Rochester High Boys Basketball Storms Past Detroit City

 Less than two weeks after blowing an eight-point lead with four minutes to go against West Bloomfield and losing to the Lakers in overtime, Rochester got a chance at redemption and seized it.  The Falcons trailed Detroit City with 3:53 to go by eight points (45-37) in the semifinals Tuesday of the Rochester Holiday Classic boys basketball tournament, but found a way to soar back and force overtime before prevailing 56-53.

The Falcons (1-2) will face Mount Clemons, which defeated Hartland in the first semifinal, in the finals at 7:45 p.m. Thursday.

“This was a great situation for us. We learned to battle back after being down late in the game,” said Rochester coach John Pleasant. “We already blew an eight-point lead against West Bloomfield, so this was nice for us to win a close game.”

After leading 23-17 at the half against Detroit City, the guests went on a 13-4 spurt in the third quarter to take a 30-27 lead entering the fourth quarter. City looked like it would pull away on a pair of buckets by Demlire Stephens to give his team its 45-37 advantage.

Rochester found another gear, kickstarted by a free throw by Taylor Perry and a runner-in-the-lane by Billy Klotz. The Falcons outscored City 14-4 in the final 3:53 and Klotz’ lay-up with three seconds left forced overtime at 49-49.

Klotz had tied the game on a jumper only to see Stephens give city a two-point cushion on a putback with 15 seconds remaining to put his team up 49-47.

In the overtime, Rochester outscored City by a 7-4 count. Nick Bradley’s three-pointer from the corner put Rochester up for good at 54-51 with 1:49 left to play.

Klotz and Perry led Rochester with 15 points apiece. Paris Pereira added 13 points and Nick Bradley chipped in with nine points, all on 3-pointers.

“I thought those four guys all had great games,” said Pleasant. “They played well and we need them to in order for us to win games.

“This was a great win for us, not only because we needed a win after losing tow games we should have won, but this was a tournament setting,” added Pleasant. “We will probably be in a similar situation come districts and one of our goals is to win a district this (season). This was a good test for us. It was nice to see us find a way to battle back and win. We did not want to start 0-3. We get to play for a (tournament) championship now and face a really good Mount Clemons team.”

Stephens finished with 26 points for City, while Kevin Jackson added 19 points for the guests, who sent just four players into the scoring column.

Dan Stickradt

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