Todd Negoshian has experienced a great deal of success in his nine years of guiding North Farmington’s basketball program, including a Class A state-title game appearance in 2016, a loss to Cassius Winston and U-D Jesuit at Breslin Center.
This year’s team’s ride certainly should be exciting.
North Farmington is off to a 6-0 start to earn a spot at No. 19 in The News Super 20 poll following a 56-48 win over rival Farmington and its four-star junior guard Jaden Akins on Friday, when more than 200 fans were turned away at the door due to the packed house.
North Farmington is getting the job done with its trapping defense. North Farmington forced Akins to a pair of turnovers in the opening minutes, then ultimately came back from an eight-point third-quarter deficit to win, limiting Farmington without a field goal (0-for-8, 0-for-5 3’s) in the fourth quarter until a goal-tending call with 6.6 seconds left.
Negoshian has an experienced coaching staff, including his father Tom Negoshian, along with assistant coach Pete Mantyla. His team lost the bulk of its scoring from last year’s 14-7 team (7-5 OAA Red), but still has talent and experience, led by returning starters in four-year point guard in Justus Clark, guard Marshall Miller and 6-foot-8 junior guard Basheer Jihad who has offers from Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Oakland.
North Farmington also has added physical 6-3 post player Eddie Lenton from Farmington Hills Harrison, which closed its doors for good this past June.
“We like to play hard and our kids have bought into it,” Negoshian said.
Negoshian deflects the success of his team away from himself and on to strength and conditioning coach Billy Slobin, who worked alongside legendary head football coach John Herrington for decades at Harrison. Jihad, younger brother of Oakland freshman center Yusuf Jihad, is one player who has benefitted from Slobin’s training, putting on 20 pounds from his 6-8 frame which carried 185 pounds last year before dropping 12 the last couple of weeks due to the flu which sidelined him for three games.
Jihad returned Friday, still not at 100 percent, and scored 15 of his 16 in the second half to rally his team back from a 42-34 third-quarter deficit with the use of a 21-4 run.
“I had the flu for a couple of weeks, so I didn’t think I could do much, but I just stepped up and did it,” Jihad said.
Other key players include guards Jamal Hayes and Jon Brunette, along with junior guard Deon Hayes, who is Jamal’s younger brother.
The OAA Red also includes perennial state power and No. 4 Clarkston, along with No. 18 Ferndale, West Bloomfield, Oak Park, Lake Orion and Bloomfield Hills.
North Farmington will have multiple challenges this week, playing at Ferndale on Tuesday and hosting West Bloomfield Friday before taking a trip to Belleville on Saturday to play No. 11 Ann Arbor Huron at 6.
Wisconsin-bound guard Lorne Bowman continued his strong senior season Saturday night with a 28-point performance to lead top-ranked Orchard Lake St. Mary’s to a 69-66 win over No. 7 Grand Blanc before 2,000 fans at the GottaGetIt Hoop Classic finale.
Bowman scored 18 in the first half, including 13 during an 18-1 second-quarter run to open up a 37-18 lead.
After Grand Blanc rallied back, Bowman scored 10 fourth-quarter points, including a pair of free throws with 2.1 seconds left to make sure St. Mary’s improved to 5-0.
St. Mary’s — which showcases the top backcourt in the state with junior Julian Roper and sophomore Kareem Rozier joining Bowman — will play host to Ann Arbor Pioneer on Wednesday before opening the Catholic League schedule Jan. 14 at Detroit Catholic Central.
Clarkston, whose lone loss came to St. Mary’s last month, defeated Flint Carman-Ainsworth, 65-56, behind a 20-point, 27-rebound effort of Northwestern-bound 7-1 center Matt Nicholson, who had six points, eight rebounds and four blocks in the opening quarter.
Clarkston sophomore Fletcher Loyer scored 28.
Another big showdown
Earnest Sanders will be heading to Kentucky on a football scholarship, but he showed he can dominate on the court, as well, scoring 28 with multiple dunks to lead No. 5 Flint Beecher to a 76-62 win over No. 8 Benton Harbor at Kalamazoo Central on Saturday.
Sanders scored 15 during the fourth quarter. Beecher senior guard Jalen Terry, who decommitted from Michigan State last year and has narrowed his choices to LSU, Oregon and Louisville, scored 19, making five 3’s in the first half.
Beecher was 10-of-19 on 3’s.
Butler-bound forward Carlos Johnson had 32 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for Benton Harbor.
No star calls
Macomb Dakota is led by Toledo-bound guard Ryan Rollins, who is capable of scoring in multiple ways with his perimeter shooting and ability to drive to the basket.
Rollins scored 15 to help Dakota carry a 52-51 lead over Flint Powers Catholic heading into the fourth quarter in a game at Grand Blanc on Saturday afternoon.
Rollins had just two fouls heading into the final quarter, but picked up his third on a charge with 4:50 left and his team trailing 62-58, then picked up his fourth on another charging call with 1:35 and Dakota trailing 64-62. He then fouled out on … yet another charge with 40.1 seconds left.
Rollins finished with 19 in the 70-62 loss with 6-6 junior guard Owen Lobsinger leading Powers with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Big week ahead
Four games will take place Saturday at Belleville with Ann Arbor Skyline-Detroit Pershing at 2, followed by four-star junior guard Pierre Brooks and Detroit Douglass facing Saline at 3:40; Ann Arbor Huron-North Farmington at 5:20; and Oak Park-Belleville at 7.
... In girls hoops, three-time state champion Detroit Edison will hit the road Tuesday night for a No. 1 versus No. 2 showdown with East Lansing.