Freshman Foster Loyer’s Career High 35 lead Clarkston Past Dakota 63-58

19 Mar

IMG_0257And a freshman will lead them.

It seems a script made for a Hollywood production.  A freshman, leading an undefeated team with championship aspirations, in a highly anticipated meeting between two state top ten teams.

Clarkston freshman floor general Foster Loyer scored more than half his team’s 63 points, 35, in the Wolves’ regional final victory against MAC Red Division champions Macomb Dakota (21-3).

Foster scored 13 of his total points in the final period of play, and the Wolves needed every last one of them.  In a game of two evenly matched teams, there was little separation.  Until the fourth quarter, the largest advantage any team held was five points.

The Wolves built an eight point advantage twice in the middle of the fourth quarter.  However, uncharacteristic Clarkston turnovers and mishaps propelled a Dakota charge.  Junior point guard C.J. Marshall scored scored six points in an 8-0 run to put the Cougars down one exactly half-way through the fourth.

“They changed up their defense,” Loyer said of the Dakota spurt.  “Put the trap on us and worked pretty well against us.  Had some careless turnovers but we finished through.  That’s all that matters.”

Dakota even held a one point advantage at one point with under three to play.  Clarkston (24-0) needed to make a stand, this time it wasn’t Loyer, however, senior Andrew Myers scored five straight for the Wolves and gave the team the lead they would not relinquish the remainder of the contest, up two with 2:12 to play.

Now Clarkston needed to connect on free-throws.  Loyer shot 10 free-throws in the final eight minutes, and made eight of them, four of which in the final minute.

Loyer, son of former Piston interim coach John Loyer, said free-throws are an aspect of a game he takes great pride in, and he practices them every day.

“(I) try to make 50 free-throws at least every day,” Loyer said.  “Free-throw line wins basketball games.”

Head coach Dan Fife had high praise for his freshman point guard’s performance in a filled to capacity crowd.

“It’s hard to imagine he’s a freshman,” said Fife.  “It’s incredible to think a kid that poised can play that composure in this kind of environment, cause I don’t think he’s played in anything like this.

On the roster sheet, Dakota clearly held an advantage athletically.  A 6’4″ guard, and four 6’6” plus forwards the Cougars rotated through during the game.  On top of the Cougars athleticism, Dakota also has one  the premier sophomore guards, Jermaine Jackson Jr.

Jackson scored 14 points, but took well over 20 shots to reach that plateua.  In a match-up of two promising underclassman point guards, it was Loyer’s night.  On a key rebound in the final minutes, Jackson attempted to get an easy layup, however, Foster was there to thwart a would-be Jackson two pointer, only a microcosm of Loyer’s dominant night.

“Really wasn’t ready to block it,” Loyer said with a smile.  “Ball came my way so I did what I could.”

Following a rugged regional championship, Clarkston has six days to prepare for Catholic League Champion U of D Jesuit (21-3).  The Cubs have their own stud point guard in junior Cassius Winston, whose scored at least 20 point in each playoff game for U of D.  Clarkston last appeared in the Class A state quarterfinals in 2011.

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