BY DAN STICKRADT
ROCHESTER HILLS — The last time Rochester Adams won a league championship in boys basketball, Bill Clinton was less than two months into his presidency and Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You was the No.1 song on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.
The year was 1993.
Fast forward two decades and Rochester Adams has finally claimed another league championship in boys basketball. The undefeated Highlanders posted a 49-31 victory over short-handed Rochester Tuesday to end their 20-year drought.
The last league title came in 1993 in the old Metro Suburban Activities Association, which ceased to exist in 1994. Today’s league title came in the OAA White Division.
“We have come close so many times, but I know the last league title came in 1993,” said Adams coach John Hall. “Since I became coach (14 years ago), we have finished second several times. Last season we finished second and we lost our last league game and we needed to win to gain a share of the title. We have finished second probably around six times since I have been head coach and third a few times. It’s nice to finally win one.”
Adams, enjoying its best regular season in school history, moved to 19-0 and 11-0 in league play. Rochester needed the win to pull into a tie in the league chase, but the Falcons were missing Mr. Basketball favorite James young to injury.
“I thought our defense was great again. It has been all season,” said Hall. I thought we could force turnovers and keep them from making any easy shots. We shut them down for long stretches of the game.”
Adams held Rochester to a season-low 31 points and held the Falcons’ other key scorer, 6-foot-8 Arben Camaj, to only 10 points. Junior forward Mike Murri led Rochester with 13 points.
As he has done all season, junior Akhemji Williams was dominant, scoring 21 points with eight steals and seven assists, all game highs, to lead Adams.
“Akhemi does so much for us. He can score, play defense, distributes the ball. He gets so many people involved. He’s not selfish.”
Drew McBride scored 14 points for Adams, making four 3-pointers, for Adams, which host Troy Athens Thursday to try to cap its first undefeated regular season in school history.
Adams led 15-4 after the first period and 27-14 at the half. Rochester’s defense held the Adams high-octane offense to under 50 points for the second time this season but to no avail.
The Highlanders led 37-24 through three quarters of play, thanks to both teams scoring 10 points in the third quarter. Adams closed with a 12-7 run in the fourth quarter.
“I am proud of these guys for setting the goal as being the league champions and going out there and actually doing it,” said Hall. “I envisioned us as league champs at the beginning of the season. I didn’t see us 19-0 at this point, but I knew we could contend for the league title. It’s been too long.”
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