BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Cagers knocked out Hazel Park in the running for the OAA Red league title last Thursday as they claimed their 12th consecutive league title with a 48-38 win.
“It was a great win,” said Dan Fife, head coach for Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball. “You could tell our kids were exhausted, but Hazel Park played Tuesday night, too, in a tough game against Troy.”
Not only were the Wolves going into the game to defend their title, but they were witout senior Foster Loyer who wasn’t in the game due to a torn meniscus in the knee from the previous game on Feb. 27.
“It was a good character win for our kids,” Fife said. “I didn’t know what to expect tonight with Foster out – how the kids would respond, and we are playing a team if they win they tie us for a league championship. Most of them have been playing with Foster for three years. He is pretty much the leader on the floor.”
He added all the players had a tremendous input on the final result of the game.
Hazel Park opened with the first point made on the free throw line before senior CJ Robinson put the Wolves into the lead.
The Vikings came back to take the lead by scoring seven points. Clarkston closed in with contributions from seniors Robinson, Taylor Currie and Tieler Houston.
With 89 seconds left in the first quarter Currie put the Wolves into the lead, 11-10, and blocked Hazel Park’s next shot before the stanza closed.
The battle continued and the score remained close during the second quarter by a few points. The Wolves pulled away in the final 20 seconds with a 3-pointer from Houston and a basket from Robinson at the buzzer to close the first half, 26-23.
Robinson and Houston led the team, scoring 13 points each. Houston scored two 3-pointers in the win. Currie had ten points and Wasilk had eight points.
“Houston had some big baskets,” said Fife. “Him and Chase were outstanding. They did a lot of good things in the game. Taylor was outstanding on the boards tonight. He got a lot of rebounds.”
The Wolves opened last week with a 66-60 win over West Bloomfield. Loyer led the team with 25 points. He had seven rebounds and six assists. Currie had 12 points and 14 rebounds. Wasilk had eight points and six rebounds.
Clarkston (19-1) opens the post-season with the MHSAA Class A Boys Basketball District semifinals against Lake Orion on Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.
“It’s a lot easier to practice after you win and sometimes you need to lose so you can regroup the kids,” said Fife. “We just have to concentrate on doing our practices a little differently.”
The district finals are Friday at 7 p.m. Both games are at Clarkston. The district winner moves on to the regional championship at West Bloomfield, March 12, 7 p.m.