Eisenhower girls basketball claims first district title in 15 years

By: Timothy Pontzer | Shelby - Utica News | Published March 5, 2018

 The Utica Eisenhower girls basketball team poses with a Class A district trophy after defeating Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 49-33 March 2. The win earned Ike its first district crown in 15 seasons.

The Utica Eisenhower girls basketball team poses with a Class A district trophy after defeating Rochester Hills Stoney Creek 49-33 March 2. The win earned Ike its first district crown in 15 seasons.

Photo by Timothy Pontzer

ROCHESTER HILLS — The last time the Utica Eisenhower girls basketball team won a district, no members of the current roster had yet to enroll in kindergarten. Some of the younger players weren’t even born.

That all changed March 2 as the Eagles notched a 49-33 victory over tournament host Rochester Hills Stoney Creek. For coach Michael Satawa, the win was a long time coming.

“This was my third trip (to the district final in six years). Luckily, the third time was the charm,” Satawa said with a laugh. “We’ve been to the district final nine times in the past 15 years as a program. It feels really good for the girls to get this. It’s all about them.”

Ike overcame an early 9-0 deficit, but the game was tied 11-11 by the end of the first quarter.

“We were down 9-0, and that’s how we came out against (Rochester) Adams on Wednesday,” Satawa remarked. “We regrouped after a timeout and went on that run. I was happy with how they responded.”

The Eagles took the lead in the second quarter and never relinquished the advantage. A strong defensive effort resulted in 33 Stoney Creek turnovers.

“Their defense is very tough to prepare for, but we know that ours is hard to prepare for too,” Satawa said. “We’re very old-fashioned, in your face man-to-man defense. We’re full court for 32 minutes.”

The stifling defense was further showcased by a stretch of over 10 minutes in the second half where the Cougars were held without a point.

“We forced some turnovers, and then we just played some keep-away there,” Satawa explained. “We did what we practiced, which is to move the ball around with our diamond offense, and it all worked out.”

Satawa praised his group of five seniors, citing their leadership and experience.

“It means everything to our team to get this,” senior guard/forward Malynn Kosnik said. “We strived for this for four years. We finally met our potential. My sophomore year, we lost in the final against Stoney, so to get them back this year was awesome.”

Fellow senior guard/forward Paige Montreuil agreed.

“This is the one we’ve been waiting for. We came really close against Adams last year,” Montreuil remarked. “We came out with a chip on our shoulder and showed that we really wanted this one badly. We just wanted to play up to a high standard, and we played well on both sides.”

Montreuil was pleased with the way the Eagles overcame the early deficit.

“We’ve had a bad habit of starting games out slow, but we came back and evened it up,” Montreuil explained. “At halftime, we just talked about coming out hard. I’m really proud of these girls. They earned it tonight.”

Overall, Ike was 18-3 at press time. Junior forward Sara Faloon led the Eisenhower attack with 16 points, and junior guard Lauren DeBeau pitched in 10. The club advanced to face Waterford Kettering in a regional semifinal at West Bloomfield High after press time. Visit candgnews.com/sports for updates.