North Farmington will try to salvage an Oakland Activities Association Red co-championship tonight when it visits Clarkston, which handed the Raiders their only conference loss.
This time, North Farmington will have help from junior Billy Thomas, who was last seen in the state as a shooting guard at U-D Jesuit last season.
Thomas began this season at Genesis Academy in Virginia before transferring to North Farmington in January.
He made his debut last week, but he won’t be in the lineup long.
Thomas is not eligible to participate in the state tournament. And some reporters and coaches seem to be misinformed about the situation and are blaming the Michigan High School Athletic Association for his ineligibility.
The bottom line is that Thomas actually didn’t enroll at North Farmington until Feb. 4. Unfortunately, that’s three days after the deadline to be eligible for winter MHSAA tournaments.
Had Thomas been enrolled and attended classes in the last week of January, this would not be an issue. But he wasn’t enrolled before Feb. 1.
So despite the furor over the situation, there is no MHSAA conspiracy against Thomas or North Farmington.
Haslett’s Ott returns and surpasses 1,000 points
There was a familiar name in the Haslett box score last week — Makenna Ott — the senior who had missed the past month with a stress fracture in her left tibia, the same injury that caused her to miss playing AAU last spring as well as summer activity with her Haslett team.
Her tibia was reinjured early this season, and for a while, she wasn’t sure if she would need surgery, which would have ended her season. But the doctor gave her good news a couple of weeks ago.
“I went to the doctor on Feb. 9, and they said I could return to light activities, so that was kind of a big deal then because that Friday we played DeWitt,” Ott said. “I really wanted to play, but my doctor and my trainer talked about it and said it would be a good idea for me not to play, to wait until last week to play.”
In a 57-53 victory over Lansing Waverly, Ott contributed seven points, putting her over 1,000 career points.
“Some people make it a big deal, but my whole four years that wasn’t ever a goal for me, it just happened,” she said. “My coach promised me I was going to get 1,000 points whether I went in there with a boot on or not.”
Haslett has been ranked among the top 10 in Class B all season, but it is a much better team with Ott in the lineup instead of sitting on the bench with her foot in a boot.
“It changes everything, because she draws the best defender, so it kind of changes everything for everybody on our team,” coach Bob Currier said. “She gives us a lot of stability, that’s what she does.”
Ott also gives Haslett an emotional lift, which will come in handy Monday when it opens the state tournament against once-beaten Williamston, which beat Haslett this season.
“Even practice is different with Makenna back,” Currier said. “You can tell that the attitude has picked up.”
Calihan will host boys Operation Friendship
As we reported earlier, Operation Friendship is back on, and now we know the boys games are on at a big stage — Calihan Hall on March 7.
Detroit Public League School champ Western will play the winner of Sunday’s 3 p.m. A-B Division championship game between U-D Jesuit and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in the Operation Friendship 2 p.m. championship game, following the noon consolation between Renaissance and the loser of Sunday’s game.
— Mick McCabe