BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Wolves proudly held up their trophy after claiming their first district championship since 2013 as the Clarkston Girls Varsity Basketball team defeated Holly, 34-9.
“It’s a great thing for Clarkston,” said Christine Rogers, head coach. “We have a quality bunch of kids. They have worked hard – especially the seniors. They have been with me since I started three years ago. They showed their leadership and their incredible skills tonight to take care of business.”
The Wolves’ defense held Holly from making any points in the first three quarters as Clarkston went on a 25-point run.
“We knew they have an incredible shooter in Becca Fugate,” Rogers said. “We practiced to know where she was, and it wasn’t just one person guarding her. We needed to know where she was on the floor everywhere. Their game plan was to move her around and get her open, and our game plan was to not even let her get open. She got some shots off in the first half which she missed.”
She added the Wolves stepped up their defense more in the second half and Fugate didn’t score until three minutes remaining in the game on a 3-pointer.
“As a team they were talking, they knew where she was, they were boxing out,” Rogers said. “I am very proud. This team was a team tonight and it was incredible to watch.”
Senior Maddie Beck led the team with nine points and had seven rebound and four steals. Seniors Kayla Luchenbach and Molly Nicholson both scored eight points. Luchenbach had 11 rebounds and three blocks and Nicholson had six rebounds and three blocks. Freshman Kaelyn Kaul scored a 3-pointer at the top of the second quarter.
The Wolves opened the district playoffs with a 62-26 win over Brandon, Feb. 28.
“It was a good warm up for us,” said Rogers.
They opened the game with six points with four from Nicholson and two from Luchenbach before Emma Borowski scored for Brandon. The Blackhawks scored five more points before the first stanza closed, 14-7.
“We came out a little slow in the first quarter but then really started meshing,” Rogers added. “It was good for us to play people we don’t normally see every day in practice. These girls practice against each other for four months. It’s tough to recreate game like situations.”
Beck led the girls in the second quarter as she scored 18 points, including two 3-pointers scored in the last 40 seconds of the quarter. The Wolves closed the half with a 38-13 lead.
“Brandon was scrappy. They played us tough,” Rogers said. “They never gave in and we needed a team to prepare us for what we did tonight.”
The Wolves’ momentum grew in the third quarter as they went on a 15-2 run in the first five minutes which included baskets from freshmen Kaul and Sam Aris. The quarter closed with Clarkston in the lead, 55-20.
Beck and Luchenbach led the Wolves as both scored 20 points. Beck had seven steals and Luchenbach had six rebounds.
The Wolves played Birmingham Marian in the regional semifinals on Tuesday.
“They are a good shooting team, but we have a plan on how to handle good shooting,” Rogers said. “They do have a more active post so Molly and Kayla are going to get more of a workout. If we can play like this, communicate, and talk on defense the way we did, the team is better than any one player. We showed it tonight.”
The winner moves on to the regional final on Thursday at West Bloomfield, 7 p.m. The champion will head to the MHSAA Class A Girls Basketball Quarterfinals on Tuesday, March 13, 7 p.m.
BY WENDI REARDON PRICE