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West Bloomfield — North Farmington’s basketball team has just one player who isn’t graduating this year, and it wants to make sure its final run is a special one.

After a close opening half, North Farmington found what it needed to pull away and handle Walled Lake Central with relative ease, 75-64, in a Class A regional final.

“We were a little too anxious to start the night, a little too amped up,” North Farmington coach Todd Negoshian said. “I thought we really sat down and guarded in the second half.”

Riding a 15-game winning streak, it now advances to a quarterfinal matchup next Tuesday at Calihan Hall with the winner between Sterling Heights Stevenson and Roseville.

After a back-and-forth start, North Farmington (22-2) regained the lead late in the second quarter and never looked back, led by Billy Thomas and Amauri Hardy, who had 27 and 22 points, respectively.

Central (20-4) led by five midway through the second quarter before North Farmington answered with a 10-2 run. The teams went into the half with North on top, 33-31. Thomas already had 12 points.

Seconds after the break, Thomas hit a 3-pointer to begin an 8-0 run for North Farmington, leading to a Central timeout with the score, 41-31.

“We just sped up the tempo in the second half,” said Thomas,” We were overly aggressive to start the night.”

North Farmington controlled the lead for the rest of the third quarter.

“They got a little raw to start the second quarter,” Central coach Chuck Spolsky said. “(Going down 10) set us back and we kind of rushed it.”

In the fourth, Central began pressing, but couldn’t chip away at the lead. North Farmington kept making its shots to maintain a double-digit lead.

Runako Ziegler scored 18 to lead Central.

Blake Meakin is a freelance writer

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