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Rochester, Farmington

February 13, 2013

Harrison and Adams set to clash in game that could determine division champ

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Harrison sophomore Deja Hunter takes a shot as senior Marissa Cotton applies some lighthearted defense during practice. The Hawks control their own destiny as far as the OAA White Division is concerned.

A year ago, they were the hunted, the team out front and in possession of the thing everyone else wanted.

A year later, the Rochester Adams girls basketball team is on the other side of the equation, scratching and clawing to defend that top spot in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

The hunted in 2013 is Farmington Hills Harrison, and on Valentine’s night, the battle ensues.

“We know the winner of this game is either going to have a championship to themselves or at least have the chance to share it with someone,” Adams coach Fran Scislowicz said. “It’s a pretty big game. We’re looking forward to it.”

The Raiders were 12-4 overall at press time and 10-2 in White Division play.

Harrison, 15-1 overall at press time, stood alone atop the White with an 11-1 mark and hosts Adams at 7 p.m. Feb. 14.

“I think when you get to this point and you only have a few games left, there is a much different feel to everything,” Harrison coach Tim Micklash said. “One of our goals as a team was to win a league championship, and we have the opportunity to do that.”

The teams met once this season, a 37-28 Harrison victory Jan. 4.

“They got ahead early and were able to dictate the pace of the game the rest of the night,” Scislowicz said. “We battled, got within five at one point, but were never able to get closer. … We have to take advantage of our offense more. I know they want to slow things down and limit our possessions. We’re a better team when we’re able to take 40 or 50 shots, and that’s what our goal will be.”

That loss dropped Adams to 2-2 in league play at the time, leaving the defending White champs without much hope of defending.

Eight straight wins later, a victory Thursday night would more or less deliver a second title.

“It’s a great tribute to our girls to be in this position,” Scislowicz said a day after his team went on the road and beat an Oxford High team that was 13-3 overall and 11-2 in the White by a margin of 43-34.

“We knew, with replacing five starters, it would take time, and it has. But now’s our chance to defend the title we’ve wanted so badly.”

Harrison, on the other hand, enters the game as the prohibitive favorite, a team that hasn’t lost since a 30-27 setback to Oxford Nov. 30 and was riding a 14-game winning streak with an average margin of victory at 29 points.

“The starts we’ve had have been great,” Micklash said. “We’ve been grabbing early leads, growing our confidence, and then adding to the lead as the game goes on. We’ve also cut down on the turnovers and defended real well, and when you do all that, you have a shot to win any game you’re in.”

So how do they sweep the season series?

“We’re not going to reinvent the wheel,” Micklash added with a laugh. “We’ve been solid defensively all season, and that’s where we’ll win or lose this one. If we can take care of the ball and make some adjustments as the game goes on, we’ll have a shot. That’s all you can hope for.”

While the game’s winner won’t officially secure the division title — both teams have two White games remaining — a Harrison win would all but clinch the crown outright, barring an upset against Andover or Lake Orion.

An Adams win, barring a loss to Rochester High or Farmington High, would likely forge a three-way tie for the division championship.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Micklash said, adding that Harrison hasn’t won a girls basketball division title since 1999. “You want to be part of big games late in the season where you’re still playing for something. That’s what this game is all about.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.