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BOYS BASKETBALL: Clawson stays perfect, tops Royal Oak

Game Info

Basketball - Boys - 12/20/2013 

Royal Oak 34
Clawson 37

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It wasn’t the “Thrilla in Manila” but the fight for the second annual Jerry Barich Trophy was a slugfest between the Royal Oak Ravens and the visiting Clawson Trojans on Friday night. The Trojans kept their perfect record intact at 3-0 with the 37-34 win.

Playing back-to-back nights, the Ravens picked up back-to-back losses and now stand at 3-2 on the young season.

The Ravens led in the first quarter, 13-6 and clung to a three-point lead at halftime, 23-20. Clawson held brief leads at 4-2 early in the first period and clawed back in the second quarter to tie the game at 17-17 with 5:41 left in the half when senior forward Marquian Johnson converted a steal to two points but missed the added free throw when Raven Mitch LaCombe fouled him.

The Ravens ran their offense and got some clean cuts to the basket and Eric Grohs got an easy layup to retake the lead, 19-17. Clawson’s Jared Ocampo hit a three-pointer with 4:16 left to reclaim the lead at 20-19. But Grohs got another back-door layup to put the Ravens up 21-20. With 21 seconds left, Grohs hit two free throws to extent the lead to 23-20 at half.

In the third quarter, Clawson put together its offense and put a 7-0 run on the scoreboard in 1:47 led by Ocampo hitting another three-pointer. Clawson finished the quarter in the lead, 33-27, outscoring the Ravens 13-3. Kavon Thompson ended the scoring with 2:25 in the third when he rebounded an Ocampo miss and put in an easy layup.

Then the well went dry for Clawson. Clinging to its six-point lead, the Trojans didn’t score again until the 2:04 mark left in the fourth period. Sophomore Quinton Johnson converted a three-point play when he was fouled scoring a layup putting Clawson up 36-31. Royal Oak had only managed four points over that span when Dante Valente and Tim Kohloff found points in the paint.

Both teams had ample chances to score as they each missed several scoring opportunities from both the field and the free throw line. Thompson missed four free throws and the Ravens Trevor Beerer missed his one and one chance at the line as well.

With 1:50 left in the game, Clawson’s Chuck Tarver fouled Lacombe and he converted one free throw to cut the lead to four at 36-32. Thompson then hit a free throw for Clawson to push it back to five at 37-32. Kohloff then got a rebound and putback to cut the Clawson lead to 37-34. With 27 seconds left in the game each team had a turnover an after a Clawson timeout, the Ravens stole the inbound pass but couldn’t convert a three-point attempt as both Marquian Johnson and Thompson blocked Raven shots.

For Clawson, Ocampo had 14 points including three-three pointers while Marquian

Johnson had eight points, 11 rebounds, five steals, four blocks and three assists.

Thompson added 10 points and eight rebounds but was 2-9 from the free throw line.

Clawson committed 22 turnovers and was only 4 of 11 from the free throw line.

The Ravens Kohloff had 12 points, Grohs added nine while Valente put in eight and LaCombe added five. The Ravens were only 5 of 13 from the free throw line. Raven head coach Mike Massucci had his team achieving their “keys to success” but still came out on the losing end of the slugfest.

“One was to control tempo and I thought that was something we did. We wanted to

hold them to 12 to 14 points per quarter,” Massucci said. “And we wanted to keep Ocampo off the line. He’s really good at drawing fouls, he’s a shifty player and a savvy guard. We did that. We had a lot of things go our way but now it comes down to execution.”

The Ravens were short their starting point guard, Cordell Dupree, who had injured his ankle in Thursday’s loss.

“He played a few minutes but was ineffective,” Massucci said. “But I guess you can credit Clawson for making adjustments and playing some really good defense in the second half. But we’ve got to learn from this and grow.”

Massucci gave credit to Marquian Johnson’s inside defensive presence as a key to Clawson’s win.

“I don’t know how many blocks he had but if there was a stat for altered shots. He would be in double digits,” he said.

Clawson head coach Rob Fulgenzi used both a man to man and then switched to a zone defense late in the second quarter.

“We really dug in defensively and those kids really wanted to win that game,” he said. “We didn’t put any pressure on them on the offensive end by missing shots and free throws. But on the defensive end we really got it done and communicated out there well. We talked and boxed out well and we were able to pull it out with a rebound and blocked shot at the end.”

With the low scoring third quarter – Clawson had four points to Royal Oak’s seven – Fulgenzi thought there was a problem at the scorer’s table.

“I just couldn’t imagine. I thought there was a malfunction with the scoreboard or something,” he said. “But we had some good looks that we missed and we missed some free throws but sometimes there are games where nothing goes in. But effort and execution on the defensive end is what did it tonight for us.”

Clawson’s next game action is at home January 3 against Hazel Park. Royal Oak hits the court on December 29 in the Motor City Classic Tournament against Cody.

At halftime, long-time Royal Oak coach Terry Powers was awarded his Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame plaque by Clawson head football coach Jim Sparks. The plaque had been at Michigan State since 2012. Powers coached for 35 years and has a 186-134 record.

Last Updated: 12/20/2013 11:02:16 PM EST

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