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Finding identity



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December 29, 2010 - Cagers are making their New Year's Resolutions and long-time coach Dan Fife hopes they include focusing on their identity as a team and getting their confidence back.

The boys were in the gym during holiday break, practicing and going through drills after their 41-40 loss to Troy-Athens, Dec. 21.

"There weren't too many bright spots in our game there," Fife admitted. "Credit to Troy-Athens, they did what they had to do to win the ball game we didn't. We had opportunities but we played so poorly in the first half it was almost like we let the Carman-Ainsworth loss (Dec. 15) spill over."

The Red Hawks capitalized on Clarkston's misses, the Wolves hitting only five of their 28 attempts on the basket, and led going into half-time by four points, 18-14.

The Wolves opened the second half with a six-point run, aided by a field goal from junior Nick Tatu.

But the tide turned again and the boys lost the lead by the time the buzzer ended the third quarter.

Troy-Athens held a three-point lead into the last two minutes in the game until junior Matt Dellinger scored two points.

The Wolves tried three more shots to gain the lead, including a final attempt from senior Max Collins all missed, ending the game down one point.

"It was one point but it was like we were swimming upstream all night," said Fife. "Some say our defense held Athens to 41 points, but they just played to 41 and it was good enough for them to win."

Tatu led the team with 22 points, scoring six three-pointers throughout the game. Junior Mitch Baenziger added nine points and scored one field goal.

The Wolves, keeping in mind their 1-2 record, are focused on their next week of games, beginning Jan. 4 at Southfield and continuing on Jan. 7 against Oak Park at home.

"Southfield is a tough place to play and tough team to play," said Fife. "In fairness, Southfield is talented and right now they are playing with confidence. They know who they are. Right now we are questioning who we are because we haven't created our identity."

The boys are looking for a win after their loss to Southfield last year in the MHSAA Regional Championship game, 67-57.

Fife added the boys should have an identity established by the end of the holiday break to help them as they go against the Bluejays and into their OAA Red league games.

"This is the time, over Christmas, we need to regroup and every player figuring out what their role is and figure out what they need to do to contribute," Fife continued. "Each one needs to determine it and if they haven't determined it, then each one has to change my opinion."

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.
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