BOYS BASKETBALL:  Clarkston 'Loyer's-up to bounce Avondale in regional semifinals | North Oakland Sports

BOYS BASKETBALL:  Clarkston ‘Loyer’s-up to bounce Avondale in regional semifinals

| March 17, 2015 | Comments (0)



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TROY — It was another day at the office Monday for Clarkston.

Another opponent, another victory.

The unbeaten and fifth-ranked Wolves, behind the stellar ply of 6-foot freshman point guard Foster Loyer, picked up their 23rd win of the season by bouncing Auburn Hills Avondale, 74-51, Monday night in the Class A regional semifinals at Troy High School.

Clarkston (23-0) will take on Macomb Dakota (22-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the regional finals at Troy High.

Like an attorney taking command of the courtroom, Loyer was sterling, scoring 20 of his game-high 30 points in the first half in leading the Wolves, who are 23-0 for the first time since 1991. For good measure, Loyer tacked on 10 assists, five rebounds and two steals and was a wizard with the ball. He also finished 11-for-16 from the floor.

“The last time we played them we took it to them pretty well. We knew that they would come at us this time, so we were prepared for that,” offered Loyer. “They came out fired up, they really wanted us. We had to come out and the intensity had to be there. I was able to get open shots in the first quarter and we stayed (even-keel) throughout the game.”

Junior forward Tabin Throgmorton added 12 points off the bench, senior center Jonah Newblatt contributed nine points and seven rebounds, senior guard Andrew Myers scored nine with three steals and senior forward Merrick Canada chipped in with six points for Clarkston, which made 26-of-49 field goal attempts (53.1 percent).

Clarkston blazed out of the gates in a flash, building a 16-6 lead by the end of the first quarter. With Avondale star guard Chris Barton picking up his third foul early ints to pull the second quarter, the Wolves continued to take advantage by outscoring the Yellowjackets 22-11 in the second frame for a comfortable 38-17 cushion at the half.

“I think this was closer than what the final score indicated,” admitted Clarkston coach Dan Fife. “We had a nice start and each time they made a run at us we were able to find the open shooters and knock down shots to pull (further) ahead.”

“I thought Foster played one of his better games. He looks so comfortable out there and I think the guys are comfortable playing with him now,” continued Fife. “When they cut it to 12, we made some nice plays to stop their runs.”

Avondale, which won its first Class A district title last week in 13 years as a Class A school, did cut the deficit down to 12 points on three occasions in the third quarter, the last time at 46-34 with 1:37 remaining in the third stanza. The Yellowjackets, co-champions of the OAA Blue Division, could get no closer the rest of the way against Clarkston, the OAA Red Division champs who have not lost since the regional finals last season to Bloomfield Hills.

The Wolves led 50-34 through three quarters of play.

“It was great to get back here. The last time we won a district was in Class B,” said veteran Avondale coach Tim Morton, who returned to the sideline last winter after a several-year hiatus. “We changed the culture here and brought Avondale basketball back.”

Barton, who missed all but one game his junior season, came back strong in 2014-15 and bowed out of his prep career with a double-double — 23 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Junior guard Dhariae Everett added 13 points for Avondale (20-4), held to 21-for-46 shooting (45.6 percent).

The Yellowjackets shot only 33.3 percent in the first half in falling into a 21-point hole they could not dig out of over the final 16 minutes. The slow start was Morton’s biggest fear.

“You can’t let a team like Clarkston get off to that kind of start. It didn’t help that Chris Barton picked up that third foul, either,” said Morton. “At halftime, we talked about going two ways. We can either fold the tent or come out and play hard in the third quarter. We cut it down to 12 a couple of times but just couldn’t catch up. Clarkston is a very talented team. It was just too much. I liked our effort in the third quarter.”

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