By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer
INDEPENDENCE TWP. — In the battle of blue and gold in girls basketball – it was Clarkston who came out with a 48-39 win over Oxford last Friday at Clarkston High School.
“Overall I was pretty pleased,” said Aaron Goodnough, head coach for Clarkston Girls Varsity Basketball. “Our defense was really good. We played so many close games that by now it is becoming habit. They weren’t panicked.”
“The girls played hard,” said Rachel Bryer, head coach for Oxford. “Having one go down at a crucial time of the game is not ideal, but I thought all the girls came in and contributed and did what they needed to do. It didn’t go all in our favor at some points but it is what it is. We tried to battle back and we did it. We snuck in it for a while and then at the end we just couldn’t pull through.”
Oxford opened the scoring with a basket from Allison Hufstedler. Seconds later Clarkston’s Emily Valencia scored on an outside shot to put the Wolves on the board with three points and added another two points to take the lead. Oxford tied it up with a 3-pointer from Braydee Elling.
The Wolves responded, going on an 8-2 run with four points from Brooklyn Covert, a basket from both Ellery Hernandez and Kate Meyer. They finished the quarter leading 14-9.
Oxford closed the gap in the second quarter with two 3-pointers from Peyton Richter and a 3-pointer from Elling as the half closed with Clarkston leading 24-23.
“We went from leading by five points to one at half time and they weren’t panicked at all,” said Goodnough. “I like them being in those tests, but I also like to see them respond and then pull away at the end.”
The battle continued into the second half with the third quarter finishing with Clarkston leading by one point, 33-32.
Valencia and Elli Robak opened the fourth quarter, both scoring a basket, to lead by five points, 37-35.
Oxford’s Emma Beggs cut the Wolves lead after she scored on a 3-pointer.
“Emma came off the bench and hit a big time three for us when we needed her to do that for us that was a big play,” Bryer said.
Ten seconds later, Elia Morgner scored on a basket for the Wolves and the Wildcats responded with three points from Richter.
The last three minutes of the game, the Wolves grabbed the lead, scoring five points before Oxford added one point from the line from Hufstedler.
Valencia led with 14 points. Robak had 11 points and Hernandez had eight points.
“I really like the way Brooklyn plays – consistently plays,” Goodnough said. “It’s tough to remember she is a freshman at times. We were telling everyone to drive downhill and drive towards the basket. She was doing it. She had a couple makes and a couple misses but she drove downhill. Elia had a great game, too. She cleaned up a lot of the junk down there, and I really challenged her to rebound because Richter is Northwood commit and she is a good player. You have to play her out and in so I really challenged her and she did really well.”
Clarkston opened the week with a 27-22 win over Rochester, Jan. 30. Robak led with 14 points. Morgner had ten points and Covert had three points.
“We struggled a little bit on offense and then turned around and probably had the best practice we have had all year,” Goodnough said. “We are shortening practices but we are being laser focused. They are really locked in. It translated to things we did later in the game. I am hoping that is the next step towards finishing strong this season. We are getting there. We are young.”
The Wolves (11-3, 3-2 OAA Red) opened the week against Southfield Arts & Technology on Tuesday.
“They are really scrappy,” said Goodnough. “We play them down there, and they are tough at their place. At the very least I know it will be physical. It always is.”
Clarkston hosts Stoney Creek on Thursday.
“We just talked about it in the locker room. I don’t want them to overlook that game,” Goodnough said. “We are hoping to play really good on Tuesday and carry it into Thursday. We really felt like we gave the Stoney game away. We had a couple things happen that were a little screwy.”
The Wolves head to Lake Orion on Tuesday, Feb. 13. JV plays at 5:30 p.m., varsity follows.
Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball closed last week with a 60-39 win over Rochester, Jan. 31. Hayden Flavin led with 22 points and Cole Charter had 12 points. They opened the week with a 74-41 win over Troy Athens, Jan. 29. Peyton Fitzsimonds led with 26 points and Flavin had 16 points.
The Wolves (8-8, 2-6 OAA Red) host Oak Park on Friday. JV plays at 5:30 p.m. , varsity follow.
By Wendi Reardon Price