Tough night for Clarkston cagers

By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball has faced a lot of close games this season and Friday’s Chad Tough game against North Farmington was no different.
With a minute left in the game and both teams tied at 43-43, the Raiders scored on a basket and five free throw shots to win the game 50-43.
“We just didn’t make the plays to make that next big step,” said Tim Wasilk, head coach for the Wolves about the last minutes of the game. “We are close. We are getting better. We have to make those plays.”
He added the players were ready to play.

Desman Stephens shoots past North Farmington’s block to score in the first half. Photo: Larry Wright

“Our kids came out tonight,” said Wasilk. “We had a good game plan, and I thought we were executing pretty well. They switched over to man on us tonight and it switched the momentum of the game a little bit. The kids didn’t adjust fast enough or quick enough to it. We got quality shots inside, but we struggled a little bit against the man pressure after seeing their traps all game. We have to do a better job at doing that. Credit to them for making that change.”
The Raiders closed the first half with a 23-20 lead after scoring two on the free throw line right before halftime.
The Wolves opened the second half with a 13-point run, starting with two 3-point shots from sophomore John Kaul and senior Cavanaugh Diton Junior Desman Stephens added five points to the run.
“We have been in so many close games this year, our kids are used to this,” Wasilk said. “They don’t get rattled. That’s a credit to them. Coming out we were used to those games so coming out of half time was just another game for us.”
North Farmington stopped the run with a 3-point shot and added three more points as the third quarter closed with the Wolves leading 36-31.
The Raiders continued to close the gap with a basket and shot on the free throw line to close the Wolves’ lead to two points before they took the lead with a 3-point shot.
Stephen led with 15 points. Senior Brayden Wiley scored 14 points with four field goals. Junior Brody Kosin scored six points and Diton had five points.
The Wolves opened the week with a 55-54 loss to Ferndale, Feb. 14.
Kosin led with 15 points. Kaul scored 13 points with three field goals. Stephens had ten points and Diton and Wiley each scored seven points and had one 3-pointer for the night.
“It was very similar,” said Wasilk. “Ferndale did a really good job pressuring. We turned it over a few too many times for our liking against Ferndale. We were right there. Again, right down the stretch against Ferndale. Wiley had a three to win it against Ferndale and we missed it.”
Clarkston (12-7, 1-4 OAA Red) has three games left in the regular season with two league games on the road against Rochester Adams and Oak Park this week.
Wasilk shared they need to clean up some things on offense and they are getting better on defense.
“Adams and Oak Park we went into overtimes the last time we played them,” he said. “Trying to get better, trying to get ready for March and our playoff run. Hopefully we will get better at the free throw line and limit our turnovers a little bit. If we can do that we will be in a better spot.”
They play Adams on Friday and Oak Park on Tuesday, Feb. 28. Their last home game of the regular season is a non-league game against Stoney Creek on Thursday, March 2. JV plays at 5:30 p.m., varsity follows.

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