North Farmington Hangs On In Battle Against Southfield 62-60

4 Mar

IMG_0192North Farmington led comfortably 43-26 against OAA Red foe Southfield with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter. The Blue Jays were ready to call it a day, however, junior forward Miguel Priest wasn’t. Priest scored seven of Southfield’s next 15 points in a 15-6 Blue Jay run to close the third quarter, and place his team down single-digits entering the fourth.

“Teams like Southfield feed of their energy and build confidence making it tough to stop,” said junior guard Billy Thomas.

Southfield’s confidence continued to build. A 10-2 spurt within the first three minutes of the fourth sparked by two threes from sophomore guard Reme Torbert knotted the game at 51-51. Three minutes later, sophomore point guard Michael Flowers connected on a three to put Southfield up one, the team’s first lead since the opening quarter. However, the lead was short lived, on the ensuing Raider possession, junior Billy Thomas connected on two free-throws to place North Farmington up 59-58. Following a series of missed Raider free-throws and Southfield blunders, the Blue Jays held the ball with less than thirty seconds remaining down one with the possibility win the game. Southfield turned the ball over just twice the entire fourth quarter, and one happened with 12.5 seconds left, Raider junior Alex Darden swiped a Blue Jay pass, and was fouled. Darden split his free-throws, Southfield ball down two with eight seconds left. Flowers brought the ball up the court, got into the lane, but his contested runner fell short. A scrum for the rebound killed the clock, North Farmington victory.

For Southfield, Priest led the way with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and senior Khary Fanning scored 14 points, hauled in seven rebounds, and assisted on four Blue Jay buckets.

The Raiders were led by senior forward Jeron Rogers with a game-high 20 points, and junior front-court mate Alex Darden with 11 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two assists.

“Jeron (Rogers) and Alex (Darden) were really helpful,” Thomas added. “They both do a great job rebounding and altering a lot of shots. Both can handle the ball very well for their size.”

For Thomas, he contributed 14 points and five rebounds as the sixth man from the bench. Billy was recently granted eligibility from the state to participate a few weeks ago, and has embraced his role thus far.

“I am perfectly fine with that,” Thomas said of him coming off the bench. “I just come in and do what I do, I want to win and if I have to come off the bench I will.”

Although he is able to play in the Raiders’ last remaining games, Thomas was ruled ineligible for the playoffs. Thomas said the school and team is continuing to seek opportunities for Thomas to participate in the post-season. With Thomas, the Raiders add another shooter and ball-handler to compliment the back-court of Anthony Qasawa and Jacob Joubert.

Depth is invaluable in the second season, for instance tonight, Qasawa, normally a reliable shooter, only scored 10 points, six off free-throws. However, it was Thomas that filled in Qasawa’s role and assisted Rogers as the team’s scorer.

The playoffs begin in a week, any plenty of questions remain regarding North Farmington. But when asked North Farmington’s goal for the rest of the season, Thomas said, “I think we are a state championship caliber team no doubt.”

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