BOYS BASKETBALL: Adams shuts down Clarkston in battle of unbeatens |
BY DAN STICKRADT
CLARKSTON — When shots are not falling with regularity, good teams will look to defense end to offset its offensive woes.
Rochester Adams truly went to the defensive end Tuesday night.
The visiting Highlanders forced 17 turnovers and held Clarkston to 26.5 percent shooting (14-for-53) in posting a 46-39 OAA crossover boys basketball victory over the Wolves in a game of unbeaten teams.
The win marked Adams’ first over Clarkston since 2002-03.
“They beat us by three (points) or less a few times in the past few years,” recalled Adams coach John Hall. “We’ve had some real close games with them over the years. It’s nice to beat them.”
Adams committed 21 turnovers on its own and was held to a 19-for-45 shooting night (42.2 percent) but held the lead throughout most of the contest.
Adams, which used 11 players, was up 12-11 after the first quarter and 18-15 at the break.
The lead grew to as many as 11 points in the third quarter. Ben Limb’s putback with 2:29 left in the third frame gave the Highlanders a 31-20 cushion, their biggest lead of the night.
Whenever Clarkston made a push — the Wolves did close to within 36-30 early in the fourth quarter and again down to three points at 40-37 with 1:24 to play — the experienced Highlanders had the answer.
“I think we really got after them defensively and I think that made a real big difference,” said Hall. “They didn’t get any real big scoring runs on us. When they made a couple of baskets, we seemed to have an answer. We played some good, physical defense. This wasn’t pretty, but it is the type of game you need to play in order to learn something about yourself.
“We had seven seniors on varsity and six of them played a lot of minutes last season. Plus Akhemji Williams plays like a returning senior,” added Hall. “We know that Clarkston is young and that they were missing two key players. Tonight, I thought we did a good job of not letting their shooters get them back into the game. Tonight, it was our defense that won this game for us.”
Williams finished with eight points, six assists, six rebounds and two steals for Adams. Ben Limb scored a team-high 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting with four boards and Zack Littleson chipped in with nine points and five rebounds for the Highlanders.
“They out-toughed us mentally and physically tonight,” noted veteran Clarkston coach Dan Fife. “We showed our youth. But I hate to use that as an excuse, even with all of our sophomores. You have to learn in a hurry in order to play at this level. We did a good job in our first three games coming back. Adams did not let us (completely) come back this time. They are (an experienced) and physical basketball team and they earned it.”
Nick Owens scored a game-high 19 points with six rebounds and four steals for Clarkston. Andrew Byers added eight points and Merrick Canada chipped in with six points for the Wolves.