Clinton TownshipMarch 6, 2013
Sterling Heights boys basketball team downs Roseville in district semi
By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer
CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Sterling Heights High junior guard Mark Berishaj said he's been on teams that let up 11 points in a half, but never had he been a part of an effort like the Stallions gave March 6.
Sterling Heights held Rosevile High to three points in the first half of a Michigan High School Athletic Association Class A district semifinal on its 45-34 win over the Panthers.
The game took place at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley.
The Stallions (10-12) advance to play either Chippewa Valley or St. Clair Shores Lake Shore in a Class A district final set for 7 p.m. March 8 at Chippewa Valley.
"We just want it more," said Berishaj, who tallied 21 points for Sterling Heights in the win. "We didn't win our league or anything like that, but we know we want that district title."
The Stallions ran a 2-3 zone defense for the majority of the contest. Roseville (9-12) experiencd difficulty penetrating that zone all night. The Panthers' three first-half points all came via free throw. Roseville didn't convert its first field goal attempt until early in the third quarter when Panthers junior Elijah Collier, who netted seven points in the lost, hit a lay-up to make it 18-7 Sterling Heights.
"That's the way we've been playing all year. That's how we have to play if we're gonna win," Stallions coach Mike Griffin said. "We want to hit a few more baskets, but we're winning with defense."
In two playoff games, Sterling Heights is allowing 33.5 points per contest. That number is nearly 18 points less than the Stallions' regular-season average of 51.3.
Roseville battled back in the second half, getting as close as within seven in the third quarter. In the second half, the Panthers outscored Sterling Heights 31-29.
Roseville was no slouch on defense, either. Sterling Heights didn't manage a field goal until the second quarter. In building a 7-0 lead after the first, the Stallions scored all their points at the foul line and hit just four shots in the first half.
Junior guard Jimmy Turner chipped in with 12 points for the Stallions.
Junior guard Jerry Mathis netted 12 for Roseville.
Sterling Heights finished 18 for 27 on free throws, while Roseville went 13 for 21 from the foul line.