By Chris Zadorozny
It came down to just a couple of shots in the final minute of play. Allen Park had a chance to tie the game and send it into overtime, but in the end, the Jags came up just two points shy, falling 61-59 to the host Dearborn Pioneers in the first-round of the Division 1 district tournament.
The Pioneers jumped put to an early lead in the game and it never really went away.
The Jags hung around in the first half but it was still an 11-point Dearborn lead at the intermission.
“We gave up some uncontested shots, we gave up some uncontested three-pointers (and) we gave up some uncontested layups underneath,” said Dearborn Coach Matt Schleif.
“I think we recovered into the fourth quarter and did a little better job down the stretch there, getting hands up on the shooters and rebounding, but we also didn’t make our free throws at the end,” said Schleif.
Leading the way for the Pioneers were star player Ali Farhat and senior Hassan Safieddine, both in double digits. Farhat had 19 points, while Safieddine had 10.
Also chipping in were Ollie Ajami, Cody Bruce, Daoud Unis, Ali Aljebury, and Thomas Pruett.
“(We) did a nice job, (we) executed and we got some contributions. Obviously, our offense is run through Ali. He does a lot of nice stuff, he gets a lot of good baskets, but we’re at our best when they other guys are contributing,” said Shleif.
Down by 11 at halftime, the game Jaguars came back and made a game of it.
“You know you battle, playing a true road game in districts is never easy,” said Allen Park Coach Jimmy Victor.
“Our kids have just so much heart and they just battled. A couple calls, a couple shots that were halfway down that didn’t fall, it could’ve been a totally different game. I couldn’t be prouder of our kids, they just battled.”
Leading the way for the Jaguars was junior forward Richie Slate, who had 12 points, while junior forward Adam McJunkin had 11.
Also contributing were Ryan Oakley, Jarrett Shinault, Antonio Reviere, Damian Bortolussi, Trevor Sims, Tyler Warga and Jake Barann.
“It was gutty, they really responded, there was no quit. We’ve been in this position before and they just kept working, they just kept battling,” said Victor.
“They knew they were never out of it and they put themselves in a position to win the game and that’s all I can ask.”
Dearborn advances to play Crestwood in the evening game of the district semifinal doubleheader at Dearborn High School on Wednesday.
To read the original post that appeared online in the MI Prep Zone website, on March 4, 2013, go to www.miprepzone.com/thenewsherald.