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BOYS BASKETBALL: Adams staves off Brandon to reach regional finals

| March 14, 2016 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

SENIOR EDITOR

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

MACOMB TWP. — The final weeks of the season can bring out the best in athletes, especially seniors in a one-game elimination format.

It has more than motivated the 10 seniors on Rochester Adams’ boys basketball roster.

The Highlanders, third in the talent-laden OAA Red Division, held their fourth straight postseason opponent to under 40 points and sub-40 percent shooting. The latest came Monday in a 47-38 victory over Ortonville Brandon in a Class A regional semifinals at Macomb Dakota.

Adams (18-5) advances to the regional finals (Sweet 16) for the second time in school history and will face state-ranked Macomb Dakota at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Brandon, which captured its first district title since 1993 and first as a Class A school overall, finishes the season 15-8.

The Highlanders, who last reached the regional finals in 2011, blanketed Brandon’s guards the whole night, holding the Blackhawks to 34.2 shooting (13-for-38) from the floor for the game.

“I think with the finality of the state tournament, I really think our guys have completely bought in defensively at this point. We are playing defense the way we know they are capable of,” said Adams coach John Hall. “This is the fourth straight team we held to under 40 points. We have been able to run a lot of bodies at them. And when guys are buying in defensively and playing good defense, it allows us to that. I think Brandon got really tired in the last couple minutes.”

Adams trailed only one (4-3 at 5:18 of the first  quarter) and withstood Brandon’s fourth-quarter rally.

The Highlanders led 25-13 at the half and 33-23 through three quarters of play.

Brandon trimmed the lead down to 42-38 with 57.3 ticks remaining, but the Blackhawks’ tired legs and the Highlanders’ free throw shooting kept them at bay.

Adams converted 7-of-8 free throws in the final 1:06 to pull away, including four freebies from senior guard Joey Zinitti.

“This (matches) the furthest that Adams has ever gone and us seniors wanted to play in the regional finals and try to bring home our first regional championship,” said Zinitti. “We have that chance now. We’re looking forward to (Wednesday).”

Adams held Brandon to 4-for-14 shooting and just 13 points in the first half in building the 12-point advantage.

Adams senior standout Spencer Littleson had more field goal attempts (15) and equaled Brandon’s total output (13 points) over the first 16 minutes of play.

Littleson finished with 16 points and six rebounds, Zinitti added 14 points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter, to go along with three steals, and senior guard Michael Girdler followed with nine points, six rebounds and three steals for Adams, which held a commanding 35-21 edge on the boards.

“It took us a half to really figure it out,” said Brandon coach Ross Gauthier. “Adams is a really good defensive team and they make you work for everything. We started to figure it out in the third quarter and we did a good job cutting it down (to four points). But we ran out of steam and Adams hit their free throws late.”

Senior forward Luke Rekuta, a transfer from Clarkston, nailed a trio of three-pointers and finished with 11 points to lead Brandon. Senior guard Tyree Gibbs and senior guard Jack Monro both scored eight points and senior point guard Tariq Archibald, a four-year veteran, bowed out with five assists, four rebounds and two steals.

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Category: Basketball, BWW Athlete of the Week, Featured Articles, High School, NOS reference, Ortonville Brandon, Prep Wraps, Rochester Adams, Sport, Top Stories, Uncategorized

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

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