BY DAN STICKRADT
CLARKSTON — A year ago Clarkston suffered through a rebuilding campaign, and the Wolves were hurting in more ways than one.
Its best player was slowed by a long comeback from a serious knee injury, the Wolves had just one senior and were far from being a mature basketball team. Collectively the team struggled immensely shooting from just about everywhere on the basketball court and finished well under the five-hundred mark.
Clarkston has grown up over the course of the past year, and Friday’s 47-45 overtime win against Rochester Stoney Creek was an indication of that.
The Wolves (2-3, 2-3) outscored Stoney Creek 6-4 in overtime after using a 9-6 fourth-quarter to force the extra session in the OAA Red Division game.
Anna Manilla led a balanced effort for Clarkston, scoring nine points. Megan Hastings scored eight and Delany Kenney chipped in with eight points, six rebounds and five assists.
Tori Trimmer, a junior transfer from Stow, Ohio, added seven points for Clarkston, while Lindsey Reppuhn and Christina Jokisch both scored five points for the winners.
Delaney made a pair of free throws and Manilla split a pair from the charity stripe in the final minute to help Clarkston take the lead for good in overtime.
“I think we are just mature than last year,” admitted Clarkston coach Tim Wasilk. “We still have only one senior, but we have a lot of girls back from last season and some pretty good newcomers.
“What I really like is our depth. We have a lot of girls who are contributing and everybody is starting to understand their roles,” said Wasilk. “Plus we have matured a lot since last season and we are shooting the ball a lot better.”
Gabby Yurik scored 22 for Stoney Creek (2-4, 1-3), including a trio of 3-poointers and 7-for-7 shooting from the foul line. Emily Wood added seven points but only four other Cougars scored points.
“We really wanted to shut down their shooters,” said Wasilk. “I thought we did a good job there on a lot of them. Yurik still scored 22 but we didn’t let anyone else score in double figures. Stoney Creek has some very good shooters.”
Stoney Creek led 15-10 after the first quarter and 27-23 at the half. Clarkston used a 9-8 edge in the third quarter to cut the deficit down to three points
Last season, Stoney Creek eliminated Clarkston in a Class A district opener. This time they pulled away.
“It was a very good game last season until about midway through the fourth quarter, then they went on a run on us and pulled away,” recalled Wasilk. “This time you could see our improvement in just how they played in the fourth quarter and overtime. We didn’t panic.”