Fenton boys’ basketball Coach Chad Logan leaned against a wall in the back halls of Fenton High School drenched from coaching the most action-packed game of his career.
Chills revved through his body as he felt a weird combination of pride and anguish in the throes of defeat. His unheralded Tigers stood toe to toe with a blue blood and nearly pulled off a win that would have had the Michigan high school world buzzing.
During a double overtime slugfest Fenton (18-7) landed hey makers, body blows and drop kicks. It had Clarkston (16-9) bloodied, battered and ready to be counted out. Despite a number of near misses Fenton failed to land the fatal blow during this delicious Class A regional semifinal Monday night.
Fenton players felt the same anguish and pride that Logan experienced after walking off the court, 69-68 losers.
Clarkston’s Desman Stephens put this one out of reach with two free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining in the second OT to give the Wolves a 69-65 advantage. Fenton’s Ja’Hion hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to make this a one-point ball game.
“What more do you want in a game,” Logan said.
Afterwards everybody was exhausted, from the excited fan bases to the players and coaches. There was an unusual buzz throughout as fans anticipated the next move.
Bond (25 points, seven rebounds and four assists) was brilliant but missed a golden chance to end Clarkston’s season. With 3.1 seconds left in regulation and the score tied 56-56, Bond missed two free throws that would have sent Fenton to the Regional Finals against Rochester Adams which beat Milford 59-41 in the earlier semifinal.
“It doesn’t happen often, but I missed a shot,” Bond said. “The game is on me. But I will work on it and get better.”
Bond missed six straight free throws in the fourth quarter but Fenton is not in position to win without him. The difference in this game may have been that Clarkston’s stars Brody Kosin, a 6-foot-6 forward and 6-3 guard Stephens had a little too much junk in the trunk. Kosin (20 points, 15 rebounds) controlled the inside. Stephens (30 points) was bullish inside and took turns guarding Fenton’s hot man. Usually that was junior Sam Dillard (21 points, five rebounds and four assists) or Bond.
A few weeks ago, Clarkston carved out a 53-49 win over Fenton. The Tigers can take pride in knowing they’ve grown expeditiously as a team since. Sometimes, male bonding goes a long way. The Tigers credit hanging out together and sharing meals as the key to their success.
“Since we played them the first game I’d say we have improved in a straight 45 degree angle in terms of competitiveness,” Logan said. “Our team has grown as a unit as much as you can grow. This is a good group to be around. They put it on the line. They are tougher than I give them credit for.”