North Farmington beats S.H. Stevenson, in semis for first time
Detroit – Coach Todd Negoshian doesn’t want to talk about what his North Farmington team has accomplished. He’d rather discuss what his Raiders have left to do.
North Farmington reached the semifinals for the first time as they defeated Sterling Heights Stevenson, 70-57, in a quarterfinal at Calihan Hall on Tuesday.
The Raiders (23-2) will play Lansing Everett (16-10) in a Class A semifinal on Friday at the Breslin Center at 2:50 p.m.
Everett will make its second consecutive semifinal appearance.
“I’m happy for these guys,” Negoshian said. “From a coaching standpoint it doesn’t hit you until after the season. I understand it’s a special opportunity.”
North Farmington never trailed. It shot out to a 10-0 lead and increased that lead to 35-17 after a Amauri Hardy basket with 2:44 left in the first half.
It looked like the game would get out of hand but Stevenson, making its first quarterfinal appearance since 1983, scored the last six points of the half to pull within 36-25.
As well as Stevenson (20-5) played in stretches the Titans could never get over the hump and apply serious pressure.
Case in point. Bryce Miller’s basket ended a 6-0 run and Stevenson trailed 48-43 with 43 seconds left in the third. North Farmington scored the next nine points to open up a 14-point lead and Stevenson lacked the firepower to make another run.
“We never got into the flow we wanted,” Stevenson coach Mark LaCombe said. “We got stops but we couldn’t get the rebound. When you give up second chance points, it’s tough. You can’t defend a good team twice. It’s disappointing. And they don’t go to the glass that well. It never got to be our style.”
North Farmington held a 40-26 edge in rebounds and Alex Darden got his share. As the only true forward, Darden, a 6-5 senior, had 14 rebounds, four blocks and 12 points.
Hardy led the Raiders with 18 points, Billy Thomas had 15 and Jacob Joubert 13.
Vince Ramaci had 15 points to lead Stevenson and Miller had 12. Luke Lamoreaux and Stacy Howard each added 11 points, and Howard had eight rebounds.
Thomas played his sophomore season at U-D Jesuit and is in his first full season at North Farmington. Ruled ineligible for the state tournament last season by the Michigan High School Athletic Association, Thomas let go a sigh of relief knowing his high school career will end on a high note.
“I forgot the past now,” Thomas said. “I don’t think we can do anything special. We’ll have to play better in the next two games. I don’t think I knocked down shots. But we’ve all been sharing the ball all year.
“And Harden? He fits in very well. He could be a guard on this team. He’s the x-factor.”