Clarkston — This wasn’t the type of Senior Night defending Class A champion Clarkston had planned on Thursday night in its regular season finale against Hazel Park.
But in the end Clarkston was still celebrating, after defeating Hazel Park 48-38 to win the OAA Red Division title outright.
Mr. Basketball finalist Foster Loyer was sitting on the bench, unable to play due to a slight meniscus tear in his left knee which he suffered in Tuesday night’s 66-60 win at West Bloomfield.
Loyer will be reexamined Monday to see what his status will be for the state tournament. Clarkston will host Lake Orion in a district semifinal Wednesday.
Thursday’s showdown was for the OAA Red title with Clarkston owning the top spot, having handed Hazel Park its lone loss Jan. 30 in a one-sided 70-39 rout, using a 20-0 run to take a commanding 31-6 lead midway through the second quarter.
Loyer scored 34 in the initial meeting, making 9-of-13 shots from the field, along with 13-of-15 free throws, with C.J. Robinson chipping in with 13 points and 6-foot-9 Taylor Currie, 18 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks, including six points, seven rebounds and two blocks in opening quarter.
“It’s an emotional night, having to walk out there with my family and then seeing all my teammates behind me,” Loyer said. “I can’t say enough about my teammates. They stepped up in every aspect of the game. C.J. had 13 points, but stepped up his leadership. He took over from that aspect, the communication, everything he does for us. I can’t say enough about my teammates and how happy I am for them.
“This was the first game I’ve had to sit out in my career, have to say it was the first game I got nervous for. I’m struggling a little bit right now, but I get re-evaluated Monday and we’re hoping for the best and I hope to be back next week. I have a partial tear in my meniscus, but you can play on that.”
In the rematch, Hazel Park showed it was ready from the opening tip, playing physical and with tremendous energy to take an early 8-2 lead despite picking up a foul 4 seconds into the game, two in the opening 28 seconds and three before the first quarter was 2 minutes old.
Hazel Park guards David Hearns and Devin Pettus each had two fouls midway through the opening quarter.
With Foster sidelined, senior C.J. Robinson (13 points) took over at point guard and did a solid job, scoring off drives, runners in the lane or short jumpers or finding Currie (10 points, eight rebounds) inside.
Robinson scored eight and had four assists in the first half and Currie had 10 points (5-of-8 shooting) and six rebounds to help Clarkston take a 26-23 halftime lead.
Clarkston senior Tieler Houston made the most of his extra playing time, scoring a career-high 13 after coming in with 17 points on the season. He also had seven rebounds.
Clarkston took control late in the third, ending the quarter with a 7-3 run, started with Houston’s inside basket with teammate Chase Wasilk scoring four, including a pair of free throws.
It was during that run that Hazel Park’s Devin Pettus missed a transition layup after making his seventh steal and his teammates failed to connect from 3-point range, making just 3-of-15 through three quarters.
Clarkston senior Nick Wells stepped up big during the final minutes, making four straight free throws for a 45-38 lead after Robinson had missed the front end of two one-and-ones.
Pettus finished with 16 points, making 4-of-10 3-pointers while his teammates made just 1-of-13.
Pettus’ final 3-pointer pulled Hazel Park within 39-38 with 4:30 left, but Clarkston’s defense came up big the rest of the way.
“We got two fouls off of tipped ball so right then and there you’re setting the tone, letting us know how you’re going to call the game,” Hazel Park coach Brandon Barrett said. “At the end of the third quarter, it was 12-3 against us in fouls and we attacked the lane all the time.
“Referees telling me you can’t Euro in high school, two steps is two steps. I’ve never heard that before. My thing is this, could we have made more plays? Yes, we could have made more plays. We just can’t let the refs dictate our performance.”
More boys basketball
Bloomfield Hills 52, North Farmington 46: Collin Hecker scored 11 and Tyler Canfield nine for Bloomfield Hills (6-14, 3-9 OAA Red). Kendall Hayes had 19 for North Farmington (8-12, 2-10).
Detroit Western International 63, Wayne Memorial 53: Tray Jackson had 27 points and 12 rebounds and Demario Walk scored 14 for Western (9-9). Rashad Williams had 24 for Wayne Memorial.
Farmington 72, Berkley 63: Jaden Akins scored 33 and Ray Bryant 10 for Farmington (13-7, 11-3 OAA Blue). Gregory McGee had 16 for Berkley (10-10, 4-10).
Oak Park 70, Birmingham Seaholm 50: Sanna Sisawo scored 13 and Maliq Carr had 11 points and 17 rebounds for Oak Park (18-2, 13-1 OAA White). Brady Flynn had 19 and Zach Zieger 14 for Seaholm.
Okemos 47, St John’s 31: Jordan Henry scored 20 and Evan Thomas 10 for Okemos (16-4). Demarquis Washington scored 14 for St John’s (2-18).
Troy 77, West Bloomfield 62: Leon Ayers scored 22 and Jason Dietz and Danny Sully 21 each for Troy (15-5, 8-4 OAA Red). Donovan Moore had 22 for West Bloomfield (11-9, 6-6).
Troy Athens 54, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 48: Taylor McCaskill scored 14, Jacob Brantley 13 and Brendt Stephens 10 for Athens (15-5, 10-4 OAA White). Trevor Smith Jr. had 14 and Cameron Keaser 12 for Stoney Creek.
Utica 51, Macomb Lutheran North 48: Nik Jgonaj scored 10 for Utica (6-14). Ethan Deng had 12 for Lutheran North.
Woodhaven 53, Dearborn Heights Crestwood 39: Brent Bryan had 13 points and Daivon Ready 11 points and 10 rebounds for Woodhaven (16-4). Crestwood is 5-15.
Brother Rice 5, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 0: Garrett Moore had two goals and an assist for Brother Rice.