Lake Orion senior guard DJ Morrow goes up for a shot in the district quarterfinal game while encircled by Rochester High School defenders. The Dragons won the game and moved on to face Rochester Adams in the district semifinal. All photos by Ron Rocheleau.
Team ends season with 12-12 overall record
By Anthony Schulte
Review Sports Contributor
SHELBY TWP. — Lake Orion came into the Utica Eisenhower gym looking for a win on March 8 against the Rochester Adams Highlanders in the District 5 semifinal game.
The Dragons walked out with a loss, but not before a valiant comeback effort.
Adams came into the game with a 13-8 record, while Lake Orion held a 12-11 record. Sure, the Dragons came in as underdogs, but anything can happen in the district play.
The Dragons earned a spot in the district semifinals after beating Rochester High School 64-54 in the district quarter final match-up on March 6.
The first quarter against Adams did not start off strong for the Dragons, giving up an early 8-0 lead to Adams approaching the five-minute mark.
For the entire quarter, the Dragons took questionable shots and could not connect on a variety of looks.
Brady Prieskorn was electric all quarter for Rochester Adams. The former Lake Orion student had 11 points in the first quarter alone.
The Highlanders took a 15-4 lead going into the second quarter.
Nothing seemed to be going right for Lake Orion, and Prieskorn did not slow down his dominance.
The Dragons could not get anything going, thanks in part to Adams’ shutting down DJ Morrow. The Highlanders sent double-teams at Morrow, and made him uncomfortable for most of the first half.
Adams held a 25-16 going into the halftime break.
Careless Dragon turnovers made a quick start for Adams an easy task to start the third quarter.
They took advantage, and Lake Orion did not seem to have the intensity to match Adams’ physicality and offensive scheme. Foul trouble became an issue as well, with both Blake Liddell and Kaydon Degraffenreid garnering their third fouls in the game.
Shots were not falling and Lake Orion just could not find the bottom of the bucket.
Adams led 40-22 at the end of three.
Then, something clicked. Led by Morrow, Lake Orion started a valiant comeback in the fourth quarter.
Morrow hit two impressive three pointers and Nate Havrilla contributed an incredible long-distance three pointer to bring the Dragons within six points of capturing the lead.
An 11-3 Lake Orion run forced Adams to make quick and swift adjustments.
The Lake Orion student section showed out big time for this one, and made sure they were heard whilst the Dragons were in the midst of their comeback efforts.
However, the momentum seemed to shift once again in the Highlanders’ favor. Three straight Dragon possessions featured missed layups, and a Morrow miss from behind the long line with 12 seconds left in the game seemed to put the seal on Lake Orion’s season.
Rochester Adams won 50-42, moving on to the district final on Friday.
Morrow led Lake Orion with 16 points, Liddell chipped in 11, and Kevin Tobe garnered nine.
Prieskorn had 27 points for Adams, while only five other players notched a score.
This loss has put a close to a rather up-and-down season for Lake Orion. A talented and spirited senior class, joined by a young and electric group of juniors and underclassmen made this season special.
Lake Orion ends the season an even .500 at 12-12.