FARMINGTON HILLS — With a Class A district title at stake Friday, North Farmington picked a most opportune time to shake off its lingering 3-point shooting slump.
Facing Birmingham Brother Rice, the Raiders were locked in from long range from the get-go, unleashing a total of eleven 3-pointers on the Warriors to capture a 67-52 victory and advance to the regional round.
“We haven’t shot it really well the last three weeks, so for us to come out of our slump tonight, it’s perfect timing for us,” North Farmington coach Todd Negoshian said. “Our kids have been working at it and it’s been a testament to them how hard they’ve worked trying to get out of it.
“For as many (3-pointers) as we shot and as many as we made, I don’t think there were any bad ones that we took. I thought they were all in rhythm and in the framework of what we were trying to do.”
Senior Anthony Qasawa was responsible for four of the Raiders’ triples as part of his game-high 23 points.
The initial spark offensively came from junior Josh Hogans, who knocked down three 3-pointers in the opening 10 minutes of play, allowing the Raiders to seize a commanding 16-point lead by that point.
North Farmington carried a 39-24 lead into halftime.
“Tonight was pretty simple. They made their shots and we didn’t,” Brother Rice coach Ed Shaffer said. “It wasn’t like we weren’t guarding or giving them wide-open looks with the exception of (Hogans) early in the game, who we didn’t really gameplan to take away.”
In the second half, Brother Rice found some shooting success of its own, but never managed to cut its deficit to fewer than 13 points at any juncture.
Brother Rice’s leading scorer, Kevin Hayes, was held without a field goal after halftime, as he finished with a team-high 15 points.
Hayes’ frontcourt counterpart, North Farmington’s Jeron Rogers, scored 16 points. Alex Darden added 10 points for the Raiders (19-3).
“Our goal at halftime was to make sure we really stopped penetration and made them beat us with either swinging it and letting us contest the shots or making them do something different,” Negoshian said. “I thought we did a great job in the second half of really getting to people.”
In the fourth quarter, play was briefly halted when the school’s emergency alarm and lights came on, but play ultimately continued through the distraction until they ceased.
After falling to the eventual state runner-up, Bloomfield Hills, early in the playoffs a year ago, North Farmington picked up its first district crown since 2013.
“We start every year where our goal is to hang a banner. A league banner, a district banner, we just want to hang one,” Negoshian said.
Up next, the Raiders will face Oak Park on Monday in a regional semifinal played at Southfield High School.
Brother Rice’s season concluded with a 15-7 record.
“We just had to find a way to fight through (tonight), but we didn’t and it’s so disappointing to me because this senior group is so great,” Shaffer said. “Ten seniors. It’s not the way we wanted to go out, but we got beat by a better team tonight.”
Last Updated: 3/13/2015 10:11:06 PM EST