In Play with Tom Markowski


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Loyer, Alderson team for 59 points and Clarkston breezes past W. Bloomfield, 78-35, to reach first final

By: Tom Markowski, March 24, 2017, 4:32 pm

East Lansing – Foster Loyer missed his first shot on Friday and that was about all he missed.

Loyer scored 12 points in the first quarter, had 20 at half and finished with 32 as Clarkston jumped out to a 22-8 lead 6:24 into the game and easily defeated West Bloomfield, 78-35, in a Class A semifinal at the Breslin Center.

Each team was attempting to reach a state final for the first time in program history.

Clarkston (26-1) will play top-ranked Grand Rapids Christian (27-0) for the title on Saturday at noon.

Christian defeated Romulus, 74-52, in the other semifinal.

Dan Fife is in his 35th season as Clarkston’s head coach and he’s had some of the top teams in the state a number of times but experienced heartache after heartbreak over the years.

His 2009 team lost to Kalamazoo Central in a Class A semifinal, 58-44. Led by his third of three sons, Dane, his ’96 team lost to Southfield-Lathrup, 50-47, on a last-second shot by Mike Chappell in a quarterfinal. In ’98, Dane’s senior season, Clarkston, lost to Detroit Central and Antonio Gates in a quarterfinal. His ’08 team was one of Fife’s best. Clarkston led Saginaw and Draymond Green most of the game but lost, 82-77, in double overtime, again, in a quarterfinal.

“I’ve always had expectations,” Fife said. “The reality was, I dreamed of playing, as a player, in a state final at Jenison Fieldhouse.

“It’s worth a fortune to have these kids.

“It’s satisfying just to get here. I can tell you it’s exciting. There’s so much talk about Fife this and Fife that. This is my job.”

Fife said the team that kept Clarkston from making a long run when he was a player was Pontiac Central.

It’s questionable any team in the state could have defeated this Clarkston team on this day.

Loyer, a junior point guard who committed to Michigan State, was 10-of-17 from the field including 5-of-8 from the 3-point range. He made all seven of his free throw attempts, had seven assists, three steals and no turnovers.

Dylan Alderson, a 6-4 wing who signed with Wisconsin-Milwaukee, had 27 points as he was 9-of-16 from the field. Taylor Currie, a 6-8 sophomore, added 10 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks as he played one of his more complete games.

Clarkston shot 57.4 percent (27-47) from the field and made half of its 16 3-point attempts. The Wolves had 17 assists to two for West Bloomfield.

“When we play like that, on all cylinders, we’re hard to beat,” Fife said. “Our kids were mentally ready to play.”

Kevin McAdoo was the only player to score in double figures (22) for West Bloomfield (17-9).

Foster deflected much of the attention afterward saying that it was a total team effort.

“Each individual has to come in and play their heart out,” he said. “It’s not about scoring points. Our team did a good job of throwing that first punch.”

West Bloomfield, like Clarkston, a member of the Oakland Activities Association Red Division, lost twice to the Wolves during the season, by 11 and seven points. This one was over quick.

“That’s really a good team with really good players,” West Bloomfield coach Jeremy Denha said. “We have good players, too. McAdoo is special. He carried us in many games this season. There are no secrets with Clarkston. It’s coaching. We got beat in every facet. When is Clarkston not on their game? What the heck do you do?

“This is the best I’ve seen Foster Loyer. He’s deceptively quick. People say he’s not an athlete. He’s an athlete.”