BOYS BASKETBALL: Stoney Creek rallies past Rochester to reach district finals

| March 10, 2016 | Comments (0)



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ROCHESTER HILLS — This one had trap game written all over it.

Rochester Stoney Creek found itself in quite a predicament Wednesday night, but the Cougars found away to escape such a trap and post a 47-39, come-from-behind, victory over rival Rochester in a Class A boys basketball district semifinal at Rochester Adams.

Stoney Creek, which is in the mist of its best-ever season in the 14-year history of the school, is 19-2 and will face host Rochester Adams in the district finals Friday at 7 p.m.

The Cougars carry an eight-game win streak into the district finals tilt hoping to avenge one of the two teams to defeat Stoney Creek this season all while trying to claim the school’s first district title.

“I know the boys have wanted to play them again,” admitted Stoney Creek coach Steve Norgrove. “I was a little bit nervous at first, but we remained patient and came back in the second half.”

Rochester (10-11) slowed down the pace and cut the possessions in half in order to spring the upset trap on Stoney Creek, the OAA Blue Division champions who defeated the Falcons by scores of 72-64 and 57-44 during the regular season.

Rochester’s game plan nearly worked before Stoney Creek’s late surge.

“Hats of to them, because they weathered the storm and we ran out of steam a little bit in the end,” said Rochester coach John Pleasant, whose team made a 180-degree reversal after finishing 0-21 a year ago. “We had a game plan. We tried to slow the game down a little bit and I thought for the most part we played solid defense on them. It was really a couple of mistakes, key plays that made the difference for them. I think (Ben) Reiter’s play in the second half was really the difference. He hit a couple of threes, had some key rebounds and made a couple of steals that made the difference. It was a close game.”

Both teams were tied at 32-32 at the end of the third quarter, only to see the senior-laden Cougars pull away with a 15-7 fourth stanza.

“We knew they were going to try to slow it down. We were prepared for them. We knew they were going to try and throw some different stuff at us, so it took us a little bit to get acclimated,” offered Norgrove. “Credit our guys, we stuck to the mission — and that is survive and advance.”

Adams cruised past Eisenhower 65-35 in the second district semifinal Wednesday to set up the all-Rochester area district final on Friday. Adams defeated Stoney Creek 66-63 back in mid-December.

Reiter scored 19 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to go along with seven rebounds to help Stoney Creek rally past Rochester. Senior guard Spencer Holloman added 11 points and sophomore forward Michael Melargni followed with seven points and six rebounds for the Cougars.

“We’ve been itching for a chance to play them again,” said Reiter. “We want nothing more than a (second) chance to play Adams.”

Norgrove was quick to note how Reiter’s play was a difference-maker in a tight game between inter city rivals.

“He’s been solid for us all year and we’ve really had to lean on him,” said Norgrove of Reiter. “When he’s focused and dialed in, he tends to make big plays. The trick, as a player, is to pick the right times to make those plays, and he’s done a pretty good job of that.”

Junior Ivan Berazza scored a co-game-high 20 points for Rochester, which started five underclassmen in the contest. Sophomore Lamarcko Gulledge added 10 points and eight rebounds and sophomore Hunter Schattler followed with seven points and three assists.

Schattler’s late three-pointer pulled Rochester to within 44-39 with 28.4 seconds left, but the Falcons missed a trio of shots down the stretch while Stoney Creek converted 3-of-6 free throws in the end.

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