Howell boys fall in hoops regional, 59-51

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WALLED LAKE — There wasn’t much West Bloomfield’s Kevin McAdoo couldn’t do on Monday night, and that’s the main reason why Howell’s boys basketball season came to an end in a 59-51 loss.

McAdoo drove the lane, hit 3-pointers, converted on three-point plays, and scored 40 points for West Bloomfield, 25 in the first half as the Jaguars led by as many as 18 points before going into halftime with a 36-23 lead.

“Our goal was to get it back to eight after the third quarter,” Howell coach Nick Simon said.

The Highlanders did a lot better than that, holding McAdoo to four points and the Jaguars to seven for the quarter while taking a 44-43 lead at the end of three.

“We started doubling the ball screens on McAdoo, and, honestly, that worked really, really well,” Simon said. “We did a great job in the second half making his driving lanes really, really small.”

Jake Lothamer, who sat out much of the first half in foul trouble, played a key role on both ends of the floor. He was part of the double-screen up high, then shifted into the paint to, several times, force McAdoo and his teammates to change their shots.

“Instead of going for the first move, he waited until the shot went up,” Simon said. “He’s been our X factor all year. When he played as well as he did in the second half, we’re a really, really good basketball team.”

Howell led 46-43 early in the fourth before West Bloomfield (15-8) got back on track. McAdoo started driving the lane again, and when he was fouled, he didn’t miss. West Bloomfield moved its lead out to double digits, mostly at the free throw line, late in the fourth quarter.

“We had a couple of looks that didn’t go in, and we had a couple of little, little screwups in terms of our (defensive) rotations,” Simon said. “We let (McAdoo) get back the to hoop, and he drew a few fouls. I was proud of the way we defended him, but, man, he doesn’t miss a free throw, either.”

No, he didn’t. McAdoo was 11-of-11 at the free-throw line.

It was the third regional trip in four years for the Highlanders, who finished 16-7.

“That’s a good basketball team,” Simon said of West Bloomfield, which will take on Novi in Wednesday’s regional final. The Wildcats beat Walled Lake Western 72-71 in double overtime in the second game on Monday.

“We fought until the end,” he continued. “We’re very resilient, and I don’t htink there are many teams in the state that can come back from a 13-point deficit in one quarter against a team the caliber of West Bloomfield.”

“We didn’t hit the shots we needed to, and they did,” said Johnny Shields, who led the Highlanders 17 points. “It was a great comeback. … we just didn’t finish how we wanted to.”

Josh Palo had 14 points and Dan Zolinski 10 for Howell.