Rochester Adams is fired up after their regional-winning victory over Clarkston March 15 at Fenton High School.

Rochester Adams is fired up after their regional-winning victory over Clarkston March 15 at Fenton High School.

Photo provided by Jaret Thomas

Adams basketball earns historic title in 2023 season

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Rochester Post | Published April 4, 2023


ROCHESTER HILLS — Rochester Adams boys basketball has progressed each season since Jaret Thomas took over four seasons ago, but there was one roadblock each season that Adams couldn’t figure out.

For three straight seasons, Clarkston was a thorn in the side of Adams, but this year was going to be a different story.

On March 15 at Fenton High School, Adams (17-9) beat Clarkston 58-48 to not only finally get the better of Clarkston in the state tournament, but also earn the program its first regional championship title in school history.

“It was hard-fought. They certainly didn’t make it easy,” Thomas said. “It was just kind of funny, because it seemed like every year we were one game further in the playoffs, but we kept facing them. First year, it was opening round of districts, the second year was district finals, the third year was regionals, and, obviously, the fourth year was regional finals. It’s like we have to go through these guys if we want to win anything.”

Adams would end its historic season in a 64-44 loss to Grand Blanc at Lake Orion High School March 21, but the experience and confidence the state tournament run gave the Adams squad was unmeasurable.

Adams held its own in a brutal Oakland Activities Association-Red Division that featured North Farmington (22-2), Oak Park (12-8), Ferndale (21-8) and Clarkston (16-10), and Thomas attributes the gauntlet of a schedule to the team’s success in the state tournament.

“I think it is the reason we were able to make a run, playing high-caliber programs like North Farmington, Ferndale, Oak Park, Clarkston and getting to play those guys twice,” Thomas said. “If you look at our schedule the first time around, they waxed us pretty good with North Farmington and Ferndale, but the second time around, I really liked the way we responded and competed. I don’t think you get to know that without playing the games.”

The Adams 2022 senior class left a foundation to follow with the district-championship win last season, but it more importantly left the question of who was going to fill the void in the leadership category.

Behind a strong culture and locker room bond, Adams’ leaders emerged, with the rest of the team following suit.

Before long, juniors Will Dee, Peter Kardasis and Brady Prieskorn were supplying the leadership.

“The mindset we talked about early was just to restore a sense of brotherhood in our locker room, put player experience and coaching experience above winning, which is a challenge for us, and it’s something that we talked about in our parent meeting and we talked about in our player meeting, and I believe we lived it out,” Thomas said.

Kardasis, who scored 27 points in the regional finals win against Clarkston, was a dynamic scorer for Adams this season, averaging 14 points per game en route to OAA-Red all-league honors.

Alongside Kardasis on the offensive end was Prieskorn, who averaged 14 points per game and is one of the most gifted athletes in the state of Michigan.

Holding Division 1 offers for football from the University of Michigan, Ole Miss, Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee, Prieskorn, an OAA all-league honoree, is dominant on the gridiron as a tight end, but also was an impact performer in Adams’ frontcourt this season.

“I think Brady (Prieskorn) is one of the most unique athletes I’ve ever coached, and one of the most talented,” Thomas said. “Offensively, he’s really versatile; he can shoot it, he can drive, post and pass. Defensively, he can guard one-through-five  between the guards and the big. I think the thing that made him special this year was with all the things he has going on with Power Five offers and football recruiting, he was just a regular guy for our team and a really great teammate.”

Dee, an OAA all-league honorable mention, averaged 11 points per game to help guide the offense alongside Kardasis and Prieskorn. Dee hit a buzzer-beater to earn a 45-44 win over Utica Eisenhower March 10 at Eisenhower High School.

While the trio of leaders led the pack for Adams, seniors Nathan Kim and Broder Kawa progressed far beyond expectations.

Kim asserted himself as a strong, two-way guard, while Kawa reinforced an already strong frontcourt for Adams.

Thomas said their contributions were vital to Adams’ success.

“We relied heavily on them this year. Nathan, a really stout defender, can pick up full court,” Thomas said. “Broder, a really strong interior presence, really enforced our backline and was able to do some great things for us on the boards.”

The first-ever regional title not only put Adams on the map in Division 1, but also showed that the basketball program is another elite-level athletic program at the school.

For a high school that shines in most of its sports across the board, the basketball program’s 2023 campaign was one to be proud of.

Thomas said the Grand Blanc game showed areas of improvement for Adams.

“I think really for the entire program, it was just awesome to be competing on that stage,” Thomas said. “That game, it was just the physicality and the turnovers that really hurt us. Nothing we hadn’t seen before, but Grand Blanc did a great job that night. It’s just another lesson in needing to take care of the basketball and being tougher players, and better coaches.”

As Adams graduates five seniors this season, it’s set to bring back a significant number of talented players for the 2024 campaign.

Already laying the foundation for the ‘brotherhood’ that Thomas imagined for his squad, and adding on to the already established success, Adams will look to take one step forward toward a state title.

Kardasis said there’s one thing he and the other incoming seniors have their eyes on accomplishing going into the next season.

“(It’s) to continue the culture that was built this season and keep getting better as individuals and as a team,” Kardasis said.