BASKETBALL: Clarkston takes over driver’s seat in OAA-Red with win over Southfield |
BY DAN STICKRADT
CLARKSTON — As a leader of a young team, Jordan Dasuqi knows that veteran leadership is at a premium. He admits that several of his teammates get quite nervous before basketball games at Clarkston this season.
There is a lot of to live up to playing for a storied program.
“Yeah, a lot of the young guys still get nervous,” smiled the senior guard, who has signed with Lake Superior State. “We have such a young team and they sometimes they don’t always understand (the history and expectations).”
Behind Dasuqi’s lead, the Wolves have also ventured into a familiar place — first place in the OAA Red Division and four wins away from a ninth league title in 10 seasons. Clarkston pulled away with a 56-42 victory Friday at home to pull the series sweep of Southfield and move one-half game ahead of the Bluejays (15-2, 7-2).
Dasuqi scored a game-high 19 points to go along with nine rebounds and three assists to lead Clarkston. Andrew Myers added seven points, Press Kampe contributed five points and four boards, Dylan Hancook had six points and Michael Nicholson chipped in four points with nine rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Wolves (12-3, 7-1), who have lost only one game since Jan. 1.
“They have a really good point guard, Jeff Greear,” said Dasuqi. “We had to put pressure on him and not let (Southfield get going offensively). We did a really good job rebuilding the ball and handled the ball really well.”
Clarkston committed 15 turnovers but played some fine ball control offense for long stretches of the game. At one point of the second quarter, Clarkston held Southfield to no field goals for a period of 4:08 and just one free throw in that span.
After senior guard Earl Swift drilled a three-pointer to give the Bluejays a 17-16 lead with 5:55 left in the second quarter, Southfield did not convert another field goal attempt until there was 1:47 left in the frame.
By that point, Clarkston turned a one-point deficit into a 26-21 lead and eventually built a 32-23 advantage by the half.
Clarkston held at least a five-point lead the rest of the game and went ahead by double figures for good when Nick Owens drilled a 3-pointer with 7:02 left in the fourth quarter which gave the Wolves a 44-33 lead. The Wolves outscored Southfield 12-9 in the fourth quarter.
“You can’t have those scoring droughts against a team like Clarkston,” sighed veteran Southfield coach Gary Teasley. “They are always a good team and they have the ball-control offense that once they have the lead it’s hard to come back on them. They did a nice job keeping the ball out of shooter’s hands.”
Southfield was held to a dismal 18-for-60 shooting performance from the floor (30 percent) and only attempted four free throw attempts (3-for-4).
Clarkston coach Dan Fife said his team is still showing flashes of brilliance and stretches of inconsistency. This is Clarkston’s youngest team in a decade with a roster that include six sophomores and five juniors to go along with five seniors.
“It’s really game-to-game for us,” said Fife. “If you saw us against West Bloomfield the other night, we’re still really young. We have a tendency to play young and lose our focus. This is a game where we played well. I thought this was a game where we did a good job on the boards and a good job on defense.”
Clarkston finished the night 21-for-54 (39 percent) shooting from the field.
Greear finished with 10 points and eight rebounds and three steals for Southfield. Isaiah Green added eight points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots and Swift added seven points for the Bluejays.