Wolves fall to Grand Blanc in regional final

By Wendi Reardon Price
Staff Writer
— Clarkston wrapped the season with a 44-42 loss to Grand Blanc the MHSAA Division 1 Girls Basketball Regional 8 Final at Milford High School, March 13.
“Down to our last shot, I just thought we still had a chance to win it, move on and was just looking ahead,” said Clarkston Girls Varsity Basketball head coach Aaron Goodnough. “Before the game, we said we need to make them play and beat us in a way that they’re uncomfortable with. The first half, we did it. The second half, we didn’t. We lost by two. It’s what we do as a defensive team, we look at your strengths, and we take them away. We’re not going to let you beat us the way you want to beat us. We’re just not gonna let you do it. If you have have a good one or two players, We’re gonna make your other players beat us.
“We’ve started to establish that and it’s become an expectation in the program and in the middle school program as well,” he added. “So, when they get in, they know, if I can’t defend the girl in front of me, I might not play. And that’s, that’s how it’s gonna go. It’s how it’s gonna be going forward.”
Sophomore Elli Robak led with 18 points against Grand Blanc and junior Elia Morgner had 15 points.
The Wolves defeated White Lake Lakeland in the regional semifinal on March 11, 39-27.
Clarkston wrapped the season with an overall 19-7 record and tied for second place in the OAA Red League with a 6-4 record. Freshman Brooklyn Covert and Robak were named to the OAA Red All-League First Team. Junior Ellery Hernandez and senior Emily Valencia received Honorable Mention.
“We had a great season,” said Goodnough. “We are a year ahead of where I thought we would be.We had set a goal for ourselves to get to that regional game. So in terms of that, we accomplished our goals. But once we were there and we were playing really well in the first half I was like, yeah, this is going exactly how we want. Then, we came out in the second half and just kind of balked at the pressure, but got back in the game.”
The Wolves graduate four seniors from the program – Valencia, Kate Meyer, Claire Walker and Jane Sorensen, who served as team manager.
“It’s the first class I’ve coached at every single level,” said Goodnough, who was JV coach four years ago. “Every single one of them played with me on JV. Claire has been around the program forever because her sister played for us. She’s staple in the program.”
He added Meyer is a fantastic teammate and got better every year.
“The girls loved having her around,” Goodnough said. “It was great to have her around.
He shared Valencia is a model of what can be accomplished with hard work.
“Emily is one of my favorite players who as come through the program,” Goodnough said. “We challenged her after her freshman year and said there’s things you’re gonna have to do if you want to play varsity basketball, and you’re gonna have to be more active on offense. Her first two years at Clarkston on defense she was a swinging door, whoever she was guarding was going by her. She decided she was done with it. The last two years, she guarded the toughest player on the other team every single game – that was hard work. She knew she wasn’t strong enough so she was very active in the weight room.”
He added it was great to have Sorensen around the program.
“She knew there would come a day that she wasn’t able to play it,” he said, adding because of her knees. “She wasn’t necessarily happy about it, but she accepted it. They’re all great kids, We will miss them.”
Goodnough shared they have a lot of players coming back and they are already thinking about next year.
“We are in good shape,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of girls coming back. We have some young players coming in that might be able to plug in. I am very positive of where we are at. I had a lot of people come up to me and say you are a lot of fun to watch. They learned a lot. They already know I am going to give them a tough schedule. I told them some of the stuff we are going to be doing and who we are going to be playing. We weren’t ready for it to end.”

Elia Morgner hits a layup. Morgner had 15 points in the game against Grand Blanc. Photo: Larry Wright

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