BOYS BASKETBALL: Rochester Adams’ rebuild includes district championship

| March 11, 2018 | Comments (0)



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ROCHESTER HILLS — After finishing 0-21 last season, there was only one way for Rochester Adams to head this season and that was up.

The youthful Highlanders took another step forward in the right direction last week by winning the school’s sixth district championship.

Adams upended Utica Eisenhower, 63-45, in a Class A district final at Rochester Stoney Creek.

Behind 11 seniors, Adams made a run to the Sweet 16 back in 2016, only to suffer a major rebuilding season last winter without a win.

“I think it was especially rewarding for the players who were on varsity last season,” offered Adams coach Brad Crighton. “That was rough last season, but we brought in some good young talent this year and returned several key guys and all of them bought in. We went through a lot of close games, last year and this year, really, and I think that helped us. We’ve had some close losses and a few close wins.”

Adams built an 18-11 lead on Eisenhower (15-7) and led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter before Ike used a 13-12 surge to close to within 30-24 at the half.

The Highlanders (14-8) ventured on a 13-6 run in the third stanza for a 43-30 advantage, then closed out the game with a 20-15 fourth quarter to win by 18 points.

Senior guard Anthony Chukka scored 11 to lead Eisenhower, who four days earlier upset Rochester 72-63 on the strength of 14 three-pointers.

“We knew Eisenhower shot the ball really well from the outside. We knew they played hard and came at you with a lot of energy,” said Crighton. “We had to take away the easy outside shot, put some pressure on them and take away the three (pointer).”

Freshman Ethan Emerzian led Adams with a game-high 21 points. Sophomore forward Payton Prieskorn, a transfer from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, added 17 points, while senior forward Ryan Lindley contributed eight points and 16 rebounds for the Highlanders. Junior forward Jake Schuler scored nine for Adams.

The Highlanders lost 6-4 sophomore forward Austin Ursula to a knee injury in mid-February. He was the leading scorer the past two years until he went down with the injury.

Rochester Adams junior forward Jake Schuler and the young Highlanders have traveled from an 0-21 season last year to Class A district champions this season. Courtesy Photo | Rochester Adams Athletics


“We’ve had a lot of guys steps up when he went down,” said Crighton. “I think guys like Ryan Lindley have really improved. (The district finals) was the best he’s played all year. We needed that. And having Payton in there is nice. He had to sit out the first semester after transferring over from St. Mary’s. He’s done a nice job for us.

“I am really pleased with how far we’ve come,” continued Crighton. “I mean when you have two freshmen and five sophomores on varsity and only three seniors on the whole roster, you’re going to have some bumps in the road. But we’ve worked really hard and improved a ton and we were able to play great game and win a district championship.”

Adams will play Orchard Lake St. Mary’s at 5 p.m. Monday at West Bloomfield High School in a Class A regional semifinal.

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