Article Courtesy of the MIPrepZone
Normally, you put a high school kid in an unfamiliar college building, with different markings on the floor, brighter lights and a much more active shooting background, and they struggle to hit shots.
For a Rochester Adams team that’s struggled all season long to make shots, Friday’s trip to Oakland University’s Athletics Center O’rena actually had the opposite effect.
The Highlanders shot extraordinarily well, rolling to runs of 11 and 15 points to start each half of the Crosstown Showdown against rival Rochester, their 71-26 win marking a seventh straight in the series.
“I mean, it’s great to keep that tradition going. My first year as a head coach, but I’ve been a part of it for three years, and it’s always good for the seniors to continue that. … It’s always a fun game, to be here, the hype around it, to play on this floor, it’s always a good time,” said Jacki Steinacker. “I think we finally found a rhythm. We’ve been struggling to find a rhythm all year. This gym, surprisingly, we were able to find a rhythm with our shots. The floor, the lighting — it’s something they’re not used to, so to be able to come out and shoot as well as we did, definitely happy about that.”
For the Highlanders (5-8, 0-5 OAA Red), the building seemed to have little effect.
Then again, they’ve played here before, as well as other bigger facilities.
“It’s definitely not a shooter’s gym like I’m used to at Adams. Just being in this arena, it’s loud, it’s fun. It’s kind of like playing at The Palace, almost. So many seats, so many fans. It’s just fun for everyone that’s here,” said Adams senior Maggie Rogers, who’s played at the O’rena three times, The Palace once, and won the state free-throw shooting contest at Michigan State’s Breslin Center.
“Just being with everyone, having your whole school here, being the third year, it’s kind of like one last go-round, so you want to make the most of it. … You kind of want to go out with a bang, so it’s good to win the last one.”
Rogers had 23 points to lead all scorers, while Ryian Owusu added 14, Makayla Smith had 12, and Hannah Simard had 10.
Having won two of their last three coming into the game, it seemed like things were turning around a bit for the struggling Falcons (2-12, 2-5 OAA Blue).
But they fell behind 11-0 before Jenna Norgrove finally got them on the scoreboard in the final minute of the first quarter, then allowed Adams to expand its 36-18 halftime lead with a 15-0 run to start the third quarter.
“It’s very frustrating, obviously. Things have not gone the way I’ve wanted, especially to them,” Rochester coach Adam Sheldon said of losing seven in a row in the Showdown. “Just remind them that it’s high school sports, and the best thing about high school sports is that the next day is a chance to correct what didn’t go right for you tonight. … I said, ‘Hey, it’s a high school basketball game. You’re fortunate to be a part of these things. What a great event. We’ll walk out. It’s not the end of the world.’ Just think about what we need to do to get better.”