Friday, March 27, 2009

Clarkston's Breslin Debut Sours In 2nd Half

EAST LANSING, MI -- In what might be the only time the color combination of blue n' gold ever looked good in Michigan State's Breslin Center, the Clarkston Wolves walked onto the floor to start Friday's Class A semifinal in the home whites but walked off the floor feeling blue.

Kalamazoo Central's Maroon Giants proved to be too tall and too quick for Clarkston's 'Big Three' to survive another round in a 58-44 victory. When it wasn't near-giant Doug Anderson throwing down a handful of monstrous dunks and controlling the boards, it was anything-but-giant Juwan Hemphill running circles around the limited pressure the Wolves could muster.

The game was tied at 27 at the half. The Wolves surged to take a 31-27 lead but Central came right back. Terry Buchanen's triple just in front of the 5:00 minute mark of the 3rd put the Maroons into the lead for good. Buchanen tripled again a minute later and the Wolves never contended again.

As bad as the news was for Clarkston, it could have been worse. Brandon Pokley's 23 points, including a perfect four-of-four from behind the triple line, kept the Clarkston five alive but the dream died in a fourth quarter gone arwy. Down just 44-41 to start the final stanza, the Giants ran away for the victory, sucking any and all drama out of the final quarter. Jared Lawrence's bucket while being fouled with just 32.8 seconds remaining was the only Clarkston field goal of the final eight minutes. Lawrence added the free throw to complete Clarkston's only fourth-quarter points.

In the second game, despite no Oakland County teams playing, there was a distinct county presence. The game featured Detroit Pershing's Doughboys and the Romulus High Eagles; the three-man officiating crew featured Southfield resident Wallace Whitfield and Hazel Park High School Principal Don Vogt, who was designated as the game's Referee.

~T.C. Cameron is the author of Metro Detroit's High School Basketball Rivalries, due in August, 2009 from Arcadia Publishing.

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