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BOYS BASKETBALL: North Farmington rampages past Pontiac behind big game from Rogers

By: Scott Burnstein, December 20, 2013, 8:00 am

FARMINGTON HILLS – The holidays are still a week away, however North Farmington got a head start on the eating portion of the yule tide season, devouring the Pontiac Phoenix Thursday evening for a pre-Christmas feast on the hardwood.

Receiving a pulverizing performance from star junior forward Jeron (Buddha) Rogers, the host Raiders ran roughshod over league-rival Pontiac 65-41 to up their record to a perfect 3-0 entering winter break.

North Farmington was ahead, 31-11, at halftime and 59-22 heading into the fourth quarter.

Rogers, one of the best players in the state’s Class of 2015, busted out of a mini early-season slump by tickling the twine for 34 points to add to his 15 rebounds in only three quarters of work.

Flashing signs of his vastly improved perimeter game, the 6-foot-7 Rogers bottomed a trio of 3s, 11 2-point field goals and went 3-for-4 from the free throw line on the night.

A first-team all-league selection last year as a sophomore, Rogers battled foul-trouble in the season-opener and only scored five points before bouncing back with a better effort of 14 points in North Farmington’s next game.

Following Thursday’s throttling of Pontiac, he was beaming.

“I was struggling a little to begin the season and I came in today and was just attacking more, being more aggressive and that got me going,” Rogers said. “Once I hit my first two shots, I knew I was hot. My teammates fed me the ball and I went after it.”

Raiders’ sophomore floor general Jacob Joubert was a calming influence setting tempo at the point and piloting the North Farmington offense.  He finished with 12 points, six assists and three steals.

Joubert and Rogers helped lead North Farmington to a Class A district title last winter.

They are both the sons of all-time area hoop greats; Joubert’s father is Antoine, the one-time Mr. Basketball-winner with Detroit Southwestern and All-Big 10 pick in college at Michigan and Rogers’ dad is Carlos Rogers, the Detroit Northwestern alum and retired NBA vet.

Todd Negoshian, North Farmington’s head coach, was happy with the way his team competed Thursday.

“This was a good win for the program, a good win for the kids,” he said. “We played good defense and executed well on offense. We were able to let the game come to us and didn’t force things. That’s encouraging.”

Next up for Negoshian and his troops is a twin-bill at the annual Motor City Roundball Classic, where the Raiders will square off with Warren Mott and Ecorse.

North Farmington went to 1-0 in the OAA Red with Thursday’s victory. Negoshian’s Raiders are expected to contend for the league crown this winter, one of several clubs hoping to unseat Clarkston as seven-time champion.

Last year, North Farmington fought Clarkston tooth-and-nail, falling in a down-to-wire contest in the final week of the regular season with the crown on the line.

Pontiac slipped to 2-1 courtesy of the defeat.