Troy High senior forward Jason Dietz drives past a defender during a Class A regional semifinal against Clarkston High March 12 at West Bloomfield High. The Colts finished the season at 17-6 overall.

Troy High senior forward Jason Dietz drives past a defender during a Class A regional semifinal against Clarkston High March 12 at West Bloomfield High. The Colts finished the season at 17-6 overall.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Troy High, Oakland Christian fall in regional semifinals

By: Timothy Pontzer | Troy Times | Published March 13, 2018

 Senior guard Leon Ayers goes up for a shot. In the season-ending loss, Ayers led the Colts with 19 points.

Senior guard Leon Ayers goes up for a shot. In the season-ending loss, Ayers led the Colts with 19 points.

Photo by Donna Agusti

TROY — The defending state champion proved to be too much for Troy High boys basketball.

Clarkston High dispatched the Colts 71-46 in a Class A regional semifinal March 12 at West Bloomfield High.

In front of a packed crowd, the Wolves surged out of the gate, holding a 23-6 lead after the first quarter. The trend continued as the reigning titleholder opened the second frame on a 10-2 run, with the margin ballooning to 43-17 at the halftime break.

“They hit shots; we didn’t,” Troy coach Gary Fralick said. “We didn’t box out as well as we needed to, so they got second chances. One of our big things was to really work on the defensive rebounds and limit them to second chances. We didn’t do that, and it was really disappointing that we couldn’t put up a better game than this.”

The first half saw Clarkston tally 19 field goals as Michigan State commit Foster Loyer poured in 18 points in 16 minutes.

“He’s very tough to plan for. If you double him, he finds the open man, and if you don’t double him, he finds a way to get around for a good shot,” Fralick said of Loyer. “He’s a great, great player, and he deserves the accolades coming his way. You have to credit Clarkston — they played a great game. They have some really good players and so do we. We just didn’t show it as well as we normally do tonight.”

Troy finished the season at 17-6 overall. Half of those losses came at the hands of Loyer’s group. A Jan. 9 clash at Troy saw the Wolves win 59-54, and a Feb. 16 rematch at Clarkston resulted in a 58-49 victory for the host.

“It was tough to get a good shot up against them tonight. This was the third time we played, and the first two we had some success,” Fralick remarked. “Tonight we just couldn’t get it done. They were still fighting after the first quarter, but the score makes it more difficult. We had a good season and we had a chance to make it a great season, but we didn’t execute from the beginning.”

The club placed third in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division. It also won a second straight district title with a 68-47 victory over Birmingham Seaholm March 9.

“This has been a fantastic group,” Fralick said. “We won 21 games last year and 17 this year. We’ve been one of the better teams in Oakland County. I’m very proud of all the guys that were part of the past two years. This year we moved up to the (OAA) Red and battled. We went 8-4 against the best teams in the state.”

Senior guard Leon Ayers led Troy with 19 points. Ayers suited up for his last prep game, joined by seniors Cheikh Diop, Drew Peluso, Jason Dietz, Mattias Johansson, Robert Banas, Danny Sully and Jon Chuang.

“The seniors were great,” Fralick said. “This is one of our better senior classes. … You couldn’t ask for a better group.”

Loyer led all scorers with 23 points, adding seven assists. Despite the loss, Fralick believes his group will have a good chance to carry its momentum into next season.

“We’re looking forward to having more success,” said Fralick after completing his 24th season at Troy. “These guys have good attitudes. They’re great kids, and there’s no reason why we can’t keep it going. I think we’ll be fine.”

In Class D action, another local squad fell in a regional opener to a familiar league foe.

Auburn Hills Oakland Christian ended its season with a 79-50 loss to Southfield Christian March 12 at Marine City Cardinal Mooney. It marked the third time the Lancers fell to the Eagles this year, with the previous two occurring in Michigan Independent Athletic Conference play.

Despite the loss, OCS coach Dennis Hopkins was proud of his club, which finished at 17-6 overall. The Lancers earned a second straight district title with a 62-46 win over Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes March 9.

“There are a lot of people that would trade with us in a heartbeat,” Hopkins said. “I’m proud of their work and their growth over the years. We pushed them hard and they responded. They are a great group of kids.”

Hopkins cited his senior group as a backbone for the squad.

“I can’t say enough about these five seniors,” Hopkins said. “They earned two district championships. They have put us back on track with Oakland Christian basketball.”