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January 23, 2013

Defense is key in Clintondale’s solid start in MAC Silver play

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Defense is key in Clintondale’s solid start in MAC Silver play
The Clinton Township Clintondale boys basketball team has picked up its defensive effort, allowing at least 11 points fewer per game since the start of MAC Silver play. Pictured is Dragons senior center Lamont Nelson.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township Clintondale boys basketball coach Rob Townsend and senior Rasheed Brownlee agree on what has led to the Dragons’ 3-0 start in Macomb Area Conference Silver Division play.

“Tough team defense. Everybody is putting in a lot of effort to get stops,” Brownlee said. “We’re all up to the task on (the defensive) end.”

Since league play started for Clintondale (5-3 overall) Jan. 8, the Dragons have allowed 41.3 points per game, while scoring 51.3 points a night. Both of those numbers are better than Clintondale’s season averages.

The Dragons are using a variety of defensive looks, according to Townsend. Clintondale has relied on tough halfcourt defense and is looking to force bad shots from the opposition out of its offensive sets while pressing and trapping in spurts. The Dragons utilized the pressing/trapping style more often last season.

“Giving teams different looks in the halfcourt sets can be confusing at times, so that’s what we do,” said Townsend, who led Clintondale to its first district title in 20 years last season.

The Dragons’ offense is coming from a variety of players, according to Townsend, who said a different player is stepping up each night. He said that might be the case all season.

The Dragons’ coach said Brownlee, and seniors Jacob Babbitt, Marquis Chavez and Lamont Nelson, have led the team in a variety of ways. Nelson is the team’s offensive leader, and Brownlee, Chavez and Babbitt are vocal leaders.

“We’re doing everything we can to win,” Babbitt said. “We know defense and rebounding will be what wins us games, so we’re working on those things all the time in practice.”

“If we’re going to win, we have to do it with defense,” Townsend said, adding he believes St. Clair Shores Lakeview is the class of the Silver. Clintondale finished second in the league last year.

“We’ll need to be a little lucky, too.”

The Dragons’ next matchup is a battle with Lakeview, set for 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Clintondale.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.