Fenton is the last team standing out of the Linden District after Friday night’s 50-42 Class A district Finals victory over Hartland.
Leading up to the game Howell and Hartland believed they had a great shot at winning this district in part because they play in the KLAA where schools are bigger and the competition is considered stiffer.
Howell (2,209 students) and Hartland (1,878) play in the KLAA West Division where average enrollment is 2,127 students. Fenton (1,105) is the largest school in the Flint Metro League Stripes Division where average enrollment is 775 students.
The Tigers proved that size does not matter. They believed they faced plenty of tough competition to prepare them for any KLAA schools. It was not easy. The Tigers needed a 13-0 run to overcome a 49-43 deficit to beat Howell.
On Friday the Tigers maintained a 10-point lead for much of the game as Hartland battled but didn’t seriously threaten.
Fenton advanced to a regional semi-final Monday where it plays host to Clarkston (15-9).
Fenton (18-6) played some tough teams. League foe Corunna finished the season 17-7. Clarkston, who beat Fenton 53-49, won Class A state titles in 2017 and 2018.
“They (Hartland and Howell) had a little bit better league,” said Fenton forward Justin Banura. “They play Brighton. They play bigger schools than us. But at the same time our league is pretty competitive. Howell was really good, but we have a good team and I feel like we can compete with anyone.”
Junior guard Ja’Hion Bond did not believe Hartland and Howell were any tougher than some of the teams he faced. He knew Fenton would face stiff competition because of the one and done nature of the state tournament.
“I knew they were going to come out and compete in a championship game,” Bond said. “No one wants to go home with a loss.”
Sam Dillard agreed with Bond.
“We have played tough teams all along,” Dillard said. “So this game was like all the others.”