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Mount Clemens

Mount Clemens girls hoops team thriving, despite limited roster

Published February 20, 2013

» click to enlarge «
The Mount Clemens High girls basketball team has just seven players on its roster but has one of the strongest defenses in the MAC. Pictured is Mount Clemens guard Markela Snipes during a Feb. 12 victory over Anchor Bay.

MOUNT CLEMENS— During every game, Mount Clemens High girls basketball coach Jason Monk has to be very judicious with his timeouts.

That’s because he’s playing with one of the smallest rosters around, with just seven players.

“I try to use my 30-second timeouts in the first half and use the full timeouts in the second half when the girls might be looking winded,” said Monk, who, despite the roster size, had led Mount Clemens to an 11-3 overall, 8-3 Macomb Area Conference Gold Division mark at press time.

The Bathers were one game out of first place in the league — behind 8-1 Marysville and St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.

“I’ve tried to teach the girls they have to play smart. They’re athletic, but if they don’t play smart, we’re in trouble.”

Defense has been the key for Mount Clemens. The Bathers were allowing 33.1 points per game — good for second in the entire MAC.

Monk’s team doesn’t rely on playing passing lanes and getting steals. It plays straight-up defense. Gambling on that end of the floor could create problems for a team already working with limited depth.

“We just play tight, in-your-face defense,” said Monk, who utilizes both man and zone schemes. “We want (the opposition) to make their own mistakes and we’ll capitalize off of those.”

The zone the Bathers run is similar to the 2-3 matchup zone made famous by Syracuse University. It’s primarily a zone on the back line with man principles on the perimeter.

“It confuses our opponents,” Monk said. “Our players on the perimeter do a good job of playing solid defense, and the players on the backline — our forwards and centers — do a great job of forcing bad shots and making it hard for teams to make post-entry passes.”

Four of the Bathers’ seven players average more than 30 minutes a game, according to Monk. The Mount Clemens coach implements a strenuous conditioning program consisting of high-impact cardiovascular work designed to give the players the stamina to log all those minutes.

“Some of them (the girls) thought we were trying to get them to bulk up, but we want them to be toned and lean and ready to go,” Monk said.

Mount Clemens has faced adversity this season, having two players foul out a Feb. 1 matchup against Marysville.

“That’s when we get in trouble,” Monk said.

“But this is the third year in a row we’ve had a roster this size, and we’ve done OK. We’ve gone to district finals and finished second or third in our league each of those years.

“I’m fortunate to have good athletes. Having good ballplayers is one thing, but we have good athletes and that’s how we’ve been able to do some of the things we’ve done.”

Mount Clemens next hits the court for its regular season finale, slated for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at New Haven.

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