Following a 9-12 season a year ago, Mary Cicerone entered the winter knowing there were two directions the Birmingham Marian basketball team could go.
With almost the entire roster back, 2012-13 could be something special.
Or, with the disappointment of what many thought was going to be a solid year still lingering, this season could simply be a continuation of the last.
“They came in with aspirations of doing something big this year,” Cicerone explained. “It showed in what they were able to do.”
With last season in the rearview mirror, Marian stormed to a Class A quarterfinal March 11, finally ending the season in a back-and-forth 63-58 loss to Grosse Pointe South.
“As we drove home from the game, I talked with my assistant, and if anyone had told us we were going to be a quarterfinal team, I would have rolled my eyes,” Cicerone said with a laugh. “As the season played out, though, I think I started to believe. The girls started to believe. We went from a sub-par season to a very good season.”
Self-inflicted wounds hurt the Mustangs in the quarterfinal.
Cicerone said she heard her team committed 27 turnovers, “and I wouldn’t dispute that.”
Still, after trailing by as many as 15 in the second quarter, and seven at halftime, Marian led by a point midway through the third.
“We got into a groove, but as quickly as we did, South took it back,” Cicerone said. “But you know what — we lost to a good team.”
Marian ends the season 21-4, a record that includes a Catholic League playoff title.
“You want to keep winning and move on, but this was a very fun season,” Cicerone added.
She’s set to graduate four seniors, but could bring back as many as three starters.
“I think the experience we had, they enjoyed and are going to want more of it,” she said. “You can only hope a year like this carries into next.”