EAST LANSING -- It came down to defense Thursday afternoon.
Suttons Bay held Bridgman to 20.6 percent shooting from the field in posting a 52-38 Class C semifinal basketball win at Michigan State's Breslin Center.
The Norsemen (25-1) will now face Melvindale Academy of Business and Technology (25-2) for the state title at noon Saturday. The Gators beat Flint Beecher 86-65 in Thursday's other semifinal.
Melvindale ABT won the Class C title a year ago, but had the title later stripped away for using in ineligible player.
With a win, Suttons Bay can complete the state championship cycle for the four public schools in Leelanau County. Leland (1942), Glen Lake (1959 and 1977) and Northport (1988) captured boys basketball titles previously.
"We're thrilled to be here," Suttons Bay coach Todd Hursey said. "Each step keeps getting better and better."
The Norsemen used an 18-0 first half run to take control in the semifinal. After Bridgman hit three consecutive 3-pointers to surge to a 13-5 lead midway through the first quarter, Suttons Bay held the Bees without a field goal for more than 11 minutes. That eight-point deficit turned into a six-point lead at half, 25-19.
"I can't say enough about how well we defended," Hursey said. "They scored (13) points on us early and then we went on a long stretch where we locked down on defense. That's what it's been all about on our tournament run. Our team defense was outstanding."
Junior forward Dwaun Anderson -- who led Suttons Bay with 16 points, seven rebounds, six blocks and five assists -- said the Norsemen cranked up the intensity after that slow start.
"It was a matter of getting in their face, making it uncomfortable for them to shoot," he said.
Bridgman, which was never able to get closer than six in the second half, finished 14 of 68 from the field, and just 6 of 41 beyond the 3-point arc.