Basketball: Novi Comes from Way Back to Beat Saline

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 02/08/2018 - 01:03
Sophomore Griffin Yaklich scored 14 points to lead Saline's attack at Novi.

High school is a time where young people learn and grow and for a student-athlete, there can be learning curves that are especially challenging. The varsity hoopsters were schooled Tuesday night in Novi as the very experienced Wildcats team overcame a 16-point first quarter deficit to beat the Hornets 56-49.

After that first quarter where everything went in for the high flying Hornets, Novi outscored Saline 54-29 through the rest of the game. The Wildcats featured five starting seniors, three of which have committed to playing Division 1 college basketball next year and a fourth sure to land a spot on a roster soon. For a young Hornet squad playing against this kind of an elite team, it provided them with invaluable game experience. Unfortunately, the along with the experience came Saline’s sixth loss of the season, dropping their record to 9-6, 2-4 in the SEC Red Division.

The Hornets started the game with a 10-0 run with senior forward Emmett “The Beast” Turner and sophomore guards Trever “Thunder” Arico and Griffin “Lightning” Yaklich scoring. Novi called a time out and on the next possession scored their only bucket. Then the dynamic trio led Saline on an 8-0 run to end the quarter, staking the Hornets to a 18-2 first quarter lead. Turner notched 8-points to lead the attack, with Yaklich and Arico adding 7 and 3.

Novi outscored Saline 16-15 in the second quarter as the Hornets headed to the locker room with a 33-18 lead at the half. Though Saline’s combo of ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’ continued their offensive attack in the second quarter scoring a combined 10-points, the Wildcats seemed to regain their composure after their disastrous first quarter and started to put things together.

As has happened in other games this season, the wheels fell off the Hornet wagon in the third quarter. And it wasn’t so much as Saline played poorly, rather it was Novi played like the team they really are. The Hornets forced eight Wildcat turnovers in the first half to Saline’s two. In the second half, Novi turned up the defensive pressure and forced seven second half Hornet turnovers, while the Wildcats committed none. Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick called a time out with 4:13 left in the third quarter in an attempt to quell a 11-0 Wildcat run.

“Novi stepped up their defensive pressure in the third quarter and we didn’t handle to ball very well,” Fosdick said following the game. “We committed some turnovers under their pressure and started to force our shots.”

Turner scored Saline’s only points of the quarter that saw Novi storm all the way back from a 15-point deficit to take a 40-37 lead into the final quarter. It was more of the same in the final quarter as the young Hornet squad struggled with the defensive pressure and could not find an effective way to stop the Wildcats’ 6’8” center who scored 10 fourth quarter points to put the game out of reach.

“I thought we executed very well offensively in the first quarter,” Fosdick said. “Give them credit. They are an elite team and when they picked up their defensive pressure we got soft with the ball. We will look at the game film, learn what we need to work on and will continue to get better.”

Fosdick said that for his young players competition against elite basketball teams provides great experience and will help his team to grow. “For Griffin (Yaklich) and Trevor (Arico) to play against a team like Novi as sophomores will help them tremendously. They will continue to learn and get better and will be much stronger players as they get older.”

Saline will swing into action Friday when they travel to Monroe. Weather permitting, tip off time is 7 p.m.


1ST Star: Griffin ‘Lightning’ Yaklich (14 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists)

2nd Star: Emmett ‘The Beast’ Turner (12 points, 14 rebounds, 1 assist)

3rd Star: Trevor ‘Thunder’ Arico (10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists)


Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick, along with JV Head Coach Jason Pickett and Freshman Head Coach Brian Whitley and assistant coaches Lukas Fosdick and Jason Rushton will lead a team of coaches, teachers and staff from Saline Area Schools to take on an alumni team with Saline grads from the ‘70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s returning to challenge the coach/staff team.

The game is scheduled for Saturday, 2-24-18 at 5 p.m. at Liberty School. The alumni team will be coached by former SHS basketball head coach Ken Sippell, with Dale Wilson, SHS hoops star and proud graduate from the Class of 1968 as his assistant.

SHS students and kids are admitted free to the event, and there is a $5.00 suggested donation at the door for adults. The game will feature SHS hoops stars from yesteryear along with some prizes to be given away.

In addition, Saline alumni are returning for a special alumni recognition night at the Friday,

2-16-18 game when the Hornets will host the Bedford Kicking Mules. Varsity game action starts at 7 p.m on the 16th.

The Saline Post will publish a story about the game soon, including rosters of both the alumni and coach/teacher/staff team.


Saline JV Head Coach Jason Pickett constantly reminds his players to only worry about things they can control and ignore everything else. That advice came in handy Tuesday night at Novi as the JV squad ran into officiating which was questionable all night.

The Hornets jumped out to a 15-9 first quarter lead as all five starters scored. The attack was led by sophomore guard Josh Finn’s 6 points, freshman forward Anthony Ferrari’s 4 and guard Jaden Pickett’s 2.

For the duration of the game, the lead changed several times as the teams fought hard on both ends of the court. The game official called an intention foul in the second quarter against Saline, a call hotly contested by Coach Pickett that ultimately became a six point swing, giving Novi the lead.

Timely fourth quarter three-point shooting by Pickett and sophomore guard Ben Stack was enough to carry the Hornets to a 52-48 victory to up their season record to 9-5.

“I keep telling the guys don’t worry about what calls we get or don’t get, just keep playing basketball. There was a lot of calls that were made and not made but you gotta play through the,” Pickett said. “I thought Jaden (Pickett) had a really nice game tonight. He struggled a little bit last week but tonight his shooting, and especially his ball handling were key to the win.”

Pickett continued, “Anthony (Ferrari) does what he does and he grabbed some key rebounds for us tonight.” The JV squad gets back into action Friday night when they travel to Monroe. Game time is 5 p.m.


1ST Star: Jaden Pickett ( 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)

2nd Star: Anthony Ferarri (8 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists)

3rd Star: Ben Stack (8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists)


The Saline freshman squad led the entire game, until the fourth quarter. The Hornets were outscored 14-6 in the final quarter to lose a heart breaker 39-38 Tuesday night against the Novi Wildcats. Freshman head coach Brian Whitley was disappointed in the loss. He said after the game that it was a game that his team should never have lost. “You can’t make mistake after mistake against a good team if you want to win,” Whitley said following the game.

The freshman squad travels to Monroe on Friday to take on the Trojans. Game time is 4 p.m.


1ST Star: Brayden Stavros (10 points)

2nd Star: John Barnett (7 points)

3rd Star: Nick Walper (6 points)

Steven Sheldon's picture
Steven Sheldon