Strong start with win

Clarkston News Sports Writer
The energy was electric at the Dan Fife Fieldhouse on Friday night in the Wolves’ home opener as a basket from sophomore Fletcher Loyer started the running clock 12 seconds into the second half.
The Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball team finished the game against Utica Eisenhower with a 67-13 win.
“We were really good,” said Tim Wasilk, head coach. “First of all, we changed our warm ups a little bit. We were really good in warm ups getting ourselves ready to play. Then, right from the get-go we came out ready to play. We looked hungry.”
“There was a lot of energy,” added sophomore Keegan Wasilk. “It helped us play. After last year’s disappointment (first round of districts loss), it just motivated us. We came out ready to play.”
The boys put their first points on the board less than a minute into the game on a 3-point shot by Loyer, off a pass from Keegan.

Fletcher Loyer runs down the court in the first half of the Wolves’ season opener on Friday. Photo by Larry Wright

The Wolves went on a 17-point run with contributions from seniors Matt Nicholson, Cole Donchez, junior Isayah Harris and Keegan.
Eisenhower closed the first quarter with one point from the free throw line by Chris Caladinow with 13 seconds remaining.
“It’s pretty good to hold a team without scoring that long,” Nicholson said. “We played pretty good on defense and offense as well. It was good to see what practice does.”
Utica Eisenhower opened the second quarter with a 3-point shot. Clarkston responded with going on another run this time with 20 points scored.
“We pushed the ball well on the break,” said Wasilk. “We made some shots. We established an inside presence with Matt. Then, on the other end we defended pretty well and got in the passing lanes. Matt did a great job defending the rim on the defensive end as well. Keegan did a really good job of distributing the ball and pushing the ball on the fast break. Fletcher shooting the ball from the parameter and our guards spotting up on the fast break. It was a good all around game.”
Loyer led with 15 points, with five rebounds and three field goals. Nicholson scored 14 points and had 13 rebounds. Keegan had 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Donchez had seven points. Sophomore Zach Austin had six points off two field goals and three assists.
Wasilk added sophomore Nathan Steinman had a good night.
“He is one kid who has really stepped up with having some kids injured,” he said. “He was a kid we were going to have play on JV this year. He ended up starting. It shows what hard work, getting in the gym and buying into what we are doing does for a kid. He did a nice job. I am proud of his effort. He wasn’t nervous. He came in and played well. He made some nice passes and it was good.”
With the lead over Eisenhower, the Wolves were able to play 11 players, as the other four players are sick or injured.
“Our subs did a nice job,” Wasilk said. “Everybody got a chance to play. We rotated eight guys in the first half. They did a good job, played hard, competed. There wasn’t a drop off. They maintained what our starters did – that was good to see.”
The Wolves head to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (1-0) on Friday.
“They are a good team,” said Nicholson. “I feel like it’s going to be easier to keep the energy going throughout the whole game. Hopefully we can keep the first quarter energy we had into all four quarters, more if we need to.”
“We know St. Mary’s is top in the state,” Loyer noted. “We need to prove we are up there with them, and we can go there and beat them. We will have lots of energy to play and be ready to win.”
Keegan added the win over Utica Eisenhower will help going into the road game.
“It will give us a little bit of confidence, but we still have to be humble and notice we’ve got a really good St. Mary’s team with what we are up against,” he said. “We can’t take this win to far because it is the first game of the season.”
JV plays at 5:30 p.m., varsity follows at 3535 Indian Trail in Orchard Lake.
“St. Mary’s will be one of the tougher teams on our schedule,” Wasilk said. “If not the toughest team. We will be looking forward to four good days of practice. It’s going to be a totally different ball game with their athleticism and toughness of the game and their height at their place. It will be a lot of fun.”

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