by BRYAN EVERSON
Making shots is the whole point of basketball, and Tuesday night the simplest story unfolded over four quarters at Adams High school.
The Highlanders were victims of a clinical shooting night from Stoney Creek, who proved efficient from beyond the arc to score a 50-30 win over its inter-city rivals.
“I told the girls that basketball’s real easy when you make your shots,” Stoney Creek coach Kellen James said. “We went into a funk there for three or four games when we couldn’t buy a basket, then we kind of started slowing the game down. We talked about good shots, not the open shot, and I think [the girls] responded tonight.”
Adams (3-5, 0-3 OAA Red) weathered the initial storm well, though. Sophomore guard Emily Eckhout hit a pair of triples that got Stoney out ahead initially, but the home side looked to shift into fifth gear offensively, and proved successful by scoring on quick shots and driving to the rim before the Cougars (6-5, 1-1 OAA Red) were able to arrange themselves defensively.
“We wanted to push it, and you saw that in the beginning,” Adams coach Jackie Steinacker said.
Senior guard Maggie Rogers showed off her multi-faceted game with a 3-pointer and a drive from the left wing to tie the game for Adams at 14-all early in the second quarter, proving more than capable of matching Eckhout’s production, but it was when the Cougars’ other weapons began to fire that Adams struggled to keep pace. Rogers halted an 8-0 run that included another pair of 3-pointers by Eckhout with one of her own, but senior Morgan Porter (16 points) connected on a trey of her own and was able to drive for a layup to extend Stoney’s lead to 10 late in the quarter.
By halftime, Stoney had registered two-thirds of its points on 3’s.
“In the first half, Emily’s 3’s were [because of] quick passes,” James said. “Nothing was one pass and shot, it was from seven, eight, nine-pass possessions.
After the break, the Cougars trap at mid-court began to give Adams fits, and the Highlanders experienced a quarter-long shooting drought, picking up their only field goal of the third when freshman Amelia Drahnak scored layup in the final thirty seconds as Stoney still led 38-22.
Even with the game out of reach, Rogers, who finished with a team-high 14 points, was able to hit several 3’s early in the fourth and temporarily put a hitch in the widening deficit.
“She can shoot the ball with somebody on her, ball-fake, and she’s got a great first step,” James said.
“She runs people ragged, and at one point in the second half she did that, and we had to keep switching who was guarding her, because she was running all over the place.”
“She came in with a hand in her face and knocked down big shots, but we figured if we could contain her, that would be how the game went. I think she had four 3’s in the first half, then only one or two open looks in the second half.”
Ultimately, the gap proved too wide by that point, and the Cougars were clinical in the final four minutes even as Adams extended its defense, able to siphon the clock with good ball movement.
“The gameplan was to not let their shooters in a rhythm tonight, and they got in a rhythm and killed us,” Steinacker said. “We were just outworked. By laying off, giving them what they wanted, they wiped the floor with us.”
“We got ourselves in a hole, then started throwing up quick stuff. I thought we handled their press well, getting into a half-court setting. We got a fair amount of shots off, we just couldn’t finish.”
Eckhout finished with a game-high 17 points, and senior Ally Voss formed a trio of double-digit scorers for the Cougars, finishing with 11.
James said his seniors “played like seniors” going up against their fellow Rochester foes.
“In a cross-town game, they knew how much was on the line, and they definitely wanted to make a statement,” he said.
Stoney will get a stiff test next at talented Southfield A&T Thursday night, while Adams will host Utica Saturday afternoon, set for a 1 p.m. tip-off.
Follow us on Twitter @RRHGazette for continuing coverage of prep sports.