February 29, 2012 - The Wolves clinched the OAA Red title after winning their game against Southfield, 61-43.
Alan Kamieniecki battles his way past two Southfield defenders. Photo by Larry Wright (click for larger version)
But the win wasn't as easy as the scoreboard portrayed as the Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball team fought through presses, turnovers and pressure on the court.
"We are taking the ugly win," said Dan Fife, head coach. "Southfield hasn't won a lot of games in the league but they should have. They are a lot better than their record shows. We had to play too hard mentally. We got consumed in ourselves when we made a mistake or missed shots."
The boys led ending the first half, 23-16.
"They are a good team," said senior Mitch Baenziger. "We struggled to take care of the ball. Once we got down on their offense we were able to have success. They had a ball pinch on us and it is something we have to work on."
Senior Nick Tatu opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer and Southfield scored four points in return. Zach Collins added a basket and Tatu scored five more points to build a 33-22 lead.
By the time the third quarter ended, the Wolves put eight more points on the board - from Jordan Dasuqi, Alan Kamieniecki and Matt Dellinger. The Bluejays put nine more points on the board.
"Everytime we got up on them, they cut it," said Fife. "We just hung in there and made key shots."
Dellinger opened the last quarter with a basket only to have Southfield score on two free throw shots. Chance Huth followed it with a basket and Baenziger shot a 3-pointer before Southfield scored again. The boys continued to build momentum and climb raise their side of the scoreboard.
Tatu led with 17 points, scoring on five 3-pointers. Dellinger scored ten points and Baenziger had nine points.
The boys beat Rochester Adams on Feb. 21, 77-51. They opened with a 23-9 lead in the first quarter and kept building going into the remainder of the game.
Tatu and Baenziger led the team, scoring 16 points each. Matt Dellinger and Dasuqi scored 13 points each and Dylan Hancook added seven points.
It was Dellinger's return after being out for five and a half wins and it helped.
"Delly does a lot of things people don't see," said Fife. "He does the physical press. He has the toughness and the mental toughness."
The wins brought the boys up to 16-2, 10-0 in the OAA Red before they went into their last week of the regular season.
The Wolves host West Bloomfield on Thursday for their last game of the regular season.
JV begins at 5:30 p.m., varsity follows.
The boys play Grand Blanc in the first round of MHSAA District playoffs on Monday at Swartz Creek High School, 5 p.m.
"We have seen them," said Fife. "They can do some things but not things we haven't seen before. It is a new season. Tomorrow is a new day. It is going to be about where our mind is."
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.