Chargers and Littleson Stomped in Rout

Senior+Joey+Ziniti+looks+for+an+opening+under+Lathrup+pressure

Audrey Wang

Senior Joey Ziniti looks for an opening under Lathrup pressure

Ivan Martinez, Sports Editor

Never call high school basketball soft.

On Friday, the Adams boys basketball team squared off against Southfield-Lathrup in a bloody tilt that did not disappoint. The often physical matchup more than lived up to expectations, with three Highlanders being forced to leave the game due to an open wound and a Southfield-Lathrup player receiving an ejection.

Following their first loss of the season against Clarkston, the 8-1 Highlanders looked to rebound against the hapless 2-6 Chargers. The Highlanders wasted no time washing the taste of defeat out of their mouths by jumping to a quick 9-0 lead in the first three and a half minutes. Adams, led by #5 Spencer Littleson’s 10 points, dominated the first quarter 24-4.

Overshadowed by Littleson’s first quarter theatrics was #24 David Rinke’s stellar play on defense. With his right leg clad in a brace, Rinke served as the inside anchor for the Highlander defense, racking up rebounds by the handful. This all contributed to a defense that suffocated the Chargers in the first quarter. With no room to pass and no rebounds to be had, it was all the Chargers could do to put up those four measly points.

The second quarter proved to be much tighter, with Southfield-Lathrup’s own #5 making his mark on the game. While nobody from Adams managed to score multiple times in the second quarter, the Charger’s #5 scored four times for eight points. Despites #5’s charge, a solid team effort in the second quarter earned Adams a 37-16 halftime lead.

With a hefty lead and victory in their sights, the Highlanders came out in the third quarter looking to have fun. Littleson connected with #33 Adam Slating twice, each on no-look passes, to put up a couple of scores early (Slating would end the day with 13 points, including three free-throws). Not to be outdone, Littleson added a three-pointer of his own, bringing the score to 48-21.

It was at that moment that the game would start to get chippy. Halfway through the third quarter, after getting hit while going for a rebound, Rinke sustained a heavy nose-bleed that kept him out for the remainder of the game. Slating and #12 Vincent Gray were also forced to leave the game after both sustaining bloody lips. Slating’s was the more gruesome of the two, having occurred as a result of an elbow to the face.
The low point of the game, however, came about five minutes into the third quarter when Littleson attempted to recover a rebound. #44 on the Chargers defended the rebound, and looked to have taken Littleson down in the process. #44’s hand had been on Littleson’s chest, and the force of the hit was more than enough to send him tumbling. Even so, the takedown looked accidental enough for the referee to give the player the benefit of the doubt. What happened next, on the other hand, was clear as day.

With Littleson still on the ground in pain, #44 got on his feet and stood over Littleson. After taking a moment to gain his balance, #44 looked down at Littleson, looked up, and then forcibly stepped on the middle of Littleson’s back. This time, the ref saw more than enough to call a penalty. #44 was given a flagrant foul and was promptly ejected from the remainder of the game. With Littleson recovering on the sideline, #14 Jack Lovalvo was given the free throws for which he was 2/2.

With Littleson’s absence and a 50-22 lead, the other Highlanders took their opportunity to make their mark on the game. #3 Michael Girdler made the Chargers defense look silly on several quick passing plays, both Joeys, #10 Prechtel and #20 Ziniti, found the net on successive scores, and #11 Antonio Rosado embarrassed several defenders with some fancy footwork.

Their time to shine, however, was short lived. At the start of the fourth quarter Littleson re-entered the game, needing only 33 seconds to find the basket again. Failing to capitalize on a litany of Highlander injuries, the Chargers fell apart late, finally succumbing to the final score of 68-48 Highlanders.

Coming off a loss to Clarkston, Adams took this opportunity to flex their muscles and remind everyone why they started the season 8-0. Though it didn’t come painlessly, Adams’ rout of the Chargers was a stark reminder for the rest of the league of just how dangerous this team can be.

In addition to professional freak-of-nature Spencer Littleson, the Highlanders possess a group of stars that can more than hold their own without Littleson (though it does not hurt to have them all).

Even when they were missing four starters, the Highlanders didn’t skip a beat. If Adams’ goal was to convince everyone that last week was a fluke, they’ve succeeded. Now 9-1, and with Southfield-Lathrup in the rearview mirror, Adams will shift their attention to the Athens Red Hawks who come to visit this Friday.

One thing’s for sure: If Adams displays the type of teamwork and depth that they showed against the Chargers, Athens doesn’t stand a chance.