It was a season of accomplishments that hadn’t been achieved in more than a half a century, but it came to a close when a streaky-shooting squad found its touch in the fourth quarter.
Rochester High boys basketball fell to Detroit Southeastern 54-49 March 19 in Detroit in a Class A quarterfinal. It is the furthest the Falcons have advanced since 1950.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of this bunch of kids. They gelled together, they came together, and it was a fun year. We would’ve loved to get one more, but I guess unless you win the last one, you always want to get one more,” Rochester coach John Pleasant said after the game.
“I’m going to tell them that one game doesn’t define your season. It’s a journey. It’s a long year, and we’re not going to let one game define who we were.”
Rochester finished 21-5 overall. Along the way, the Falcons won their first district title since 1988 before winning the coveted regional.
“We brought home a regional championship for the first time in 63 years. We did something here,” senior James Young said. “We came a long way, and I love this team to death.”
Against Southeastern, the Jungaleers used a 7-2 run to open the fourth quarter to take, and keep, the lead. Heading into the frame, the squads were tied at 29.
“Give them all the credit in the world,” Pleasant said. “They hit shots to start the fourth quarter.”
Rochester trailed by as many as nine points with less than four minutes remaining and were able to cut the lead to three points with seven seconds left after junior Mike Murri sank three free throws.
On the ensuing in-bounds play, Southeastern was forced to call a timeout after not being able to get the ball in. On its next try, the Jungaleers squeezed a pass through, picked a foul and made both of their free-throw attempts with five seconds left to seal the game.
“This loss is going to hurt us for a while, but we will come together as a family,” Young said.