Clawson High defeats Madison Heights Lamphere in final seconds

By: Alex Tekip, | Madison - Park News Royal Oak Review | Published January 19, 2016

MADISON HEIGHTS—On Jan. 19, Clawson High’s girls basketball team entered Madison Heights Lamphere's gym, sneakers laced with blue and gold strings.

Their coach, Jenny Stanton, patrolled the sidelines wearing a button adorned with the phrase “#DougStrong” under the University of Michigan’s block “M” logo.

Before the game and after every timeout, the Trojans chanted “McKnight!”

It was clear Clawson wasn’t playing for something, but rather, someone.

The Trojans were playing for a mentor, friend and colleague: Doug McKnight.

McKnight, a teacher and former coach at Clawson, suffered a heart attack earlier in January and is currently in the ICU. Hours before Clawson’s Macomb Area Conference Silver Division game against Lamphere, McKnight’s daughter, Ryan McKnight, tweeted that her dad, a huge Michigan Wolverines fan, was having periods of consciousness.

The good news inspired the Trojans, who fought their way to a 42-41 victory over the Rams, courtesy of a layup by Raquel Lewis with 5.6 seconds remaining on the clock.

“(McKnight) is a basketball coach, so they kind of channeled him for some energy and some good play,” Stanton said. 

Stanton and Lewis were both sporting wide grins following the win. Lewis, still soaking in the feeling of making the game-winning basket and being embraced by all eleven of her teammates at the final buzzer, couldn’t quite find the words to describe her emotions.

“It felt good,” she said. “It felt real good. I don’t know what else to say.”

Clawson struggled to maintain a consistent, cohesive tempo in the first half, often times rushing flow and creating poor shot positioning. That changed in the second half when Shaniya Evans scored eight unanswered points to begin the fourth quarter.  She would finish with a team-high 14 on the night.

“Patience was the name of the game tonight, and then controlling the tempo was, ultimately, I think what got us the win,” said Stanton.

Lamphere answered Clawson in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 34 and eventually taking a five-point lead before Clawson’s Kelli Nolan made it a one-point contest with mere seconds left on the clock, positioning the Trojans for an opportunity to make a comeback.

“They were good, they executed well, so I give them a lot of credit,” said Lamphere coach Mike Kobus about Clawson.

Clawson improves to 5-5 overall and 4-0 in the MAC Silver with the win over Lamphere. The Rams fall to 3-6 overall and 2-2 in the MAC Silver.

#DougStrong has its own GoFundMe page. For more information, or to donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/c2jcv6nk