BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Lady Cagers downed their cross town rivals Lake Orion to take their fifth win of the season, 67-43.
“Our girls definitely came ready,” said Clarkston Girls Varsity Basketball Head Coach Christine Rogers. “You can tell by the way Kayla Luchenbach and Molly Nicholson played. Molly had ten rebounds in the first half – it just shows she wanted to dominate.”
Lake Orion opened the night with scoring the first basket a minute into the game only to have the score tied by Luchenbach.
The Dragons took the lead back from a field goal from Sophia Canine. Luchenbach closed in with two shots on the free throw line, starting a 9-point run for the Lady Wolves with a basket from Nicholson and five points from junior Kiana Ayotte, with a basket and a field goal.
Clarkston continued to hold Lake Orion from scoring for the remainder of the first quarter with the Lady Dragons’ lone point in the last two minutes from a free throw, closing the quarter, 19-6.
The momentum carried into the next quarter as the Wolves outscored their visitors 13-10 to continue to hold control of the game.
Coming back from the half time, Lake Orion got the scoring going off their basket. Before they could score again Ayotte stole the ball from the Dragons’ possession and headed down the court. She threw the ball and it hit the backboard before going through the net. The shot was the first in the 20-point run for the Lady Wolves with seven points from Luchenbach, five from junior Maddie Beck and Nicholson and three from senior Kristen Page before the quarter closed, 52-20.
“Then, my bench came in and usually when the bench comes in there’s a let up but I didn’t see that today,” said Rogers. “My bench kept pushing. They held the line and they were still looking to be aggressive, offensive and attack – that’s Clarkston Basketball.”
She added the team has been lucky the last few games and they have been able to put players from the bench in the game.
“It is game time and they are used to it,” she said. “Credit to Coach Chelsea Kouri, she started to run them through. I told her ‘you run the subs, you get people in.’ Ali Buscher has really been working hard at practice. Mary McKillop, everytime she goes in she gets half of the assists we have for the night. She is playing very well.”
Luchenbach led the team for the night with 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Beck had 19 points, with four 3-pointers.
“It was a quiet 19,” Rogers added. “The way she really helped us tonight is she was ready to shut down Lake Orion’s best player Maddie Novak. She played great defense.”
Nicholson scored 13 points and had 14 rebounds. Ayotte scored seven points for the night and had three assists and made her presence felt on the court especially on defense.
“I am so impressed with Kiana,” Rogers added. “She has improved so much in the last 2 ½ -3 weeks. She is a floor general out there. She inspires. She’s got defense. She’s got the confidence and she’s got the patience. You can’t teach patience. She’s starting to settle in and she knows what she’s doing. She is confident with what she is doing and that’s what a point guard does.”
The Lady Wolves defeated Birmingham Seaholm on December 13, 65-32. Luchenbach led the team with 18 points and eight rebounds. Beck and Nicholson scored 15 points each.
The girls head to Royal Oak this Thursday and then the Round Ball Classic against River Rouge and Cass Tech next week.
“The competition we have seen so far has really helped us get ready,” Rogers said. “The competition we are going to see in Detroit is really going to test us and show us what we are made of. I am excited. They will be athletic, strong and well-coached.”