By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Fenton — The Wolves wrapped the winter season with a 58-48 loss to Rochester Adams in the MHSAA Division 1 Boys Basketball Regional 2 Finals, March 15.
“I liked how our kids battled tonight,” said Tim Wasilk, head coach for Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball. “We were back and forth most of the game. It was a one point game with four minutes to go. We put ourselves in position. Adams is a well coached team. They have good bigs. They have good parameter players, good shooters. We gave them all we could tonight. We played good inside and out. We just didn’t get done.”
Rochester Adams led throughout the game, closing the first half 20-15.
Sophomore John Kaul opened the third quarter to close the gap with a 3-pointer. After a basket from the Highlanders, junior Desman Stephens scored four points to tie the game.
Both teams battled for the lead and the Highlanders closed the third quarter with a 3-pointer from junior Peter Kardasis in the last second to put the Highlanders up 34-30.
Junior Brody Kosin and Stephens closed the gap for the Wolves within the first minute of the final quarter, both scoring a basket to tie the score at 34 points.
Kardasis scored on another 3-point shot to put the Highlanders back into the lead.
A foul against Rochester Adams with 6:21 on the clock put Kaul on the free throw line for three. Kaul was successful with each shot, tying the score at 37 points.
Less than 30 seconds later, senior Brayden Wiley scored on a 3-pointer, putting the Wolves up 40-37.
The Highlanders added five points to their score with a basket from senior Broder Kawa and another 3-pointer from Kardasis to gain the lead 42-40.
Stephens tied the score and Kardasis responded with another three points to put the Highlanders into the lead.
“Adams has a couple of kids who can shoot the basketball really well, particularly Kardasis who did a hell of a job shooting the ball,” Wasilk said. “In the fourth quarter he had three 3s, deep ones. It swung the momentum for them in their favor.”
Rochester Adams finished the last three minutes outscoring 13-6 to win the regional title.
“We didn’t make big plays in the last four minutes and they did. That was the difference,” Wasilk said.
Stephens led with 17 points and Kosin had 11 points.
Clarkston played the Highlanders twice in the regular season in OAA Red league play. They lost the first game in overtime, 44-42, and the second time, 73-45.
“We knew what we were up against,” said Wasilk. “We had them well scouted. We just didn’t make the plays down the stretch.”
Clarkston defeated Fenton in the regional semifinal in a double overtime win, March 13, 69-68.
“It was a great game,” said Wasilk. “A lot of energy. A lot of emotion. A lot of back and forth. It was an awesome game to be a part of and an awesome atmosphere for our kids. In regulation, first overtime and second overtime, I felt like either team could have won. We just happened to be in that situation to make big plays.”
Stephens led with 30 points and Kosin had 20 points.
“It was good to see,” Wasilk added for the two players.
The Wolves finished the season 16-10 overall and 1-5 in the OAA Red in fourth place.
“It was a good season for us. Our kids really improved throughout the year. It was good to see,” said Wasilk. “Based on how we were playing early on compared to where we are now to be in this situation in the Sweet 16 is pretty good. Again we wish we could still be playing.”
He added it will help the returning players and the underclassmen coming up to varsity.
“It’s always exciting to be part of the tournament, to win some games and make a little bit of a run,” Wasilk said. “It helps with the momentum into the off season for our guys on the team and the younger guys.”
The Wolves graduate three seniors – Wiley, Cavanaugh Diton and Frank Schuster.
“They are hard nosed kids, good kids, good in the classroom, and brought it every day to practice,” said Wasilk. “They did a good job of being leaders on our team and in practice, in games and outside of practice. It was really good for the guys to be a big part of Clarkston Basketball. We are going to miss them for sure.”