Stoney Creek girls basketball falls in district final, Prep earns title

By: Timothy Pontzer | Rochester Post | Published March 6, 2018

 Rochester Hills Stoney Creek coach Kellen James addresses his team in a timeout during a contest earlier this season. The Cougars hosted a Class A district bracket, beating Rochester High and Romeo High before falling to Utica Eisenhower.

Rochester Hills Stoney Creek coach Kellen James addresses his team in a timeout during a contest earlier this season. The Cougars hosted a Class A district bracket, beating Rochester High and Romeo High before falling to Utica Eisenhower.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

ROCHESTER HILLS — Kellen James firmly believes his group is only one year away.

The Rochester Hills Stoney Creek girls basketball coach reaffirmed that thought following a 49-33 loss to Utica Eisenhower March 2 in a Class A district final.

“If you told me a couple weeks ago when we were 4-12 that we’d be playing for a district title, I really don’t know what I’d say to you,” James said. “We really started coming on at the end of the year, and I’m proud of that. We knew this wouldn’t be a normal year because of our youth. I’m proud of the way the kids played through it.”

The Cougars finished the season at 8-15 overall. The club only loses the services of two seniors.

“This year was a learning experience. We play in a tough league, and when I schedule, I try to set it up for March,” James said. “We had some tough nonconference matchups, but we were a year younger than everyone else. Our schedule prepared us for the tournament, but we didn’t quite get where we wanted. That being said, the future is bright. It’s very encouraging knowing that we only graduate two and we have some really good kids coming up. I think we’re a year away.”

Stoney Creek jumped out to a 9-0 lead against Ike before watching the Eagles tie the game at 11-11 at the end of the first quarter. Eisenhower forced 33 turnovers, holding the Cougars without a field goal for over 10 minutes in the second half.

“We came out with the energy and had exactly what we wanted at the start,” James said. “Then we were pressing a little bit and had turnovers that turned into points for them. All that energy disappeared after that. That’s been our problem all year long. We have stretches where we get stagnant and stale. That comes from having young kids on the floor, but it also gets them great experience.”

Junior Marina St. Louis led the Cougars with 12 points.

“It was tough to come in here and win this,” Eisenhower coach Michael Satawa said. “They had the benefit of hosting and gave us a good fight. Their defense is very tough to prepare for, but we know that ours is hard to prepare for too.”

Earlier in the bracket, Ike topped Rochester Adams 59-36 Feb. 28. Stoney Creek opened its postseason run with a 43-23 decision over Rochester High Feb. 26.

In other Class A action, Auburn Hills Avondale fell to Bloomfield Hills High 54-36 in a district semifinal. The Yellow Jackets finished the year at 17-3.

In Class B, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep hosted and won a district, defeating Macomb Lutheran North 48-33 in the final March 2. Prep advanced to face Marysville High at Croswell-Lexington in a regional semifinal after press time.

A Class C bracket saw Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest win two playoff games before falling to Royal Oak Shrine 39-30 March 2 at Madison Heights Bishop Foley in the district final. The Crusaders ended the year at 15-8.

Auburn Hills Oakland Christian fell in a Class D district final, losing 70-18 to Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes Feb. 28 at Clarkston Everest Collegiate. The Lancers finished the season at 11-8.