First round district pairings set, Lake Orion draws Rochester
By Anthony Schulte
Contributing Sports Writer
ORION TWP. — First Lake Orion lost a home game. Then they lost the actual game.
A leaky roof at the Lake Orion High School Fieldhouse forced the game to be moved to West Bloomfield on Friday, costing the Dragons a crucial home game during the final stretch of the season.
The West Bloomfield Lakers already hosted the Dragons back in January, where Lake Orion fell short, 51-41.
There was still a basketball game to be played, though. The first quarter was an even match. Lake Orion was able to break the press-defense with ease and get quality scores. The second quarter brought much of the same, with the Dragons taking a four-point lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Dragons built a lead and maintained it for much of the quarter, but the Lakers went on a run to tie the game up at 35 going into the final period of regulation.
After a back-and-forth six minutes, Lake Orion committed multiple turnovers and fouls, digging a three-point hole in the final minute of the game. Senior DJ Morrow hit two clutch free throws to ultimately send the game to overtime.
Scoring was a struggle in OT, forcing Lake Orion to foul down the stretch. The Dragons couldn’t close out the game, losing 57-54.
“I believe we have developed mental toughness throughout the season.” assistant coach Phil Richardson said. “We are defending, getting more consistent scoring the ball, and we are getting healthy.”
Morrow led the Dragons with 21 points, junior Quay Fly chipped in 13, and senior guard Nate Havrilla contributed 11 points, including three three-pointers.
Junior Donald Watts III scored 18 points for West Bloomfield, while senior Mitchell Seay had 12.
On Feb 21, the Rochester Falcons traveled to the Fieldhouse to take on Lake Orion. Orion dominated the first three quarters, team defense being the main contributor.
Rochester gained some momentum in the fourth quarter and put together a valiant comeback effort. Their efforts came up short, as Lake Orion won 50-37.
Morrow had 21 points, senior Blake Liddell had 11 and Fly had nine.
Rochester forward Elijah Kalaj had 15 points, while Max Muhl tallied 11 all in the fourth quarter.
The Dragons’ final week of regular season action began Tuesday as they traveled to Troy High School, and Thursday when they take on Farmington to close the season.
Lake Orion to play Rochester in the first round of districts
Utica Eisenhower will host Lake Orion, Rochester, Stoney Creek, Romeo and Rochester Adams in MHSAA District 5 play.
Rochester Adams and Utica Eisenhower both earned first-round byes this season. On Monday, March 6, Lake Orion will play Rochester at 5 p.m. and Stoney Creek will play Romeo at 7 p.m.
On Wednesday, March 8, the winner of Lake Orion and Rochester will play Rochester Adams at 5 p.m. and the winner of Stoney Creek and Romeo will play Utica Eisenhower at 7 p.m.
The District Final will be Friday, March 10.
The winner of district five will play the winner of district seven in regional two hosted by Fenton.
Photos by: Ron Rocheleau.