Utica Ford II senior Anthony Dadou, left, works to get around Sterling Heights Stevenson senior Ray Sumpter during a 62-47 Feb. 27 Stevenson playoff win. The Titans met Clinton Township Chippewa Valley in a district final March 1, after press time.

Utica Ford II senior Anthony Dadou, left, works to get around Sterling Heights Stevenson senior Ray Sumpter during a 62-47 Feb. 27 Stevenson playoff win. The Titans met Clinton Township Chippewa Valley in a district final March 1, after press time.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Sterling Heights High boys basketball coach reflects on first season back with program

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published March 1, 2019

 Sterling Heights High senior guard Tyler Shaba takes a jumper in a Feb. 27 playoff loss to Clinton Township Chippewa Valley. The Stallions won seven of their last 10 games after starting 0-11.

Sterling Heights High senior guard Tyler Shaba takes a jumper in a Feb. 27 playoff loss to Clinton Township Chippewa Valley. The Stallions won seven of their last 10 games after starting 0-11.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights High boys basketball coach Mike Griffin returned to the sidelines after a five-year hiatus, and he’s proud of the growth his players exhibited as the season went along.

The Stallions started slow, dropping their first 11 games. Sterling Heights kept fighting, though, and ended the regular season winning seven of its last nine games for a respectable finish.

“It takes time implementing change into a program, and we were changing a lot, including the system,” Griffin said. “From where we were at the start of the season to where we are now, I’m proud of my players.”

The Stallions’ season ended in a 44-33 loss to Clinton Township Chippewa Valley in a Feb. 27 Division 1 district semifinal. 

Sterling Heights finished the year at 7-14 overall. 

Outside shooting was big for the Big Reds in the district semifinal. Chippewa Valley junior wing Jon Bolden said coach Kevin Voss put an emphasis on shooting 3-pointers, as Sterling Heights employs a matchup zone.

“We knew (Sterling Heights) ran a tough 2-3 zone and would make it hard for us to get the ball into the post, so we had to knock down our outside shots and we did,” said Bolden, who scored a game-high 15 points on five 3-point makes. “They played good defense. We just made some shots.”

Chippewa Valley made nine 3-pointers in the win to five two-point shots. Sterling Heights made four 3-pointers.

“We had a limited window to win that game, and our decision making on offense in spots hurt us,” Griffin said after the loss. “Defensively, we played well enough to win the game. We fought.”

The matchup was tight early, as the Big Reds led 16-13 after the first quarter and 22-18 at halftime. Chippewa Valley in the third held Sterling Heights to two points, taking a 30-20 lead into the final frame.

“Coach at halftime told us we needed to play harder on defense, and we heard him,” Bolden said.

The Stallions lose five players to graduation: Tyler Shaba, Seth Ochoa, Alex Elia, McKinley Mitchell and Josh Lee. 

Elia and Ochoa led Sterling Heights in the playoff game with 9 and 8 points, respectively.

Sterling Heights has nine players eligible to return next season, including freshman center Joe Thomas, who anchors the defense.

“(Thomas) is really good on the interior for us,” Griffin said. “He’s a big reason why our defense improved so much over the course of the season.

“We’ll work some things out and get back to work. We’ll be ready next season.”

 

Stevenson advances to district final

Sterling Heights Stevenson boys basketball met Chippewa Valley in a D-1 district final March 1, after press time. The Titans bested Utica Ford II 62-47 Feb. 27 to advance.

The Falcons ended the season at 3-18 overall.

Sterling Heights Parkway Christian fell 61-42 to Marine City Cardinal Mooney in a D-4 district semifinal. The Eagles ended the season at 4-15.

 

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