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BOYS BASKETBALL: Stoney Creek speeds past Oxford, punches ticket to district championship game

   | Jeff Dullack

BOYS BASKETBALL: Stoney Creek speeds past Oxford, punches ticket to district championship game

LAKE ORION – Stoney Creek found itself deadlocked 25-25 with Oxford in the closing seconds of the third quarter in Wednesday’s district semifinal game at Lake Orion High School, however it didn't take long before that tie-game felt like a distant memory to the upset-minded Cougars.
 
A Charlie Carson 3 with four seconds remaining in the third quarter gave Stoney Creek a 28-25 lead and the Cougars never looked back.
 
Finishing the game on a 23-5 run, Stoney Creek picked up a convincing 48-30 win over an Oxford team that had beaten the Cougars twice this season in league play out of the OAA Blue Division..
 
Stoney Creek head coach Steve Norgrove wasn't shocked that it was Carson, an all-league combo guard, that got the game-ending run started..
 
“That’s the kind of kid Carson is, he steps up whenever you need him to step up,” he said. “He’s not a perfect player, but he’s the kind of kid who’s been on the varsity team for three years and he knows what’s at stake and that we need him and for him to step up and make that and then we had the possession coming out to start the fourth quarter, so I thought that was the key possession of the game.”
 
Carson, who is already the school’s all-time scoring leader and single-season scoring leader, broke the Stoney Creek career 3-pointers record on Wednesday night as he notched 16 points and six assists in the victory.
 
Stoney Creek (15-7) advances to the district finals on Friday night, where the Cougars will face Clarkston, who narrowly topped host Lake Orion in the second game of the night Wednesday.
 
Holding that slim three-point lead entering the fourth quarter courtesy of Carson's long-range bomb, Stoney Creek locked down defensively, not allowing a single Oxford point in the first six minutes.
 
Senior forward Patrick Mertz (11 points, nine rebounds) scored for Stoney Creek to tip-off the game's final period and Carson reeled off two straight baskets to stagger the OAA Blue-champion Wildcats. The defense did the rest and the Cougars built up a 42-25 lead before Oxford registered their first basket of the quarter on an Amon Thomas layin that stopped the bleeding for Oxford after Stoney Creek's 17-0 knockout punch.
 
“This is the best we’ve executed all season,” Norgrove said. “I think the guys really understood the magnitude of the game that we were playing in and if we don’t win in a game like tonight’s, then we’re going home. I’m very proud of their effort, we were very relentless, we didn’t look back on our mistakes, we just kept moving forward and our guys who were coming in off the bench were outstanding and I think we just had a lot of senior leadership tonight with experience and it really paid off.”
 
Wednesday’s win for the Cougars marks the first time in school history that they have won multiple playoff games in a season. Stoney Creek will be making just their second district-finals appearance in school history on Friday night against what will be a heavily-favored Clarkston club, eight-time defending champion of the rough and rugged OAA Red.
 
Oxford was paced by freshman guard Amon Thomas' 11 points and closed down its season at 14-7.