WEST BLOOMFIELD — The first three minutes of Monday’s Class A regional at West Bloomfield proved prophetic.
In the first two minutes, North Farmington had four possessions and scored on all of them, taking a 10-0 lead. Hartland had the ball on one possession for the next minute — and missed its only shot.
It never got better for the Eagles, who trailed 41-14 at halftime and lost to the Raiders, 63-30.
The difference was North Farmington’s Billy Thomas, who hit six 3-pointers in the first half as the Raiders (21-2) ran away and hid.
“He’s an exceptional talent,” Hartland coach Kevin Blouin said. “He was really hot early in the game. He was on fire until they took him out. He never really cooled off.”
Thomas had 20 points in the first half and finished with 26.
The Eagles (10-12) had no answer for North Farmington’s pressure defense, but crawled to within eight, 22-14, when North Farmington coach Todd Negoshian took it off in the second quarter.
When the Raiders turned it back on, they went on a 19-0 run to end the half.
“Their pressure really got to us, even in the half-court,”Blouin said. “It was difficult for us to run what we wanted to run because of the pressure they put on us. They’re a very athletic, disciplined team.”
With the game all but decided at halftime, the Eagles played for pride in the second half.
“We talked about not ever giving up,” Hartland senior Tim Milarch said. “Keep playing through the second half. It could be our last game as seniors, and we just wanted to enjoy it and keep working hard.”
North Farmington took its starters out in the third period. Greg Darden was the other Raider in second figures, with 12 points. Konlan Paul had eight to pace the Eagles.
“I think the effort was there,” Blouin said. “I think we had a really good year. We exceeded the goals we set at the beginning of the seaon. There was really no negative to this game whatsoever for our guys. Being here was a privilege. They gave it one more try, but it was an outstanding year. I think they know that.”