Clarkston prevails in shootout against conference rival North Farmington
Farmington Hills — In perhaps the most competitive division in the state, Clarkston and North Farmington met Thursday night in an Oakland Activities Association Red Division showdown where both schools were looking to avoid an 0-2 start in league play.
Trailing by 10 points at halftime, Clarkston rallied in the second half and didn’t take its first lead of the game until there were just 52 seconds remaining. A couple of late defensive stops and a critical takeaway, though, enabled the Wolves to hang on for an important 63-60 win.
"You can flip a coin on any night. This is the toughest it’s been in (the OAA Red), top to bottom," Clarkston coach Tim Wasilk said. "Every team is coming in with gaudy records.
"There have been a few games this season where we’ve been down, so we’ve been in the situation before. We talked to the girls about staying positive, staying with the game plan and turning up the defensive intensity a bit."
The Wolves’ climb from a double-digit deficit was completed with 1:45 to play when a free throw knotted the score, 54-54.
Clarkston (8-3, 1-1) scored the next two baskets. Erika Davenport went coast-to-coast for a layup and Taylor Mullins converted underneath the basket following a North Farmington turnover.
A 3-pointer by Megan Carter brought the Raiders back to within one point with 31 seconds remaining, but Clarkston was able to hit its free throws to seal the victory.
"In a close game, everything gets magnified at the end," North Farmington coach Jeff Simpson said. "There were a lot of things we could have done earlier to extend our lead, but in the end, I think Clarkston finished better than we did. We made a few more turnovers.
"When you play in this league, a 10-point lead is not safe. It can be gone in a heartbeat or gone in six minutes. It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing easy in this division."
Leading the way offensively were each team’s respective Division 1-bound seniors.
Davenport, who is headed for Marquette, recorded 29 points and 15 rebounds for the Wolves, while Carter, who chose Kent State, had a game-high 34 points for the Raiders.
Wasilk said for as much as his team tried to key in on Carter defensively, she couldn’t stopped.
North Farmington (9-3, 0-2) jumped out to a 9-0 lead to open the game. It led by as many as 14 during the second quarter. Turnovers became a problem for the Raiders as the second half developed, leaving Clarkston with multiple opportunities and enough time to pull out the victory.
"I can’t fault the effort of my team at all. I told them if I get that effort every night, then whatever happens, happens," Simpson said.
Clarkston senior Ashley Skaggs and sophomore Meghan Deardorff scored 12 and nine points, respectively. North Farmington’s Kierra Crockett added 14 points.
Both teams return to action Tuesday night. North Farmington hosts Farmington Hills Harrison, while Clarkston faces undefeated Rochester Adams.