farm-bureau-ads-home2-banner-120x975png

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Kettering sinks Stoney Creek in overtime

| March 11, 2015 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

SENIOR EDITOR

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

STERLING HEIGHTS — This time the pendulum has swung Waterford Kettering’s way.

Kettering, which beat Rochester Stoney Cougars in the Class A regionals in 2012 and lost to the Cougars in the regional semifinals in 2014, gained a measure of revenge on Stoney Creek in this year’s regional semifinals.

The state-ranked Captains earned a 39-35 overtime victory over the Cougars at Sterling Heights Stevenson to face Port Huron Northern, a 55-43 winner over Romeo in Tuesday’s other regional

semifinal.

Kettering forced 14 turnovers. But none were bigger when junior guard Sammi Shaner picked the pocket of Stoney Creek’s Maria Zandi on an inbounds play near-court, was fouled and swished tow free throws with nine seconds left to seal the deal.

“That was a great play,” admitted Kettering coach Scott Woodhull. “She comes in and gives us tremendous energy. She did a fantastic job helping out defending one of the best guards in the (state) and she came through with that great play in the end, plus the free throws.”

The win will allow Kettering (22-1) to play for its sixth regional crown in two decades on Thursday. The Captains will face Port Huron Northern (18-6) in the regional finals tilt at 7 p.m. at Stevenson.

Stoney Creek, which has reached regional semifinals three times in recent years, put together a vaunted comeback in the second half. The Cougars (18-6) finished the night with 16 team steals, but had a hard time finishing around the bucket.

Stoney Creek finished the night only 14-for-49 from the floor (29 percent), while Kettering posted similar numbers by shooting at 31 percent (13-for-36).

The Cougars converted only 4-of-25 field goal attempts in the first (14 percent) in falling behind 18-10 at the break. Stoney Creek didn’t convert a bucket over the final seven minutes of the second quarter.

In the second half, the Cougars picked up the defensive pressure, tied the game at 27-27 with 3:05 left in the fourth quarter on a putback by Courtney Solek and took a brief lead at 30-27 on a three-point play by Courtney Eckhout with 2:31 remaining.

Kettering closed with 4-1 run to tie the game at 31-31, although the Captains could not get off a late shot as Stoney Creek’s Melissa Ruprich came up with a clutch steal with three seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

“We made a little adjustment, and at the start of the second half we forced them into a few turnovers — and we finished. In the first half, I think we only shot 14 percent,” said Stoney Creek coach Brad Crighton. “This still hurts. Sure, it was nice to get (back to the regionals), but we had our chances. We did a nice job getting ourselves back into the game.”

In the extra session, Kettering outscored the Cougars 8-4, going 6-for-7 from the charity stripe during overtime, including Shaner’s late-game heroics.

“We made the late free throws which was key. (Stoney Creek) hit some in the fourth to help them come back,” said Woodhull. “I thought we did a nice job defensively in overtime, not letting them to get many clean looks.”

Sophomore Lillia Schoof scored 11, senior Julia Kroll added eight points and junior Emily Bernas scored six for Kettering.

Zandi, Stoney Creek’s all-time leader in steals and assists, bowed out with nine points, six rebounds, six steals and four assists for the Cougars, who hit only 5-of-11 free throws. Sophomore Emma Sobczynski also scored nine with 10 rebounds and Solek added seven points for Stoney Creek.

“That was one of the hardest games Emma played,” sighed Crighton. “She played her butt off. It was fun to watch.

“We just came up short,” added Crighton.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Basketball, Featured Articles, High School, High School (M-Z), Most Recently Updated Stories, Prep Wraps, Rochester Stoney Creek, Sport, Top Stories, Uncategorized

About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.