Stoney Creek and Rochester High boys basketball battle

By: Christian Davis | Rochester Post | Published February 2, 2016

 Rochester Hills Stoney Creek’s Michael Melaragni goes up for a shot Jan. 28 at Rochester High. The Cougars won 72-64. Melaragni finished with 13 points.

Rochester Hills Stoney Creek’s Michael Melaragni goes up for a shot Jan. 28 at Rochester High. The Cougars won 72-64. Melaragni finished with 13 points.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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ROCHESTER HILLS — The Rochester Hills Stoney Creek and Rochester High boys are at different points in their programs, and those differences were evident when they met Jan. 28.

Stoney Creek won 72-64 in a contest that featured comebacks from a fiery, young Rochester squad against a calm, cool group of mostly seniors from Stoney who showed a propensity for handling the pressure.

Stoney Creek coach Steve Norgrove feels maturity and unselfishness have led his team to a 10-2 overall mark and 4-0 record in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division at press time.

“Our guys aren’t afraid of sharing the ball. A lot of that comes from the personalities we have in the locker room. They get excited for one another,” Norgrove said. “They just kick it up to the open guy and really take pride in our team scoring, not their individual scoring.”

The mentality was on full display against Rochester. The Cougars had four players score in double digits, and another player had nine points.

“Anytime you get a city rivalry game, you’re playing for pride,” Norgrove said. “These kids all grew up together. It’s always fun to coach in this environment.”

Stoney Creek’s maturity also showed in the game. The Cougars have six seniors on the roster, and when the Falcons battled back midway through the third quarter to cut the lead to six points, Stoney Creek responded with an 11-0 run in the span of two minutes.

“They’re high-character guys and very resilient,” Norgrove said. “We don’t let one or two bad possessions get us down. We just fight back. We talk about managing the chaos.”

The Falcons (5-7 overall, 2-2 Blue) again climbed back into the game in the fourth, forcing 10 turnovers and outscoring the Cougars 11-3 in the final three minutes of the game.

Rochester is young and has a core group of mostly sophomores and juniors.

Rochester junior Ivan Barraza led all scorers with 21 points. Sophomore Hunter Schattler added 13 to go along with senior Alonzo Mitchel’s 14.

Rochester coach John Pleasant said he’s seen positives from the first half of the season, but the team is still learning on the fly.

“We’ve given away a couple (games),” Pleasant said. “We’re young, and we have to go through that to learn to win those games. I love coaching this team. They play hard and compete like crazy. We just have to learn and battle a little bit.”

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