BOYS BASKETBALL: Breaking the hex: Stoney Creek embarks on new journey with Sweet 16 appearance | North Oakland Sports

BOYS BASKETBALL: Breaking the hex: Stoney Creek embarks on new journey with Sweet 16 appearance

| March 15, 2017 | Comments (0)



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ROCHESTER HILLS — After several near-misses, Rochester Stoney Creek finally learned that there is truly life after the district round.

The Cougars defeated Utica Eisenhower (54-51), Rochester Adams (52-38) and Rochester High (42-28) for the school’s first Class A district basketball title school history. Stoney Creek also defeated Linden (53-39) in a regional semifinal before bowing out in the Sweet 16 to state powerhouse Clarkston.

Previously, Stoney Creek was 0-3 in district finals all-time, including losing in the 2016 district finals to Rochester Adams.

“One thing I love about this team is the way they treat each other and the way they get along,” offered Norgrove. “It shows in the way they play on the court. They play together. They do a great job of sharing the basketball and worry about winning above (individual stats). I think that is some of the main reasons why we finally won a district this season.”

Stoney Creek matched a school record for wins this season (19-6). The Cougars finished second in the OAA Blue Division this year after falling to Birmingham Groves in a winner-takes-all regular and league season finale.

“We bounced back hungry after that loss. I think the kids had something to prove,” said Norgrove, who is in his seventh season with Stoney Creek and 15th overall as a head coach in Metro Detroit.

“The Sweet 16 — it does have a nice ring to it,” said Norgrove after his team defeated Linden in the regional semifinals. “The kids have bought in and believed they could do it. They (were) rewarded for all of their efforts. We might not be the most talented team. But we are one of the hardest working teams (in Class A).”

Stoney Creek lost quite a bit offense to graduation the past couple of years, but have had other players step in and fill voids.

Junior forward Michael Melaragni, one the state’s top soccer stars who should be one of the front-runners for Mr. Soccer in 2017, has consistently wreaked havoc with his athleticism out on the courted.

“He plays with a lot of energy,” noted Norgrove of Melaragni. “He’s a tough match-up because he can do so many things. He does a very good job of attacking the basket.”

Junior Nate Davis has been a three-point threat, while senior guards Tanner Dean and Evan Becker have also supplied solid defense and perimeter shooting.Senior forward Matthew Caruso was a key contributor in the post.

“We have a system and I think this group has bought in as good or maybe even better than any other group I’ve coached,” said Norgrove. “I’ve said it before that we are not the most talented team around. We might not have the best basketball players and we certainly don’t have the height as most of the teams we play. But we work harder and we have great team chemistry. Those (characteristics) are what has made us successful.”


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