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Wolves put chink in Knights' armor

Mitch Baenziger keeps his guard against Oak Park. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
January 12, 2011 - Junior Nick Tatu opened the game against Oak Park with a pair of three pointers on Friday night.

Another shot from outside the arc from senior Matt Rodgers put the boys at nine while the Knights remained at zero.

Keeping the momentum for the remainder of the game wasn't hard as the Wolves kept adding more points, ending the game 77-37.

"It was a step for us we needed," said Tatu about the boys second win after three losses. "Tonight was a big step for us. We were able to move the ball and get our offense going and play a good defense. We started off beating St. Mary's. It was a good game for us against a good team. Then, we started slowly decreasing after losing to Carman-Ainsworth."

Dan Fife, long-time Wolves Boys Varsity basketball head coach, hopes it is a small step in the direction the team needs to go after losing three consecutive games.

The boys went into the second half leading 46-22 and they kept denting the Knights' defense.

With 4:15 left to go for the night, Mitch Baenziger sunk his basket putting the boys at 74-34 - activating the running clock.

A three pointer from Wolf Stacy Murray and two points from Knight Antoine Jones ended the game at 77-37.

"It was good for the morale of our kids to get us going," he said. "We had a tough week."

The Wolves first game coming off break led them to Southfield's gym, where they controlled the game for the first three quarters.

The tides began to turn with four minutes left in the game when the Bluejays went on a 18-2 run.

Layups from Mitch Baenziger and Nick Tatu kept the gap small but fouls against Clarkston sent their opponents twice in the last 30 seconds for four shots, ending the game 63-60.

"We played better against Southfield," said Fife. "Our intensity was higher than it has been but we found a way to lose along the stretch. Good teams find a way to win down the stretch when the heat is on."

"We weren't able to finish the game," said Tatu, adding it was a good game for the boys.

"They helped us because they showed us what teams are going to do. They are going to turn up the heat against us and we are going to have to be able to match it. With Southfield being one of the best teams in the state I don't think we are going to be matched up better than they are. No team is going to bring the heat like they did. "

Tatu led during both games, scoring 14 points on Southfield and 27 on Oak Park with six field goals against the Knights.

"Tatu shot the ball as well as you can shoot it," said Fife.

Also, leading the board against Southfield were Jordan Dasuqi with 13 points and Marcus Hardy with 11.

Hardy scored 15 against Oak Park.

"It was his best game," added Fife. "Offensively and defensively. He played the ball the way I wanted it to be played."

Clarkston faces a busy week playing four games within seven days.

"We will find out a lot about ourselves next week because there is no rest - all good teams," said Fife. "I am anxious to see how we play."

"Keep on going. Keep working hard," added Tatu. "We can't step back."

The boys head to Farmington Harrison on Thursday night, then the Horatio Williams Freedom Classic on Saturday, and to Pontiac next Tuesday.

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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