East Lansing – Dan Fife will finally get his chance to coach in a state championship game.
Foster Loyer and Dylan Alderson made sure of that, combining for 59 points to lead Clarkston to a lopsided 78-35 victory over West Bloomfield Friday afternoon in a Class A state semifinal at Breslin Center.
Loyer, a 6-foot junior point guard and MSU commit, scored 32 on his future home court, making 5-of-8 3-pointers while also dishing out seven assists. Alderson, a 6-4 senior who signed with Milwaukee, had 27 points.
Fife, the father of MSU assistant and former Mr. Basketball award winner Dane Fife, has a 676-169 record – fourth most wins in state history – in his 35 years at Clarkston. But this will be his first shot at a state title.
Clarkston (26-1) will play MSU-bound Xavier Tillman and unbeaten Grand Rapids Christian (27-0) for the state championship Saturday at noon.
“I don’t think Coach Fife will admit how much it means to him, but I think it’s definitely everyone’s goal from the beginning of every season,” Loyer said of playing for the state title. “You go into each season and your ultimate goal is to finish out with a win. For Coach Fife and for the community of Clarkston, that would just mean the world to all of us and motivate us to keep working even more.”
Loyer set the tempo early, scoring 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, for a 24-13 lead.
“I thought our team did a great job throwing that first punch and setting the standard for how we were going to play the rest of the game and how hard we were going to play,” said Loyer, who made two more threes during the second quarter, scoring 20 first-half points for a 42-24 cushion.
Clarkston shot 57.4 percent from the field, made 8-of-16 3-pointers, held a 35-27 rebounding advantage while having 17 team assists and just four turnovers.
“When we’re playing like that, on all cylinders, we’re hard to beat,” said Fife, who had his wife, three sons and 10 grandchildren in attendance. “We moved the ball well. We rebounded well. We got the ball out, got a lot of shots in transition and I think our defense was really good.
“We knew we’d have trouble with (guard Kevin) McAdoo because he hurt us in the two games we played earlier. C.J. (Robinson) did a great job on him and Taylor (Currie) really helped on the ball screens, really did a good job, because the game before they hurt us a lot on ball screens and Taylor worked on it yesterday and he did a really good job of not letting McAdoo get around him.”
Fife got a big boost from Currie, who finished with 10 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks and will need him to play well in Saturday’s title game against the 6-8, 260-pound Tillman.
“I dreamed of playing in the state championship when I was in high school in Clarkston,” said Fife, who didn’t get out of districts as a player, but went on to play for Michigan in the late 1960s and early ’70s. “I’m just trying to instill it in our kids to have the same dream. So to play basketball and get to this point, they’ll remember this day for the rest of their life, and tomorrow’s game, regardless of what happens.”
It was Clarkston’s third straight win over OAA Red rival West Bloomfield, earning 59-48 and 68-61 wins during the regular season.
Senior guard Kevin McAdoo scored 22 for West Bloomfield (17-9).