BOYS BASKETBALL: Adams remains perfect in downing pesky Rochester

| January 16, 2016 | Comments (0)



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ROCHESTER HILLS — As part of its 8-0 start, Rochester Adams has found different ways to win ball games this winter.

On Friday against arch-rival Rochester, the Highlanders went to its inside-outside game to tame the Falcons, 57-45, in the 10th annual Crosstown Showdown at Oakland University’s O’Rena.

While 6-foot-4 senior guard Spencer Littleson was his usual self by scoring a game-high 21 points with nine rebounds, the Highlanders gained contributions from a multitude of players in the 12-point win.

David Rinke, a 6-8 senior center, had nine points and five rebounds, senior guard Joey Ziniti scored 12 with four rebounds, senior forward Andrew Slating finished with five points and five boards, while senior guard Michael Girdler had a fine floor game that included six rebounds, six assists and a trio of steals for the Highlanders, who are off to their best start since 2012-13.

“Sometimes we make it harder on ourselves,” said John Hall, Adams’ 17th-season head coach. “We were just settling for outside shots in the first quarter and Rochester came out and was making shots. Then I think we settled down some and weathered the storm. We started to go inside and outside in the second and third quarters and that made a difference. I thought, in the second half, that was the most balanced we’ve played this season.”

Adams only shot 39 percent from the floor (23-for-59) and finished only 57.2 percent from the foul line (8-for-14) and 40 percent from 3-point range (4-for-10). But the taller Highlanders used their size advantage to clean up on the glass.

Adams out-rebounded Rochester, 41-23, consistently gaining second-chance shots and frustrating Rochester inside.

“I think Rochester is a much-improved team. They have several guys that can shoot it,” said Hall. “ I think when we went with two post players against their five guards — they struggled to stop us inside and we were able to build a nice (cushion) in the second half.”

The Falcons had no answer for Adams in the paint and repeatedly misfired in the second and third stanzas after drilling a trio of three-pointers in the first quarter.

“I don’t think we shot the ball very well in the second and third quarters and that was a big difference. You have to shoot the ball against a team like Adams. They are very good,” said Rochester coach John Pleasant. “I think if we hit just a couple more shots, then the game wouldn’t have got away from us as much. They built the lead (to 14 points) and I think their defense had something to do with us not making shots.”

Rochester, which finished 0-21 last season and 2-19 in 2013-14, has shown great strides since last season. The Falcons are 3-4 with several sophomores and juniors gaining valuable minutes.

“We are way better than last year and next year we will bring back four starters back to this floor and 3-4 of our top subs will be back as well,” noted Pleasant. “We have something to keep building on (in the future).”

Rochester opened the game with an 11-1 run — the first two points were awarded to Rochester after the officials made a mistake and the Highlanders scored four seconds into the contest in the wrong hoop — and looked like a team that could spring an upset.

The Falcons cooled substantially after that point. Rochester led 13-11 at the end of the first quarter, only to see Adams rally back with a 14-7 second quarter surge for a 25-20 advantage at the break.

The Highlanders used a 21-12 run in the third quarter to pull away and led by as many as 14 points in the second half before staving off Rochester down the stretch.

Adams held Rochester to a 38.7 shooting clip (17-for-44) and 27.3 percent from long distance territory (6-for-22).

Sophomore guard Hunter Schattler scored 19 points and junior guard Ivan Barazza added 10 points — both canned a trio of three-pointers — to pace Rochester. Senior guard Alonzo Mitchell added six points and seven rebounds, 6-4 sophomore Lamarcko Gulledge (four rebounds, four blocks) and junior guard Ahmed Anthony (six rebounds, four assists) also made contributions for the Falcons.

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