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Stallions girls hoops coach wins coach of the year award
March 26, 2014
STERLING HEIGHTS — Upon finding out he had been named Coach of the Year in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division, Sterling Heights High girls basketball coach Rick Repicky completely deflected all the attention from himself.
“I was lucky to have a great team,” said Repicky, who led the Stallions to a 21-4 record that included a third division title in four years and a second straight district title. “When you coach talented, unselfish players, the job is pretty easy, and I was fortunate to have a group like that this year.”
That group is one of the most successful in the history of the girls hoops program. Sterling Heights High fell one game short of the program’s first regional title. Along the way, though, Sterling Heights won an outright division title — after sharing the MAC Gold crown with Macomb L’Anse Creuse North last year — and won a second consecutive Class A district title.
The Stallions, who sported the third most potent offense in the 36-team MAC at 53.6 points per game, also had a 17-game winning streak that spanned nearly two months.
Repicky said he sees two reasons why the team has been so successful in recent years, and particularly, this past season.
“One is having talented kids who are willing to play defense hard and play defense together. Most of the victories we’ve had (in recent seasons) have been a result of pressure defense — which requires our players to be in great shape and work together to force turnovers — and hurried offense from our opponents,” said Repicky, whose defensive philosophy led to the Stallions allowing barely 40 points per game.
“We have had a good run of kids who are not only willing to play that style, but who really enjoy it, as well.”
Repicky said the other key to his team’s success is having players who are willing to do the dirty work it takes to make a team successful. Players must understand they all have different roles, Repicky said. A good team needs players who will set screens, rebound, defend, play hard and challenge every day in practice.
Repicky has been the architect of some successful teams, yet he more often than not gives all of the credit to his players — even those who may not score a lot or create the most headlines.
“We have been blessed with a lot of kids whose names don’t always make it in the paper,” Repicky said, “but their effort and sacrifice have been essential to our championship teams.”