EAST LANSING -- On Friday afternoon, Suttons Bay coach Todd Hursey experienced something completely new.
When his Norsemen held practice at Okemos High School, he knew it would be the final one for this season.
"It hit me that in my varsity career, this was the first time I've known it was the last practice," Hursey said. "We collected practice jerseys at the end of it. It was kind of strange."
There is no tomorrow for Suttons Bay or any of the other seven remaining high school basketball teams in the state of Michigan. State titles will be awarded in four classes today at Michigan State's Breslin Center, including the Class C showdown between Suttons Bay (25-1) and Melvindale Academy of Business and Technology (25-2).
The Class C title game will tip at noon and will be televised on Fox Sports Detroit.
Suttons Bay practiced at Okemos on Friday, where Hursey's brother Tyler is an assistant coach. He was on staff with the Chieftains in 2006 when they lost to Saginaw Arthur Hill 85-84 in double overtime for the Class A state title.
Todd Hursey will be hoping for a different ending today in his first state final appearance.
In front of the Norsemen is Melvindale ABT and two-time Class C Player of the Year Michael Talley.
"He's a special player that can hurt you in many ways," Hursey said. "It's going to take more than one guy to stop him. Hopefully we can contain him and limit them to one shot."
McBain coach Bruce Koopman agreed. He took his Ramblers to the Class C semifinals a year ago, but fell to the Gators 68-46. Talley had 25 points, eight assists and only one turnover in the game.
"It's funny, we tried playing zone, we tried playing man, but he's just a tremendous player," Koopman said. "The other thing is he's so unselfish. If you double or try to give help, he's going to find somebody open."
While Talley has been the top player in Class C each of the last two seasons, Suttons Bay junior Dwaun Anderson has also been among the state's best as a two-time first-teamer.
"We believe in ourselves and feel like we're on a special run, just like they are," Hursey said.
Special indeed. The Norsemen dropped the season opener to Traverse City St. Francis and haven't lost since.
"The one thing I would try to take into consideration at this point is regardless (of the outcome), they've had a great season," Koopman said. "You have to enjoy the moment. You never know when you're going to go back. In 2002 (when McBain won the state title), I said I wanted to at least make the final so we could bring home something."
Savoring the moment hasn't been lost on the Norsemen.
"I said in the locker room (after Thursday's semifinal win) that no matter what happens, this will be one of the best moments of their lives," Hursey said. "They're going to go on to bigger and better things, but not many high school athletes get to look back and have these kind of memories."
Win or lose, today's game will be talked about for a long time coming in Suttons Bay.
The community has rallied behind the team's playoff run. Norse faithful packed gyms in Traverse City for district and regional games, helped sell out Lake Superior State University's Bud Cooper Gymnasium for the quarterfinal and had a big crowd for Thursday's state semifinal in East Lansing.
Suttons Bay alums have also shown support. Friday night, the Norsemen were invited to dinner at Bob Norris' home. Norris, a 1988 Suttons Bay alum, is currently a team physician for Michigan State.
"It's just another example of Suttons Bay alumni reaching out to say thanks," Hursey said.