Battling Bathers girls hoops team looking for redemption this season

By: Mark Vest | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published January 12, 2012

 Mount Clemens sophomore Tiasia Duplessis looks to take a shot. Mount Clemens coach Jason Monk expects Duplessis to run the Bathers’ offense.

Mount Clemens sophomore Tiasia Duplessis looks to take a shot. Mount Clemens coach Jason Monk expects Duplessis to run the Bathers’ offense.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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It may be relatively early in the season, but the Mount Clemens girls varsity basketball team has already achieved half of its four team goals.

The first goal was to get off to a good start by winning their first game of the season. The Battling Bathers did just that, defeating Detroit Denby in their opening game.

Mount Clemens also wanted to make sure it came away with a victory against perhaps its biggest rival, the Clintondale Dragons. It can mark “mission accomplished” next to that goal, as well.

But as satisfying as it may be to have a couple of early notches in their belt, the Bathers’ most significant goals still lie ahead.

“Our third goal is to win the league championship,” said Mount Clemens coach Jason Monk. “Our immediate goal right now is to have the best record at the end of the season for the league. The girls are excited. They’re looking forward to league play.”

Monk believes he has players who can help the Bathers do just that. Mount Clemens takes to the court with two all-county players from last season in seniors Sheyna Deans and Dominique Turner.

“For the last six games now, (Deans) posted a double-double every single game. She’s averaging (a) little bit over 13 rebounds a game, and she’s right around 23 points a game. (Turner’s) averaging a little over 13 points a game. She’s averaging about four or five steals a game. She’s my defensive specialist up front. She’s the one that whoever we play, we’ll put her on their best player.”

Monk is also pleased with the progress of sophomore Tiasia Duplessis, another returning player from last season. Monk is hoping for big things from his point guard.

“She’ll be running our offense,” he said. “She’s gotten really comfortable. She’s come along real well. With those three, and the supporting cast of other players, I think we’re going to be OK.”

Although he may have some players who are quite capable of putting the ball in the basket, Monk believes the strength of his team lies in its defense. Monk has implemented a defensive style that is intended to make life difficult for the opposing team’s guards.

“We’re averaging a little over 11 steals a game,” he said. “I believe I have the best backcourt guard defense out of the MAC. We’re not a big team; we’re mostly a guard team. We’re going to give you problems up front with the press. We’re going to make you work a little bit.”

The strengths he believes the Bathers possess gives Monk an optimistic outlook regarding their chances of coming away with a MAC Gold title. But he is also well-acquainted with the division his team plays in, and Monk understands that the road that leads to what he hopes will result in a championship will not be an easy one.

“I think the Gold’s going to be a really, really competitive division,” he said. “We got Lincoln, who’s always up there. Lake Shore’s 6-0 right now, so they’re going to be tough. Sterling Heights is always tough. And with us in there, we bring our game. The Gold Division is pretty competitive. When you want to be the best, you got to play the best.”

As rewarding as a division championship would be, Mount Clemens has its sights set even higher. Last season, the Bathers were defeated in the district championship game, and Monk wanted his team to remember exactly what that loss felt like in order to motivate them to get back there in 2012.

And that brings the Bathers to their fourth goal for the 2011-2012 season.

“Another goal is to win a district championship,” Monk said. “We were so close last year. We just ran out of gas that last game of the district championship. The girls are so excited. They’re determined. They’re just looking forward to playing in that district championship game, and hopefully, we can bring it home this time.”

Deans remembers last season’s loss well. She has one more shot at a district championship, and she would like to capitalize on that opportunity.

“Last year, we lost a close game,” Deans said. “This year, I’m a senior. I just want to win my last year here. That’s our goal, winning districts, so we’re just going to work hard.”

At press time, Mount Clemens sat at 4-4 overall and 1-0 in the MAC Gold. The Bathers will be in action next at 7 p.m. Jan. 20, at Sterling Heights.

 

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