Clintondale boys basketball team brings school its first district title since 1992
March 15, 2012
PONTIAC — Down 32 points late in a Class B regional final loss to Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy March 12, Clinton Township Clintondale junior Jacob Babbitt, a non-starter, drained a three to score the last points in a 66-37 game that ended the Dragons season.
You’d think the shot put Clintondale ahead the way the bench erupted when the ball ripped through the net.
“That’s one of the best things about this team — it’s stuck together all season long,” Dragons coach Rob Townsend said. “The guys who get most of the minutes know some of the guys who don’t see the floor work just as hard, and they want to see them succeed when they get the chance.”
Clintondale players agreed with Townsend’s sentiments.
Senior Kenneth Sheppard Jr. said this season marked the first that members of the squad would spend time together outside of practice.
“This was really a team,” Sheppard said. “That’s been the best part of the season. I wish we could have won regionals, though.”
With the March 12 setback, Clintondale’s season ended at 12-11. The Dragons had won seven of eight contests going into the regional semifinal.
“We just couldn’t match up with (Chandler park Academy’s) talent. They’re a good team,” Townsend said.
The 2011-12 season saw the Dragons battle their way to the school’s first district title since 1992.
“That was probably the first big thing these guys accomplished since they started playing this game,” said Townsend, in his fifth year as Clintondale coach. “They showed guts in getting it done. They really should take a sense of pride from that.”
Although Townsend loses eight seniors, the Clintondale coach believes he has the pieces returning next season to make another deep postseason run. Townsend said great returning rebounders and defenders are cause for his confidence, but added that someone will have to step up to take on the scoring load.
Senior Michael Thomas is proud of the highlights from his final season with the Dragons. He left a piece of advice for next year’s team.
“I think they can go even further next season,” said Thomas. “It’s on the (seniors to be) now.”