Qasawa, North Farmington stay hot, roll past Oak Park and into regional final
Southfield – Towards the end of the regular season, North Farmington found itself in a bit of an offensive slump, but in Friday’s district final and Monday’s regional semifinal, it’s clear that the Raiders are far from slumping in the postseason.
A big reason as to why North Farmington’s slump is in the rearview mirror is senior Anthony Qasawa, who poured in 23 points in Friday’s win over Birmingham Brother Rice.
And on Monday, Qasawa and North Farmington picked up right where they left off as the senior scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Raiders to a convincing 67-46 win over Oak Park.
Former longtime North Farmington head coach (20-3) and current assistant coach Tom Negoshian, who filled in for his son and head coach Todd Negoshian, said that
“We were in a slump a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “I think it was a typical slump at the end of the year and I told my son that it’s a long season and you watch the tournament games on TV and we seemed to be coming out of it and it couldn’t be any better because if you don’t shoot the ball, you don’t win, that’s the bottom line.
Negoshian, who was away from the team due to work matters, is expected to be back on the bench for Wednesday’s regional final at Southfield, where the Raiders will face Detroit U-D Jesuit.
With North Farmington holding a narrow 12-11 lead heading into the second quarter after the Raiders closed out the first on a 10-4 run, the Raiders opened up a comfortable lead and never let go as they went on a 9-0 run to start the quarter behind four points from Jeron Rogers and three from Qasawa to push the lead to 21-11.
“We told the kids, we’re taking good shots, let’s not panic, let’s make sure we’re moving the ball and sharing the ball,” said Negoshian on his team falling behind 7-2 early. “I thought we were turning it over too much, I think at that point we probably had six or seven turnovers and if you take those out of the equation then maybe we’re not down by five.”
From there, Qasawa took over as the senior would score six straight points at one point in the second quarter as the Raiders took a 31-22 halftime lead.
Coming out in the second half, Qasawa picked up right where he left off, staying red-hot from the field, making five of his six shot attempts.
“In the third quarter, I just told myself that I was going to let the game come to me,” Qasawa said. “When I was open, I just hit my shots and it was a great feeling.”
Rogers opened up the third quarter with a 3-pointer, and followed that up by throwing down an alley-oop from Jacob Joubert.
Rogers finished with 17 points on the night.
After Oak Park (12-9) trimmed the North Farmington lead down to 12 on a Varandre White basket, Qasawa knocked down a 3-pointer and another basket on the next possession to push the lead to 16, 47-31.
A Jacob Joubert basket followed by eight straight points from Qasawa to close out the third quarter gave the Raiders a 57-31 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Qasawa scored 13 points in the third quarter.
“I don’t think he’s forcing anything,” said Negoshian of Qasawa’s play in the past two games. “He’s just taking open looks and kids are finding him. (Josh) Hogans had a shot and had an open shot, but he made the extra pass to Anthony in the corner. They all grew up together, they’re all buddies, so it’s really simple to get them to do those extra things.”
Qasawa added that he’s obviously having fun playing as well as he has of late, but is pleased that he and his teammates are still alive in the tournament.
“It’s been really fun, but the win makes it a lot better,” he said. “Playing good helps because it gives us another player that can go out and score.”