Hartland boys face tough foe in Class A regional Monday

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You could, if you’d like, call the Hartland boys basketball team a Cinderella squad going into tonight’s Class A regional contest at West Bloomfield.

After all, the Eagles (10-11) have been under .500 most of the season before a run that has seen them win five of their last seven games.

And they’re taking on a North Farmington team that is 20-2.

But first-year coach Kevin Blouin hasn’t made any drastic changes going into tonight’s game, which starts at 5:30 p.m. and can be heard on The Livingston Post.

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For example, teams have the option of practicing in the gym where the regional is held, but Blouin had his team work out at Hartland High School on Sunday.

“You can’t change too much of your approach at this point,” Blouin said Sunday night. “We’re just trying to keep it simple and get the team ready as best we can.”

It’s Hartland’s first regional berth since Matt Poches led the team as a senior in 2011.

As noted, North Farmington, at 20-2, figures to be a formidable challenge.

“They’ve had a very good year and some very good players,” Blouin said. “They shoot the ball really well. They play good pressure defense. They’re very talented, very skilled, but we need to know what we do well and work on that. Hopefully that will serve us well.”

Certainly the Eagles know pressure, having knocked off a top seed to start their run in the Lakes Conference tournament, which ended in a loss to Walled Lake Western in overtime.

They then slipped past Howell in the district semfinals 44-41 and edged South Lyon, 57-55 for the district title.

“We’ve always had an answer when we’ve been under pressure situations,” Blouin said. “We always have an answer for other people’s runs. I think we just have to play our game. It’s been successful for us down the stretch. We’ve had a lot of fun down the stretch.”

And, if all goes well, the fun will continue through Wednesday’s regional final.

“We’re excited to be where we’re at and have Hartland basketball play for the regional title,” Blouin said.