North Farmington boys basketball continues its run

By: Christian Davis | Farmington Press | Published January 26, 2016

 North Farmington’s De’on Jenkins blocks a Troy Athens shot. The Raiders won 72-40.

North Farmington’s De’on Jenkins blocks a Troy Athens shot. The Raiders won 72-40.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Leading by one point midway through the second quarter Jan. 22 at Troy Athens, North Farmington boys basketball coach Todd Negoshian called a timeout.

“We didn’t play with a lot of energy to start,” Negoshian said. “We had to kind of just keep fighting it, and fighting it to the point where our leadership kicked in, and we were able to do it.”

From that point, the Raiders went on a 13-4 run to close the half and eventually secure a 72-40 victory.

The leadership Negoshian relied on that game, and this season, comes from the 12 seniors on the roster. The only non-senior is junior Amauri Hardy.

Senior Alex Darden said the advantage is the experience that each player brings.

“Us playing together for so long, we know what to expect,” he said. “No one is shocked; no one is going to be scared on the court, because we’ve all been through it before.”

At press time, the Raiders were 9-2 overall and 2-1 in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division, with their lone loss in the Red coming to Clarkston High.

North Farmington’s top scorer is a player who has the least amount of time with the Raiders: senior Billy Thomas, who transferred in from U of D Jesuit last season.

Against Athens, he finished with 31 points.

“He’s been like that for as long as I’ve known,” Negoshian said of the guard. “He can really, really score in bunches. He can get hot, and when he does, there’s not many that are better.”

Thomas also provides insight into what it takes to make a run at a state title. As a sophomore with Jesuit, Thomas played in a state semifinal at the Breslin Center. In that game, he finished with 21 points and five steals.

“It really just takes hard work. Hard work in the gym,” Thomas said.

Negoshian said his team has been hampered by injuries and is starting to play with its full roster. Since their 13-point loss to Clarkston Jan. 14, the Raiders have won two straight by an average of 43.5 points.

“I think we’re really starting to jell together now and play. The more we can play together, the better we’re going to keep getting,” the coach said.

With another shot at Clarkston Feb. 11 at home, the Raiders still control their destiny in the race for the Red title, though Negoshian doesn’t concern himself with that right now.

“I’m happy with our progress, but I’m not happy where we are yet,” he said. “I don’t think any coach is ever happy, but we’re going in the right direction and keep getting better. That’s all I really care about right now.”

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