BOYS BASKETBALL: Magee’s heroics lead unbeaten Dakota past Clarkston in double-overtime thriller

| March 15, 2016 | Comments (0)



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MACOMB TWP. — Chris Magee didn’t get a chance to drag himself up-and-down the basketball court Monday for nearly 40 minutes. The junior guard from Macomb Dakota received spot duty off the bench against fellow state-ranked opponent Clarkston.

Magee still made the biggest play of his high school career in front of a standing-room only crowd of more than 3,000.

Magee’s baseline-drive off a feed from senior guard Steven Marshall found the bottom of the net with six seconds left, while 6-foot-8 sophomore Thomas Kithier blocked Clarkston’s Dylan Alderson’s desperation three-pointer attempt at the final buzzer in Dakota’s thrilling, 68-66, double-overtime victory over the visiting Wolves in the Class A regional semifinals.

Dakota (24-0) will host Rochester Adams (18-5) in the regional finals Wednesday. Adams dispatched Ortonville Brandon 47-38 in the other semifinal Monday.

“Steven Marshall attacked and dished it off to me and it was an easy finish,” said Magee. “He’s a great attacker and he’s been attacking the basket all year. It wasn’t a designed play, just our players making plays.”

“This team is unselfish,” said Dakota coach Paul Tocco. “We wanted to get an isolation for J.J. (Jackson) until about eight seconds and when they went to double, he moved it and (Marshall) attacked like we told him to attack and he found the open guy. We’ve been preaching that for years, being unselfish and I’m just very proud of the way we executed down the stretch.

“What an amazing game,” continued Rocco. “Fortunately for us, we made the play in the end. It could have gone either way to be honest.”

In a 47-47 deadlock entering the first overtime, both teams scored 12 in the first extra season with Kithier picking up a late steal to forge a second overtime.

In the second OT, Jackson’s NBA-range three-pointer put Dakota up 66-64 with 1:11 to play.

Clarkston’s Foster Loyer tied the game at 66-66 with 1:07 when he converted a pair of free throws — Loyer has made 45 straight from the charity stripe, including 11-for-11 in the regional contest.

Dakota wound down the clock and Magee delivered the knockout blow.

“He back cut him,” said Clarkston coach Dan Fife of the game-winning shot. “It just happened. It was one of those things. The kid made a good play, good pass, good bucket. We couldn’t get off a clean look in the end.”

Jackson finished with 25 points for Dakota. Kilthier added 20 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots, while Marshall had 16 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals for the Cougars, who held a 33-22 edge in rebounding.

Dakota finished 24-for-49 from the floor (49 percent), while Clarkston finished a season-low 23-for-63 (36.5 percent).

“That was a heck of a ball game,” added Fife. “It was just two teams playing their butts off and things happen like this. They made one more play than we did. And we didn’t shoot all that well.”

Loyer, an Associated Press All-State First Team pick as a freshman, finished with a game-high 27 points and five assists for Clarkston (20-3). Senior forward Mitch Heaton finished 5-of-6 from the floor and added 13 points, Alderson chipped in with nine points, five rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots, and senior forward Tabin Throgmorton twined nine points with seven rebounds, four steals and three assists for the Wolves, who forced 21 turnovers.

In a sloppy first half that saw a combined 12 turnovers, eight by Dakota, Clarkston built a narrow 20-19 lead at the break.

Dakota outscored Clarkston 17-14 in the third quarter for a 36-34 lead, while the Wolves held a 13-11 edge in the fourth stanza.

The Wolves were an uncharacteristic 7-for-27 from the floor in the first half, while Dakota made only 8-of-22 shots over the first 16 minutes of play.

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