played April 10 at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

He was joined on the Division 3 First Team all-state by Mountaineers senior Foster Wonders, who was a finalist for Mr. Basketball and was named Mr. Upper Peninsula Basketball by the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association on Saturday.

Menifield drew high praise from his coach.

“He’s the most unique out of the players that I’ve coached,” said Mike Williams, who was named the Division 3 Coach of the Year. “He’s got a wiggle and a stop and go to him that you don’t see very often. It’s almost like a Jamal Crawford or an old-school Corey Hightower.”

Eastern Michigan and Cleveland State have offered him a scholarship.

Menifield isn’t physically imposing at 6-foot-1, 155 pounds, but that doesn’t stop him from going inside to score against big men. He is also a capable 3-point shooter and can freeze defenders with stop-and-pop, mid-range jumpers.

Against Iron Mountain, he made 17 of 27 shots. At one point in the second half, he was outscoring the entire Iron Mountain team.

Menifield has been on the Beecher’s varsity steam since he was a 5-2 freshman playing alongside All-State players Terry and Earnest Sanders.

“People really thought once we lost Jalen and Earnest it was over for him,” Williams said. “Me and the coaches would look at each other in practice and laugh and say, `If we don’t win it (in 2020) we’re definitely going to win it next year.’ Keyon had to go against Jalen (now at DePaul) and Earnest when he was 5-foot-2. Now that he’s 6 foot 1, the game is easy. A lot of people would question why would I bring this (freshman) up being so small. He made me look good.

“I told him, `You win a state title, you’re right up there with all the greats that come out of Flint. They’ve got to mention your name. You’ve got to be in the conversation. I’m not going to argue you’re No. 1 or No. 2 but you’re in the conversation.'”

In leading Beecher to a 16-2 record, Menifield averaged 26 points, 9.3 assists, 6.6 steals and 4.7 rebounds. He scored a game-high 27 points during a 78-63 loss against Division 1 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, which spent the entire season ranked No. 1 by The AP.

Joining him from the Lower Peninsula on the 10-man first team are senior Malcolm Clements of Ypsilanti Arbor Prep, junior Tharren Hill of Detroit Pershing, senior Gavin Etter of Marcellus, junior Jayce Warren of Bridgeman, junior Carmelo Harris of Beecher, senior Nolan Finkbeiner of Hemlock, senior Drew Hess of Oscoda and senior Bryce VanderWiere of Schoolcraft.

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