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BOYS BASKETBALL: Waterford Lakecrest Baptist holds of Rochester Hills Christian for MACS-I state title

| March 24, 2016 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

SENIOR EDITOR

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

CLARKSTON — Waterford Lakecrest Baptist voluntarily moved up to repeat as a state champion.

The second-seed Defenders captured their third Michigan Association of Christian Schools boys basketball state title March 5 with a 54-49 decision over top-seeded Rochester Hills Christian at Clarkston Springfield Christian High School.

Lakecrest Baptist won the 2011 and 2015 state titles in MACS Division II, but voluntarily bumped up to MACS-I this season and still claimed the school’s third state title and first in Division I despite having only 30 high school students.

“We didn’t even know at first that we would attempt to do it, but then we decided (right before the cut-off date) and it worked out,” said eighth-year Lakecrest Baptist coach Jon Dalton, who also won a MACS-I title as a player in 2002 at Temperance Stateline Christian. “The goal was to try to win it again, regardless of division. We just felt since we played a lot of bigger schools the past couple of years and we’ve been successful against bigger schools, that we would give it a try. I’m proud of the way the boys stepped up the whole season. We are a very small school.”

Lakecrest Baptist (22-4) trailed only once early in the contest, then held off Rochester Hills Christian’s fourth-quarter surge.

The Defenders used a quick start and eventually led 17-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Rochester Hills Christian (22-3), which was playing in its fifth straight state title game, winning the MACS-I title in 2013, clawed back with a 11-9 edge in the second period and trailed 24-18 at the half.

Lakecrest Baptist extended its advantage to 10 points (42-32) by the end of the third stanza before the top-seeded Eagles forged a desperation comeback in the final quarter only to fall short.

Rochester Hills outscored Lakecrest 17-12 in the fourth quarter and actually cut it to four points with three minutes remaining. Senior guard Ryan Patton, Oakland County’s scoring champ at 34.2 points an outing, fouled out with 2:34 remaining, ending the Eagles’ late-game threat.

Junior guard Jerom Byers nailed a late three-pointer, the last of his five triples, to cut the final deficit down to five points in the waning seconds. Patton, being recruited by numerous colleges, scored 24 points with eight rebounds in his final high school contest, while Byers added 17 points for Rochester Hills, which is 2-6 all-time in MACS title games.

“I thought we did a great job defensively on them,” said Dalton. “Rochester is a very good offensive team and Patton and (Byers) can really shoot the basketball. We held Patton to about 10 under his average, and Byers scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter. With Patton fouling out, we kind of figured that we hold on and we did. I’m really proud of our defense in the tournament.”

Junior guard George Romeos had a fine all-around game by scoring 23 points to go along with seven assists, six rebounds and six steals to pace Lakecrest Baptist. Sophomore guard Sean White scored 14 with 16 rebounds, while senior forward Phillip Dail chipped in with 13 points for the Defenders.

Dail also won a Class D state title in North Carolina in 2014 as a sophomore at Durham Fellowship  Baptist before moving to Michigan and aiding Lakecrest Baptist’s decent to the top the past two years.

Rochester Hills Christian has become a small-school power in recent years under coach Jon Bronsing, playing in its fifth straight MACS-I title bout. The Eagles also lost in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 while winning the state championship in 2013.Basketball - count it

The Eagles also won a title in 1992 and lost in the 1993 state finals. Both of those appearances came in MACS-II.

“I want to take a minute to thank (everyone) for an another amazing Rochester (Hills Christian) basketball season,” offered Bronsing. “The team finished 23-3, winning 20 straight games, a tournament in Florida, their sixth straight league title, and made it to the state championship again this year.”

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Category: Basketball, Featured Articles, High School (M-Z), Most Recently Updated Stories, NOS reference, Prep Wraps, Rochester Hills Christian, Sport, Sports Shorts, Top Stories, Uncategorized, Waterford Lakcrest Baptist

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

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