BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — Rochester Adams devised a game plan Thursday to force someone other than Rochester Stoney Creek’s Gabby Yurik and Kara Kovack to beat the Highlanders.
Keri Scipione, Lauren Voss and Emily Wood did just that.
Scipione, a junior, connected on a trio of 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 11 points with five rebounds. Voss, a freshman, had a career night with nine points, five rebounds and two assists. Finally Wood, a senior, chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds for Stoney Creek.
Those three major contributions helped Stoney Creek claim a 50-45 OAA Crossover girls basketball triumph over rival Adams. The Cougars have now won four straight over Adams.
“We had some other girls step up,” said Stoney Creek coach Brad Crighton. “I knew (Adams coach) Fran (Scislowicz) was going to come out to shut down our offense a little bit, do some things differently. The girls were kind of off. I think we shot 14 shots in the first quarter, we were 2-for-14. I was happy with our shot selection. We weren’t knocking anything down (in the first half).”
While the shots weren’t falling for much of the first half — Adams led 11-5 after the first quarter and 21-17 at the half — the Cougars were able to weather the storm even though sharpshooters Gabby Yurik and Kara Kovack struggled from the floor.
Yurik still finished with a team-high 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 shooting from free lunch, with five assists for Stoney Creek. Kovack, another one of Oakland County’s top shooters, was just 1-for-5 from the floor, all outside of the arc, and finished with three points, four rebounds and three assists.
“In the second quarter, our transition game wasn’t there. We were forcing it a little bit but we still got back in the game,” continued Crighton. “In the second half we started to run our offense a little better and that kind of opened up the game for us.”
Stoney Creek finished just 16-for-51 from the field, but outscored Adams 33-24 in the second half. Yurik iced the game with four free throws in the final minute, including two with 1.9 seconds left.
“I knew that someone besides Gabby or Kara was going to have to step up tonight for us to have a chance,” said Crighton. “I really think that Keri had the best game for us. Her and freshman Lauren Voss came out and made some shots for us.
“We are still a young team, but I think we can be better than last year,” admitted Crighton, whose team reached the district finals for the first time last winter and shared a league title. “We have a lot more (offensive) weapons. It was good to see a couple of these other girls step up.”
Adams’ defense frustrated the Cougars in the first half. In the third quarter, leading scorer Jessica Lang, departed from the game with a sprained ankle. Her absence was felt hard, as the Highlanders lost their go-to player.
“She’s our floor leader,” said Scislowicz of Lang. “She’s definitely a difference maker. With her on the court for the whole game, the outcome may have been different. It might have been even closer than what it was. She was having a really nice game inside-and-out. She was controlling the tempo for us.”
Stoney Creek led early, 3-0. After Adams (1-1) tied the game at 3-3 with five minutes left in the opening frame, the Cougars did not lead again until late in the third quarter.
Stoney Creek (2-2) took a 36-34 advantage heading into the final frame, when Kovack finally got untracked and drilled her only 3-pointer of the contest near the end of the third quarter. The Cougars, who outscored Adams 14-11 in the final frame, led by as many as six points during the fourth quarter.
Jessica Lang scored a game-high 16 points for Adams (1-1), as she finished 6-for-10 from the floor. Kelly Quinlan finished with 12 points and nine rebounds and Taylor Houghtlin added seven points for Adams, which held a 28-26 edge on the boards.
“This was a good game, but it was hard when we lose a player like Lang,” added Scislowicz. “I was pleased with our intensity to start the game and the fact that even when we lost Lang, we didn’t give up. We cut it down to three points there in the last minute. We just ran out of time.”