Young cagers battle in first test of ‘23-24 season

By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Sports Writer
— The Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball team kicked off the winter season with a 52-43 win over Sterling Heights Stevenson at home, Nov. 28.
“I am proud of the kids,” said Tim Wasilk, head coach. “We battled. We had a somewhat comfortable lead at the end but not too comfortable. Our kids competed and they found a way to win. I really liked the guys coming off our bench today and contributing. We played a lot of guys tonight and it was good to see.”
The Wolves opened the night with a basket from senior Peyton Fitzsimonds. Stevenson jumped to the lead with three points with a basket and free throw shot.
Junior Quinn Rosenberg brought the Wolves back into the lead with two points from the free throw line.
Stevenson added seven points to their score with five points from sophomore Mariano Manciel and two points from junior Sam Kashat. The Titans finished the first quarter, leading 11-8.
“The first quarter they had the jitters for sure,” said Wasilk. “We have a lot of new guys out there. We have been practicing, we have been scrimmaging, we have been getting after it, but this is really their first experience for a lot of these guys with starting roles and coming off the bench being on varsity. The lights were on tonight, and the kids were a little nervous. There was some uncharacteristic turnovers I think are going to get better as the year goes on. I think of the first varsity game I had, the jitters and thoughts going inside my head.”
Clarkston opened the second quarter with a 9-point run with points with a basket each from senior Aidan Barnes and Rosenberg. Junior John Kaul added a basket and 3-point shot to help the Wolves gain the lead. The boys continued to hold onto control of the scoreboard and closed the first half, 20-17.
“The second quarter we calmed down a little bit,” said Wasilk.
The Wolves continued to lead throughout the third quarter with the Titans slowly closing in, ending the quarter with four points to cut Clarkston’s lead, 35-32.
Manciel opened the fourth quarter with a 3-point shot to tie the score for Stevenson, 35-35. The score remained tied with each team adding two points with a basket putting them at 37-37.
The Wolves added six points to gain the lead with two points each from Rosenberg, Barnes and sophomore Cole Charter.
“We haven’t even come close to reaching the ceiling for this team,” said Wasilk. “I am excited about this group. We just have a long way to go. The big thing we talk to with the kids is playing Clarkston defense and playing together. We have good shooters on the team. I think as the season goes on and the shots go in there will be more pep in their step on the other side of the floor as well. I am excited about the season and the outlook. We are just going to get better.”
Fitzsimonds had 14 points for the night with three 3-pointers. Rosenberg also scored 14 points during the night. Kaul had seven points with one 3-pointer. Charter and sophomore Hayden Flavin each had six points.
The Wolves opened the week on Tuesday against Detroit Old Redford.
“They are really talented,” said Wasilk.
The Wolves host Lake Orion on Friday. Freshman play at 5 p.m. at Clarkston Junior High School. JV and varsity play at Clarkston High School. JV plays at 5:30 p.m., varsity follows.

Junior John Kaul shoots a basket in the second half of the Wolves’ season opener. Photo: Larry Wright

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