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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Balanced effort leads Royal Oak past Shrine

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ROYAL OAK – As far as basketball record books go, Royal Oak High’s is ridiculously redundant. Two-time All-Stater Sami Stormont holds 17 of the 21 individual records including game, season and career marks for scoring, field goals, 3-pointers, free throws and steals, as well as career rebounds and assists.

So, as Stormont earned her diploma last June and took her 1,542 career points off to Northwood University, coach Brian Sopata knew his team would have to take a new approach this winter.

Now, the Ravens are a more balanced squad. Jessica Ross, Allison Karpinski and Dallas Porter each scored eight points in leading Royal Oak to a 39-28 victory over cross-town rival Shrine Thursday night.

“I think we all helped out, and we all chipped in,” Ross said. “We didn’t have an equal amount of points, obviously, but we contributed and we all played good defense.”

The senior guard and team captain agreed that things are different for the Ravens following Stormont's graduation, and that may eventually prove not to be a bad thing.

“It took a lot of time to adjust,” Ross said. “We were trying to find people who could score for us, and finish, and we all decided that we all needed to contribute. We knew we couldn’t fill Sami’s spot individually.”

So far, that approach is paying dividends, as the Ravens (3-1) nabbed their third win in a row.

“We’ve had a different leading scorer each game this year, so we’ve been asking a lot of different girls to contribute and that’s worked out well so far,” Sopata said. “Seven of these girls were in the rotation last year. Every year its chemistry and you’re trying to find out what type of team you are, but we have other girls that can kind of step up and do some things, and that’s been nice.”

After Royal Oak held a 6-5 lead following Thursday’s first quarter, the Ravens put together scoring spurts to start and end the second, taking a 24-9 lead into halftime. Ross, Porter, Sam Bartelotti and Rachel Long each hit three-point shots during the frame.

“The big thing for us is pressure on defense,” Sopata said. “We feel that that’s our best strength, and I thought in that second quarter, we kind of wore Shrine down a little bit. They went to a zone and then we hit some shots.”

Shrine (0-2) did make some headway in the second half, yet could get no closer than eight points after Reilly Carr, Marissa Dillon and Tess Carolin brought the score to 35-28 with two minutes to play.

“Royal Oak’s a Class A school, and we made some shots, and if make a few extra this and that, we’re right there,” Shrine coach Wayne Gigante said. “We were only down eight or nine late in the game. Offensively we did a few little bit better things in the second half.”

The game marked the resumption of the Shrine-Royal Oak rivalry, which went on hiatus last season. The Ravens, at least, are glad the Shrine game was back on the schedule.

“It was really important for us to win because we actually knew a lot of the other players, so it was like a big rivalry and something we have to hold over them,” Krenzer said.

“Wayne’s a great coach; it’s really nice to be able to get this rivalry going again,” Sopata said. “They know each other, they’ve played against each other, we have great respect for everything Shrine does, and it’s nice to win against the other varsity girls team in your city. We enjoy wins, but with this one, there’s certainly a little bit more to it playing against your cross-town rival.”

Last Updated: 12/12/2013 11:02:20 PM EST

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