March 14, 2012 - Wolves' quest for their 19th consecutive district crown ended after two overtime periods last Friday in Swartz Creek.
Matt Dellinger focuses on the basket behind Fenton guards. Photo by Larry Wright (click for larger version)
Fenton's Eric Readman aimed his throw with only seconds to go in the game before his 3-point throw ended the game in favor of the Tigers, 68-66.
"It was a tremendous game," said Dan Fife, long-time head coach for the Wolves' Boys Varsity Basketball team. "It was tough to lost that game. Our kids fought back so hard to come back. It seemed inevitable we were on the losing end and we fought back to tie it.'
The Wolves trailed by five points in the beginning of the fourth quarter after Fenton opened two shots made at the free throw line.
Senior Matt Dellinger closed the gap after ducking a Tiger guard and coming back up with an opportunity to score.
After Fenton's Dylan Hickoff scored at the free throw line with two points, senior Mitch Baenziger added two more points for the Wolves keeping them within one point.
Chance Huth followed it up with his own basket to put the boys into the lead 50-49 with less than six minutes to go in the game.
With a few more baskets from Fenton and Baenziger, the score was tied at 56-56 with a minute to go. Senior Nick Tatu tried one last attempt from midcourt as the last second ran out on the clock.
"No one could get a lead," Fife added about the game. "They were playing almost the same offense as us and neither one of us could guard our offenses is what it looked like. They had so many kids that hurt us. It was hard to defend. We seemed to fight harder for our shots."
Fenton opened the first overtime period gaining a six point lead. Tatu scored on a 3-pointer with 90 seconds to go to cut the lead down.
Dellinger was next after he grabbed a loose ball to gain control and headed to the basket to score. A foul against him sent him to the line for one more point and tie the game, 62-62.
Fenton's Cory Cox scored with 33 seconds left in the overtime period and Dasuqi made an attempt to tie the game. But he had another chance after a foul against him sent him to the line for two points with 2.9 seconds to go.
Dasuqi's first throw bounced around the rim before going in and receiving cheers from Clarkston fans. His second shot went straight in to tie the game.
Baenziger caught Fenton's pass and made one last attempt as the ball hit the rim on the buzzer.
Clarkston gained the lead in the second overtime period with 1:28 left off a basket from Dasuqi from a pass from senior Zach Collins, putting the score 66-64.
The boys kept Fenton from tying the game but a foul against Dasuqi with 26 seconds left sent Readman to the line for two. He missed the first shot but made the second try in and cut Clarkston's lead to one point.
"It was a great game to be part of," Fife smiled. "To watch that game had to be exciting for everybody. Hats off to Fenton. They played their ends off and won a big game. I wish them the best."
Baenziger led with 21 points. Dasuqi had 19 and Tatu added 17 to the board.
The boys beat Holly 73-19 on March 7 to add to their 20-3 record.
"I think they are the most talented team I have had," Fife said. "They played with as much heart as any team I have had. When it is all said and done that makes them successful in life because of the effort they put into things. Going 20-3 with these kids is incredible. I am proud to be a part of that."
The Wolves bid farewell to eight seniors: Mitch Baenziger, Zach Collins, Nick Dahl, Matt Dellinger, Alan Kamieniecki, Travis Smith, Nick Tatu and Mark Tynan.
"They are a great group of kids," said Fife. "I couldn't ask for any more from those kids. It is tough to live up to those kids."
Clarkston has nine returners coming back for next year and Fife added they need to remember the game against Fenton.
"This moment," he said. "Handling the loss, dealing with it and being able to play in these kind of surroundings."
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.