Wednesday's roundup: Freshman lifts Clarkston to win
Troy — Foster Loyer played with the poise of a senior captain Wednesday night in leading unbeaten Clarkston to a 63-58 victory over Macomb Dakota in the Class A regional final.
Loyer, a 6-foot freshman point guard, scored a career-high 35, including 13 during the final quarter.
The game, played before a standing-room only crowd of 2,000, was close throughout, with Clarkston (24-0) leading 29-26 at halftime and 42-41 heading into the final quarter.
Loyer then took over in the fourth, starting with a runner in the lane, then making a 3-pointer to open up a 47-41 lead.
Dakota wasn't done, using its full-court pressure and trapping defense to force multiple turnovers and take a 53-51 lead with three minutes left.
Then, Loyer and his teammates made sure to finish the game strong to earn the right to face Cassius Winston and Detroit Jesuit in Tuesday night's state quarterfinals at Calihan Hall.
"We came out (start of the fourth) and wanted to be aggressive," said Loyer, who made eight straight free throws during one five-minute stretch in the fourth. "Then, they started trapping us, myself included, and we made some mistakes, some bad passes, but we finished strong and that's all that matters.
"Making free throws is huge, without free throws you don't win the basketball game."
And Clarkston also doesn't win the game without the outstanding defensive effort from 6-0 senior guard Josh Bonzheim on Dakota sophomore point guard Jermaine Jackson.
Jackson scored 16, including a 3-pointer with a second left, but was limited to 5-for-17 shooting, 2-for-8 from long range.
"I just gave everything I had, picked him up full court and went absolutely as hard as I could," Bonzheim said of slowing down Jackson. "I just shut him down and tried my best. We just tried to take him off his game. No one's really picked him up full court, and he didn't really know how to handle that, so we took him out of his game and we brought it (pressure) to him."
Bonzheim had high praise for Loyer, saying: "He brought great offense to our game and that is what we were lacking and him hitting shots was big for us."
When asked what was working, Loyer, who shot 9-for-16, including 5-for-9 3-pointers, and 12-for-14 free throws, smiled and replied: "Everything … really, everything."
Senior guard Andrew Myers finished with 12 points for Clarkston, five during the fourth when the team shot 14-for-18 free throws and closed the game with a 12-5 run.
The teams played in the second game of the season, back in early December, with Clarkston winning 52-37. Dakota had won 22 straight since the loss, adding transfers Jackson and 6-7 senior Charles Penn from Mount Clemens.
Penn had six points and five rebounds.
Clarkston made 5-of-8 three-pointers in the opening half to lead 29-26.
Loyer made three three-pointers and scored eight during a 1-1/2-minute stretch, including two threes, to turn a 18-16 deficit into a 24-21 lead with 2:40 left in the half.
Dakota 6-5 senior Alexander Hagel scored 12, but was held scoreless during the second half. He scored 10 of his points, including a pair of 3-pointers, during the second quarter to keep Dakota close. Junior guard Steven Marshall scored 16 for Dakota, including eight in the fourth.
Detroit Henry Ford 70, Detroit Consortium 52: Joshua Davis scored 23 and James Towns had 17 points and eight assists for Henry Ford (19-5). Mikel Tyson scored 17 for Consortium (17-6).
Flint Beecher 78, Southfield Christian 60: Marlo Brown had 20 points, 20 rebounds, six blocks, Richard Feagin scored 12 and Brock Washington 10 for Southfield Christian (22-4). Flint Beecher is 25-1.
Waterford Lakes 58, Allen Park Inter-City Baptist 29: Nick Robak had 29 points and was 15-for-15 from the free-throw line for Lakes (24-0). Brady Fressel finished with seven points for Inter-City (20-5).
Detroit News staff contributed.