The Clarkston state championship football team was on hand for a banner (upper right corner) raising and award ceremony during half time festivities at the boys varsity basketball game Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Basketball - Boys
BOYS BASKETBALL: Clarkston basketball tops Rochester on same night of football title celebration WITH TOUT VIDEOS
Jonah Newblatt, Clarkston, blocks the ball and the drive of Jason Lee (3), Rochester, during boys varsity basketball action at Clarkston Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Mike Murri (left), Rochester, drives to the basket as Andrew Swanson, Clarkston, goes up for a block during boys varsity basketball action at Clarkston Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
Jason Lee (foreground), Rochester, reverses his dribble in front of defender Alex Trim, Clarkston, during boys varsity basketball action at Clarkston Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)
CLARKSTON — Despite a 12-0 run to begin the third quarter, Rochester was unable to rain on the Clarkston parade Friday night as the Wolves emerged with a 55-41 victory to regain first place in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division.
On top of winning a basketball game, the Wolves were celebrating Clarkston’s first Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 football title with a new banner in the rafters.
Clarkston head football coach Kurt Richardson was also presented with a trophy as part of MaxPreps tour of champions, one of 50 teams to be honored after finishing the season ranked 136 nationally.
“Our kids here are obviously very good football players,” Richardson said. “But they’re even better people. That’s what our program is all about.”
Longtime Clarkston (9-2, 5-1) basketball coach Dan Fife said the football championship helped start the basketball season on a high note.
“Any state title we win, whether it’s tennis or ski or football, it’s great for our school and our program,” Fife, who doubles as the school’s athletic director, said. “Football being so successful in the fall gets the year started right so everyone’s on a high about Clarkston.”
The victory on the hardwood marked number 595 in Fife’s career at Clarkston, and he said he’s proud of the people his players have become, but still yearns to win an elusive state championship on the hardwood.
“I’ve always dreamed of winning a state championship,” Fife said. “It’s unbelievable for Clarkston teams to be so good, so successful, and I just feel like that’s one of my goals that I’ve never accomplished, of winning a state championship. But, when I think in the quiet times at night, I look at all my players and those wins and look at what they’re doing today. I know so many of them are good husbands and good dads, and they’re successful in life. Ultimately, I think that’s what coaching is all about. What are you doing for kids later on, not just here.”
Clarkston was out-shooting Rochester (2-9, 1-5) early in the game, building a 19-4 lead after the first quarter, and holding the Falcons to just two field goals while building a 25-6 lead with 4:27 to play in the first half.
Rochester made a couple 3-point shots to close out the first half with the deficit at 28-14. The Falcons then opened the third quarter on a 12-0 run, capped by a Anthony Williams layup.
Fife said he needed to seek God to stop the Rochester run.
“I’m praying at that point,” Fife said “After the other night at (West Bloomfield) I don’t know where our kids are at right now. When (Rochester) went on that 12-0 run what we talk about is defense, and we’re giving up easy baskets, and we’re doing silly things.”
Fife’s prayers were answered with layups from junior guard Andrew Myers and senior guard Nick Owens, who was fouled on his drive and converted the old fashioned 3-point-play, in a span of 30 seconds.
The Wolves then stepped up the defensive intensity and kept Rochester off the scoreboard for the rest of the quarter, building a 35-26 lead heading to the final frame.
Owens finished the game with 19 points thanks to solid outside shooting, including four 3-point buckets.
“(My shots) felt really good,” Owens said. “When I was turning them loose, they felt really good, and I had a lot of support from my teammates to keep shooting.
The Wolves got 13 of their 20 fourth quarter points at the free throw line. One of the guys knocking down second half free throws was Tabin Throgmorton who finished the game with 17 points.
“Throgmorton is a good outside shooter, and a good ball player,” Fife said. “It doesn’t allow people to just load up on Owens. Now you have to cover him too. When you have two players to stop, it can be very difficult.”
Michael Murri led the Falcons in scoring with 14 points while Terron Dumars offered some scoring off the bench for Rochester, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 11 points.
After falling into second place in the division with a loss to West Bloomfield on Monday, Clarkston regained first place with the win after the Black Hawks fell in overtime to Rochester Adams Friday night.
Fife would like to win an eighth straight OAA Red title, but said it’s too early to be looking that far ahead with less than half of the Wolves league games completed.
“I want to win every game I coach,” he said. “A lot of people might think it’s not that big a deal, but it’s a big deal. But, I’m not sure this is going to be a one- or two-loss league. There’s just too many good teams.
The Falcons will next be on the hardwood in Bloomfield Hills (9-2, 5-2 OAA Red) on Thursday.
Clarkston hosts Flint Carmen-Ainsworth (9-2, 6-0 SVL) on Monday.
CLARKSTON 55, ROCHESTER 41
ROCHESTER — Michael Murri 5 (1) 1-3 14; Jason Lee 1 (1) 4-4 9; Demetrius Magee 2-5 2; Anthony Williams 1 2; Randy Kelley (1) 3; Terron Dumars (3) 2-3 11; Totals: 7 (6) 9-15 41
CLARKSTON — Alex Trim 2-2 2; Josh Bonzheim (1) 3; Press Kampe 0-2 0; Andrew Myers 1 4-7 6; Nick Owens 3 (4) 1-1 19; Drew Swanson 0-2 0; Merrick Canada 1 2; Tabin Throgmorton 2 (2) 7-8 17; Michael Nicholson 1 4-4 6; Totals: 8 (7) 18-26 55
SCORE BY QUARTER
R 4 10 12 15 — 41
C19 9 7 20 — 55
RECORDS — Rochester 2-9, 1-5 OAA Red; Clarkston 9-2, 5-1 OAA Red
JV — Clarkston 49, Rochester 30