BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Opening with a 14-point run in their final game of the regular season, the Clarkston Wolves defeated Lake Orion last Thursday, 57-45.
“We were really good defensively particularly in the first half,” said Tim Wasilk, head coach for Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball. “We got in the passing lanes, we pressured them, we pushed the ball well, we knocked down shots, we went inside. It was good to see in the first half.”
He added it was fun to see the three seniors Trenton Church, Cole Donchez and Matt Nicholson play together especially in the first half.
“The big picture tonight was about Matt, Cole and Trenton and what they have done for our program,” Wasilk said. “They have been great. We are blessed to have them here. Hopefully we can have three more weeks with them. We will definitely be sad to see them go because they have done a lot for our program.”
Donchez opened the night with the first two points on the free throw line. Then, the Wolves added 12 more points from a mix of players before Lake Orion scored two points with 1:21 left in the first quarter. Nicholson and sophomore Fletcher Loyer both scored in the last minute to end the quarter, 18-4.
The Wolves continued to build onto the lead in the next stanza with baskets from Nicholson and Loyer. Sophomore Nathan Steinman hit two of his three field goals in the last four minutes to send the players into half time, 35-8.
Clarkston mixed it up in the second half bringing in more players from off the bench.
“Everyone got in today which is definitely a good thing because it doesn’t always happen for us,” Wasilk said. “We have a lot of tight game so it was good to see that happens.”
Nicholson led with 15 points and nine rebounds. Loyer and Donchez scored 12 points each. Donchez had four rebounds.
“Cole has been doing a great job. He’s a role player, defending and usually covering the other team’s best defender,” said Wasilk. “Nate, Mike DePillo, and Trenton have really done a nice job with quality minutes and rebounding, knocking down threes, having those guys step in those rolls has been huge.”
The Wolves also posted a 79-68 win over West Bloomfield on March 3 to remain undefeated in the OAA Red. Loyer led with 33 points and had three assists. Nicholson had 25 points, 20 rebounds and six blocks. Donchez scored eight points and had four assists. Steinman had five points and three rebounds and Keegan Wasilk had four points and ten assists.
“Keegan has been doing a very good job at the point,” said Wasilk. “He’s not always the leading scorer but he has definitely been rock solid for us defensively. He is getting people on our offense, a vocal leader. He has been really big to our success this year. He doesn’t always show up in the stat book but as far as assists and everything he has brought to the floor has been spectacular for us this year.”
The Wolves (19-1, 12-0 OAA Red) played Rochester Adams on Monday in the first round of district playoffs.
“They are a good team in the OAA,” said Wasilk. “We are taking it one game at a time. I know the kids remember what happened last year as far as losing the first round to Rochester Adams. It’s been a motivating factor for us during the off season. Our kids will be ready to play and be engaged. We are looking forward to it. We have been getting better over the past 10 games here. We are healthy. We will see what we can do, see if we can make a run.”
He added seeing teams outside the league has helped prepare for the playoff season.
“We play some pretty tough non-conference games,” said Wasilk. “It’s always good to go out of conference and see some different teams and different styles of defenses. Playing high level teams like that gives us a different look than we normally see.”
The action continues on Wednesday with the semifinals at 5 p.m. with Clarkston against Oxford and the district championship game is on Friday at 7 p.m. All games are at Clarkston High School.
The winner moves on to the regional semifinals at White Lake Lakeland on Monday, March 16 at 7:15 p.m.
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The Boys JV and Freshman Basketball teams closed the season as OAA Red Champs. The freshman won their game against Lake Orion, 68-49 to finish 14-4 and 10-0 in the league.
The JV team finished a 17-3 overall record and 11-1 in the league after their 52-46 overtime win over Lake Orion.
Both teams finished the regulated time with 40 points. The Wolves opened overtime with six point before Lake Orion scored. Sophomore Karston Peterson widened the gap with a field goal and three points on the free throw line.