Adams, Rochester boys and girls hoops teams continue tradition

By: Christian Davis, Mike Moore | Rochester Post | Published February 3, 2011

 Rochester High forward Billy Klotz tries to get past a West Bloomfield High defender earlier this season. The Falcons meet rival Rochester Adams at 8 p.m. Feb. 4 at Oakland University.

Rochester High forward Billy Klotz tries to get past a West Bloomfield High defender earlier this season. The Falcons meet rival Rochester Adams at 8 p.m. Feb. 4 at Oakland University.

Photo by Adam Sparkes


ROCHESTER — At first glance, it’s an opportunity of enjoyment for the 30-or-so athletes that lace up the shoes and charge onto the court.

But, with a closer look, this spectacle is an event celebrated by players, coaches, parents, students, fans and the entire community alike, one that continues to grow from one year to the next.

“There will probably be more people at that game than we’ll have in attendance all season, combined,” Rochester Adams’ girls basketball coach Fran Scislowicz said with a laugh last week. “People want to come out there and have a good time. It’s something they look forward to every year.”

So, once again, Rochester Adams and Rochester High renew their basketball rivalries with what has become a traditional midseason battle known as the ‘Crosstown Showdown’ at Oakland University.

Scislowicz and the Adams’ girls team take on Rochester at 6 p.m. Feb. 4, and the boys teams are scheduled to tip at 8 p.m.

One shot
Adams boys basketball coach John Hall tries not to play up the rivalry too much, but he knows the big game is never far from his team’s mind.

“I know when it is, and the kids know whether we talk about it or not,” he said. “It’s on our minds for sure, but we try not to make too big of a deal out of it. The fact that we’re playing there makes the kids excited, and I don’t want to add any more pressure to the game.”

The Highlanders have handled the added stress well. Adams has won all four meetings in the Showdown including a 62-44 showing last season.

But unlike previous years, this is the only game scheduled between the rivals. Adams (5-4 overall and 3-4 in the Oakland Activities Association White Division) and Rochester (5-4 and 5-1 in the Blue) are in separate divisions.

“Because it’s a non-league game, in some aspects it’s less important, but it’s still very special and because we only play them once, we know we don’t get a second chance at them,” Hall said.

For his squad to be successful, Hall said it needs to stop Rochester four-year varsity member Taylor Perry. He’s averaging a little more than 20 points per game.

“He’s older now, more experienced and turning into quite a player,” Hall said. “Our first objective is to try and keep him in check, and some of their role players are better than they have been in the past.”

Offensively, Hall said his team has been getting into its own way.

“No disrespect to Rochester, but for us, we have to execute our offense and make sure we get the ball in the right hands,” he said.

Rochester coach John Pleasant said it’s Adams’ defense that traditionally gives the Falcons the biggest problem.

“Adams is a very good team, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” he said. “Year in and year out they are the best defensive team we play, which is a direct result of how good of a job their coaching staff does.”

To help themselves, Pleasant said the Falcons needs to minimize turnovers, keep Adams off the offensive glass, and believe they can win.

“It has been a few years since we have beaten them, so our kids need to play confident,” he said.

Girls just wanna have fun
Scislowicz is taking part in the game for the fourth time, and he’s adamant that each trip remains exciting as the previous one.

“You have to enjoy it,” he said. “It’s a chance to play in front of a couple thousand people in a big-time arena. As a coach or a player, it’s a lot of fun.”

Rochester coach Adam Sheldon heads to Oakland for just the second time, which, as he said with a laugh, is more than most of his team can attest to.

“I have a feeling we’ll be using some early timeouts just to get composed,” he added. “It’s an electric atmosphere, frantic and intimidating at times. It’ll take some time to get used to.”

While both teams and coaches will certainly have to adjust to their environment, getting a win remains the main objective of the night.

Adams was 6-6 at press time and 4-3 in the OAA White Division.

“A lot of the basics is what we have to focus on,” Scislowicz said. “We have to take care of the ball, rebound and play solid defense. The only area I worry about is shooting. There’s such a different look and feel when you’re in the arena like that. The depth behind the basket can really throw you off.”

For Sheldon and his Falcons — a team absolutely flooded with youth — the 2010-11 season has been one of growing and learning on the fly. Just two players returned from last year, and at press time Rochester held a 1-11 overall record and 0-10 mark in the OAA Red.

Confidence isn’t lacking, however, and Sheldon knows just how big a win against Adams, on a stage like OU, could really be.

“Truthfully, we’re not gauging the success of this season on wins and losses, but instead on how we improve as a team from one day to the next,” Sheldon explained. “With that said, this is one of those rivalry games you circle on the schedule before the season starts. A win in this game, in this atmosphere, could do wonders for our girls.”