MSU commit Foster Loyer helps Clarkston breeze past West Bloomfield, 78-35 to advance to state title game
The sight of green and white and maize and blue jerseys square off at the Breslin Center is a familiar sight for most spectators, but the teams on the floor weren't.
Clarkston's junior point guard and MSU verbal-commit Foster Loyer scored a game-high 32 points to help lead Clarkston high school (26-1 overall) on Friday past the West Bloomfield Lakers (17-9 overall) 78-35 in the MSHAA Class A state championship semifinals.
With the win, the Wolves completed a three-game season sweep over West Bloomfield and will advance to the state championship game on Saturday.
"When we're playing like that on all cylinders we're hard to beat," Clarkston head coach Dan Fife, who picked up his 676th career win in 35 seasons said. "We moved the ball well, we rebounded well, and we got a lot of shots in transition."
Loyer helped the Wolves get out to an early 5-0 lead. Clarkston started the game on a 13-5 run. Senior shooting guard Kevin McAdoo became a crutch for the Lakers on offense, the 6-foot-2 McAdoo scored 10 of West Bloomfield's 13 points in the first quarter. Three of McAdoo's field goals came from 3-point range.
"For us to make this magical run and get to the Breslin and be able to play Clarkston for the third time, despite the outcome being disappointing, but it's about the journey too," Lakers head coach Jeremy Denha said. "I'm so proud of these guys."
Clarkston, however, established the offensive rhythm from early on and took a 24-13 lead into the second quarter. Loyer went off for 12 points and junior guard Dylan Alderson chipped in eight while the Lakers were held 4-of-11 shooting for the quarter.
"You come into each game and you tend to visualize that mindset that they're going to play their heart out and do the little things that will set them up to do well on the offensive end," Loyer said. "It's not about coming into the game and trying to score points, it's about doing the little things to help your team."
Clarkston's defense continued its stranglehold into the second quarter and limited West Bloomfield to 18 percent from the field in the quarter. The Lakers shot 2-of-11 from the field, with both shots coming from 3-point range.
Loyer and Alderson combined for another 14 points in the half as Clarkston extended its lead by 18 to take a 42-24 edge into halftime. On top of Clarkston's lockdown in the backcourt, the Wolves were also shooting 50 percent from three and 15-for-26 from the floor in the first half.
The Wolves continued theiroffensive attack throughout the second half to seal the game for good. Clarkston dominated the third quarter to the tune of a 22-6 run. All three of West Bloomfield's scores came from McAdoo while the rest of the Lakers shot 20 percent for the period.
The Lakers were again held to just five points in the fourth and a 2-for-13 stint from the field. By the end of regulation, West Bloomfield was limited to 22 percent from field goal range, while Clarkston shot a 57.4 percent clip from the floor.
Alderson complimented Loyer's 32-point showcase with 27 of his own on 9-of-16 shooting and 7 free throws to boot. Loyer scored 10 buckets, 5 of which came from deep range. Junior guard Chris Robinson was the only player from Clarkston to tally a double-double, with 10 points and 16 rebounds.
"I thought we moved the ball well," Alderson said. "We didn't force up any shots, I liked all of our cuts. The back cuts were strong. Our screens were perfect. We just played well as a team."
McAdoo was the only Laker to reach double-figure scoring and finished with 22 points.
"I thought our defense was good today, but I knew we were going to have trouble with McAdoo," Fife said. "Because he's hurt us in the two games from earlier."
The Wolves will play the winner of Grand Rapids Christian and Romulus Saturday at noon. The berth to the state championship is the first in Fife's tenured career. During Fife's tenure, he's amassed a 676-169 overall record.
But to Fife, it's not about the personal accolade. Fife wants his players to be recognized for the program's accomplishment.
"To be honest, I'm not really worried what it means to me," Fife said. "The reality is I dreamed of playing in a state championship when I was in high school in Clarkston. I wanted to get to Jenison (fieldhouse) ... I try to instill to the kids the same dream. To play basketball and get to this point, they will remember this game for the rest of their life."