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Clarkston tops Oak Park in overtime to remain unbeaten

Basketball   | Ben Szilagy

Clarkston tops Oak Park in overtime to remain unbeaten

Oak Park — Clarkston had to scratch and claw to stay one of the few remaining unbeaten teams. 

The Wolves edged Oak Park 69-63 in overtime in an Oakland Activities Association crossover at Oak Park on Tuesday.

“That game personifies high school basketball,” Clarkston coach Dan Fife said. “Both teams played hard. Oak Park handled themselves very well, and were good sports after the game.

“Any time you play games like this, it’s a learning experience. The effort was incredible. Now, our boys can go into the locker room and know they can find a way to win.”

Clarkston (10-0), ranked No 8 in Class A, entered the fourth quarter trailing 38-34. The Wolves looked towards its senior leadership to cut overtake Oak Park (5-3) with a slew of 3-pointers from Tabin Throgmorton.

“Our team knows who they are, and knows their strengths. Throgmorton is a good shooter. Tabin got in positions to make the baskets, and he made them. It’ll be good for our kids down the road,” Fife said.

Throgmorton (24 points) made two 3-pointers from 20 feet for six of his nine fourth-quarter points. Freshmen guard Foster Loyer played like a veteran scoring eight points and was four-of-four from the line down the stretch.  

Oak Park kept pace as junior Kelvon Fuller was strong around the basket and kept the Knights’ lead late in the game for a 57-55 lead with 12 seconds remaining.

On a missed free throw late, Clarkson looked to senior Merrick Canada to tie the game.

“I told Foster on the free throw that if Oak Park missed it, to hit me up. I wanted Foster in the corner, but Merrick was calling my name. I was hoping we had enough time when I passed him the ball,” senior guard Andrew Meyers said.

Fife said experience paid off for his team at the end.

“Meyers came down and made a great pass. A year ago, he probably shoots that ball. To make that pass, shows how well he sees the floor and how far he’s come as a player,” Fife said.

Canada’s baseline jumper at the buzzer sent the game to overtime tied at 57-57.

Meyers would take over from there for the Wolves in overtime. He scored eight of the team’s 12 points as he made all six of his free throw attempts recovering from a 3-for-8 night against Detroit Pershing on Saturday.

“Coach Fife always puts presser on us in practice, and we practice hard for these situations. Games are easy,” he said. “At the end of practice we have to hit twenty free throws. We all take pride in it, we work on it, and it paid off this time.”

Oak Park received a boost from Fuller (22 points), and two transfers who were eligible to play their first game of the season. Devin Mills (from Ferndale) collected 17 points and senior Rodney Scales scored 15 points for the Knights.

Meyers said that this win will definitely help Clarkston mature before heading into Oakland Activities Association Red Division season.

“We’ve been winning a lot of games by a lot of points,” he said. “We needed this hard test. We had one against Pershing the other night, but we need to know we can win these types of games where we don’t have size on our side.

“Sometimes it’ll take 36 minutes of basketball instead of 32. You just never know”