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Blitz Rewind: 2011 Tri-Unity Christian

The Defenders won their 4th boys hoops state title
Posted at 9:27 PM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 23:06:48-05
Blitz Rewind: 2011 Tri-Unity Christian

The Tri-Unity Christian boys basketball program claimed its fourth boys basketball state championship in the 2010-2011 season.

The Defenders were coming off a 15-9 year and a loss in the regional final, but were led by three outstanding seniors in Durant Vega, Mike Boon and Jordan Buffum.

"When you have good senior leadership they will help you coach," 34-year Tri-Unity Christian head coach Mark Keeler said. "That was something that I can remember about that year."

As is always the case, Tri-Unity played a very tough non-conference schedule which included four class A opponents and five class B opponents. The Defenders lost only twice to Jenison (Class A) and Byron Center (Class A) on their way to an 18-2 regular season.

"You go that whole season undefeated you walk into that postseason going 'we are not going to lose,'" Vega said. "But those (losses) definitely got us back to focusing on what got us to winning all those games in the first place."

One of the many strengths of that Tri-Unity team was the amount of different players that would step up on a given night which was evident in the team's state semifinal win over Eben Junction Superior Central.

"We were doing walk-throughs," Vega remembered, "there was no - this play is going to be for you - we would run open plays because anybody was capable of making a shot or taking it to the rim or anything."

In the class D state final, Tri-Unity struggled out of the gate trailing Fulton, 14-4 late in the first quarter.

"Afterwards I can remember telling the press I don't what school showed up but that wasn't my Tri-Unity team that showed up," Keeler recalled. "But I tell you what, they did show up the last three quarters because the last three quarters we stepped up and played our game."

The Defenders outscored the Pirates 63-36 after that slow start to win the state championship.

"That was my senior year," Vega said. "That is a good way to end your high school career winning a state championship."

Keeler still looks back on that team with great fondness.

"To this day those kids," he said. "I have a lot of good memories with them and even when I talk to them or see them it is fun, we have a bond that has been built."