Center Line, Sterling HeightsJanuary 3, 2013
Sterling Heights boys hoops team bests Center Line in non-league matchup
By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer
CENTER LINE — In the teams' last tune-up before Macomb Area Conference divisional play begins next week, the Sterling Heights High boys basketball team used a strong first quarter in knocking off Center Line 68-44.
The matchup took place Jan. 3 at Center Line.
"We know points are going to be hard to come by for us," Sterling Heights High coach Mike Griffin said. "We're going to try to hold teams below 45 points, and we've been able to do that so far."
Going into the contest, the Stallions (3-2) had been holding opponents to 41.8 points per game.
Sterling Heights, a MAC Gold team, jumped out to a 10-2 lead less than three minutes into the game. The Stallions used that momentum to take an 18-4 lead going into the second quarter. Both teams employed zone defenses over the course of the game, with the majority of buckets on both sides coming via layup or 3-pointer.
"We've had a long layoff. This was our first day back to school, and it kind of showed because we came out flat," Panthers coach Jimmy Nelson said. "When you get down how we did tonight, it's tough to come back."
Center Line (0-4) — members of the MAC Silver — fought hard for the remainder of the contest and was outscored by just 10 (50-40) after the first quarter. The Panthers, however, were never able to get closer than 11, which came when sophomore guard Marcus Panyek nailed a 3 to cut the Sterling Heights lead to 41-30 in the second quarter.
Griffin praised his players for making the right basketball play for most of the night. Making an extra pass against the Center Line zone led to a number of close in shots that were converted into points.
"It was good to see they weren't so concerned with their stats."
The second half was a bit disjointed due to the number of whistles. Panthers players were called for six fouls just 2:31 into the second half. Center Line was whistled for 22 fouls on the night.
"That hurts, too, because it makes it difficult to get into any kind of rhythm," Nelson said.
"We had a long time off, but I'm pretty good with how we played tonight," Griffin said.
The Panthers came out on the losing end, but made the play of the game with 2:36 left when junior forward/center Renard Mincey slammed home a lob off an in-bounds pass from junior forward AJ Favazza for Center Line's last field goal of the game.
The Stallions' biggest lead was 25 at 68-43. Junior guard Jimmy Turner and junior forward Jalen Dixon paced Sterling Heights with 14 points a piece.
Panyek led the Panthers with 14, including four 3-pointers. Mincey chipped in with 12.
Sterling Heights' next contest is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 8, when it hosts Warren Woods Tower.
Center Line will look to pick up its first win when it hosts Clinton Township Clintondale at 7 p.m. Jan. 8.