Published February 5, 2014
Sterling Heights High girls basketball team on a roll
By Jason Carmel Davis email@example.com Follow Jason on Twitter.
STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights High girls basketball coach Rick Repicky thinks his team has played well and improved over the course of the first half of the season.
“We started out slow, not playing really well in our first two games, and then we played really well our next four (games),” Repicky said. “Coming out of Christmas break, we again struggled in our first two games, losing one to (Macomb L’Anse Creuse North). But we’ve rebounded again and have played pretty well. I guess, to sum it up, we’ve been a little inconsistent, but I like the way we’re playing right now.”
That Stallions at press time sat at 8-3, 4-1 Macomb Area Conference Blue Division, including winning eight of nine after the 0-2 start. Sterling Heights sat one game behind 5-0 L’Anse Creuse North for first place in the MAC Blue. The teams shared the division title last season.
The Stallions have won division titles in three of the last five seasons and won a district title last year. Repicky said the Blue is solid from top to bottom.
“L’Anse Creuse North has shown that they are the team to beat after one go-round in the league,” Repicky said. “Additionally, the other teams in our league have shown some strengths. Fraser played us very tough defensively. Roseville has good size and is tough inside, and the other teams have some talented guards you have to account for.”
Only four teams in the 36-squad MAC average more points per game than Sterling Heights’ 51.6. That comes as a bit of a surprise, as the Stallions lost nine players to graduation from a team that won 21 games.
Repicky said his team has been able to score by creating turnovers. In games where players have moved their feet well and rotated aggressively on defense, Sterling Heights has scored much easier, Repicky said.
I also feel we are moving the ball much better recently and (junior guard Sadé Lemons) and some of our other shooters have stepped up and hit shots for us.
Lemons is part of a trio Repicky called on to lead the revamped Stallions, along with seniors Julianna Trombley and Dayshia Vance. He said the team goes as those three go — when they’re playing well, the team wins.
Lemons is the squad’s leading scorer, but the team plays its best when she is dominant on defense, Repicky said. Trombley and Vance are playing at a high level defensively, he said, and newcomers Nia Anderson and Alicia Redmond have stepped up to become defensive forces.
The goal is to repeat as district champions, Repicky said.
The district playoffs begin Feb. 24. Sterling Heights High is in a group with Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse, St. Clair Shores Lakeview and Roseville. L’Anse Creuse will host the district. Sterling Heights faces off with Lake Shore in a district quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Feb. 24.
“I strongly feel that we will be a dangerous team by (the playoffs),” Repicky said. “We have talented starters, depth on the bench that has gained valuable experience, and I think our girls are just beginning to understand what it takes to be strong defensively.
“I don’t think our expectations have changed since the beginning of the year, and we’re very excited for what’s ahead.”
Sterling Heights next plays against Fraser at 6 p.m. Feb. 6 at Fraser.
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