Strong Guard Play Assist River Rouge In 64-44 Win Against Allen Academy

14 Jan

mi-miriverrougehighschool-letter-150River Rouge senior guard Tracy Freeman is in his first year of competition as a Panther.  After sitting out last season, Freeman has made up the final member of an all senior starting lineup for Rouge led by longtime college assistant coach and 1999 state championship winner for the Panthers, Lamonta Stone.

Stone’s Panthers are off to an impressive 5-2 start on the season, with their latest victory against Michigan Metro League rival Detroit Allen Academy, avenging last season’s 72-55 setback.

“It feels really good to start league play off with a win,” said Freeman after the game.

Tracy set the tone early for Rouge, in a 7-0 Panther run with 5:43 left in the first quarter, Freeman scored five of his total 11 points.

“I played with a lot of emotion and intensity on the defensive end,” Tracy went onto say.  “Trying to get all the 50/50 balls, and my teammates involved.”

Freeman was a key contributor for Rouge in forcing Allen Academy into 21 turnovers on the night.  Tracy’s backcourt mate, and fellow senior Lamonta Stone Jr. also left his impact on the game as well.

The 5’9″ Stone scored eight points in a decisive second quarter for River Rouge, which saw the Panthers outscore Allen 23-6, building a 36-17 halftime advantage, a lead the Wildcats would never trim down below 16 for the remainder of the contest.  Stone finished with 18 points and nine assists on the evening.

“He played really well,” according to Freeman, “they threw everything they could at him and he didn’t get rattled one bit.”

“Controlled the game, and kept us poised.  Played like one of the best point guards in the state.”

Stone and Freeman controlled the pace and rhythm of the game, not to be outdone was 6’7″ senior power forward Jalin Gibson.  Gibson enforced his will in the paint with Allen Academy’s own 6’7″ forward Danny Pippen out with an apparent hand injury.  Jalin was just one rebound away from a double-double, with 11 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks.

The triumvirate of Stone, Freeman, and Gibson were accountable for more than half of the Panther offense.  Freeman will take the win, but acknowledges the depth of the 2014-2015 Panthers.

“We are going to need a lot more from Amir Poole, Mateeya Jones, and Maurice Witherspoon.  We have a starting six that has to be clicking.”

The resurgence of River Rouge is a direct correlation to the return Coach Stone has had on the program in his first months back.  As one of the most successful programs in the State of Michigan, the past two seasons for Rouge were well below Panther standards, a combined 26-19.  Aside from win and losses, the impact Coach Stone has, according to his players, extends greater than basketball.

“He (Coach Stone) has meant a lot to me personally,” Freeman said.  “I’m playing the best basketball of my life right now and in the best shape.”

“He is really helping the community.  (The Panthers) never had this much support from the city of River Rouge, they show much love.”

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