Being ranked No. 10 in Class A is uncharted waters for a program such as North Farmington — not a traditional basketball powerhouse.
Yet the Raiders had pretty smooth sailing, especially in the third quarter in Thursday night’s Oakland Activities Association crossover, beating Oak Park, 72-53, to improve to 9-0 overall near the midway point of the regular season.
“Getting to 9-0 is just great, and we’re playing so well,” said senior Anthony Qasawa, who averages 18 points and led the Raiders with 25. “Everything is just rolling right now, and it’s rolling at the right time, and I think that our chemistry is great.
“We don’t let any kind of rankings get to our head, individual rankings or team rankings, because we know that on any given day we can get beat. So it doesn’t matter what’s your ranking, you still have to come out hard.”
North Farmington’s Jeron Rogers and Anthony Qasawa against Oak Park during second period action of North Farmington’s win Thursday at North Farmington.
North Farmington controlled the first half by winning the first two quarters for a 31-24 lead at halftime. Then the Raiders went on 28-9 third-quarter tear to create an insurmountable 26-point lead.
“They cover a lot of ground with their length and athletic ability,” North Farmington coach Todd Negoshian said of Oak Park (4-2). “And we knew to offset that we needed to shoot the ball really well tonight. We struggled the first half; we were playing really fast, then I think the second half we really slowed down and were more organized.
“I just think in the second half we really shot the ball well. That was a big key for us.”
To start the third, Qasawa made a three-pointer, then tipped in two missed shots by teammates. Josh Hogans then made a three-pointer, a lay-up and another three-pointer in succession — his only points of the night — to put the Raiders up, 46-28, only 4 minutes into the third quarter.
Jeron Rogers scored 15 points for North Farmington; Alex Darden added 11. Oak Park was led by senior Howard McInnis’ 18 points, with 10 points from Kelvon Fuller and nine from Trevon Gardner.
“We need to put a full four quarters together,” Negoshian said. “I think we’re playing hard for four quarters, I just don’t think we’re real smart right now for all four quarters.
“It’s a very loose team. They get along great. It’s one of those groups that they have a good time, but when it’s time for game time, they know to get focused and they try not to overthink anything. It’s a great group to be around every day because of how hard they work.”