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St. Clair Shores

Dakota outlasts Sterling Heights High in Class A girls hoops regional playoff game

Cougars hold on after losing 18-point halftime lead

March 5, 2013

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The Macomb Dakota girls basketball team survived a tough test from Sterling Heights High in a 2013 MHSAA Class A girls basketball regional final, which the Cougars won 64-52. Pictured is Dakota guard Olivia Savage, during the March 5 regional semi.

ST. CLAIR SHORES — The Macomb Dakota girls basketball team will get a third shot at Grosse Pointe South after the Cougars used some clutch free throw shooting to get past Sterling Heights High 64-56 in a 2013 Michigan High School Athletic Association Class A regional semifinal played March 5 at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.

The game turned into a dogfight in the second half, as the Stallions (20-3) dug themselves out of an 18-point hole they were in at halftime. A 14-4 run over the course of the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, punctuated by a lay-up by Sterling Heights Sadé Lemons, knotted the game at 52.

Dakota (20-3) sealed the win with a 12-2 spurt of its own. During that game-clinching run, the Cougars went 7-for-8 from the foul line. A 3 by Dakota senior guard Miranda Bates, who netted16 points for the Cougars, pushed a Cougars lead to 59-54 with 2:25 to play.

"I thought that shot was a dagger," Dakota coach Phil McCune said. "We talked about making sure we came out with a lot of intensity to start the second half. I think we kind of took them for granted to start the half. But give Sterling Heights credit, they battled back."

The Cougars advance to face Grosse Pointe South March 7 at Lake Shore. As members of the Macomb Area Conference, the two teams squared off twice during the regular season. South won both meetings.

"I know they got some good video on us tonight, as did we on them," McCune said. "Hopefully, the third time's the charm."

In the regional semi, the Stallions began to employ a fullcourt press early in the second half and were able to force a number of turnovers that led to points during the comeback. Of the 27 turnovers Sterling Heights forced March 5, 18 came in the second half.

"I'm really proud of how the girls fought. They played their hearts out," Stallions coach Rick Repicky said. "But the hole we dug ourselves was too big."

Dakota seniors Kylie Townsley and Kylie Churches chipped in with 16 and 12 points, respectively.

Lemons and junior Julianna Trombley led Sterling Heights with 12 a piece. Stallions junior point guard Dayshia Vance netted eight points.

Dakota led 41-23 at halftime but was outscored 33-23 in the second half.

The Cougars forced 18 turnovers — 12 in the first half on the way to building a big lead.



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