Clawson girls hoops win MAC Silver for second straight year

By: Jacob Herbert | Royal Oak Review | Published March 22, 2021

 Clawson High junior Abbey Lodato pushes the ball up the floor March 17 during a game against Eastpointe High at home. The Trojans won the game 47-37. Clawson won its second straight MAC Silver Division title.

Clawson High junior Abbey Lodato pushes the ball up the floor March 17 during a game against Eastpointe High at home. The Trojans won the game 47-37. Clawson won its second straight MAC Silver Division title.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Clawson junior Charlie Verner passes the ball during a recent game at home. At press time, the Trojans were 13-2 overall and 9-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division.

Clawson junior Charlie Verner passes the ball during a recent game at home. At press time, the Trojans were 13-2 overall and 9-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Advertisement

CLAWSON — Coach Kelly Horne and the Clawson High girls basketball team had a goal at the beginning of the season — to win the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division. The Trojans finished last season in first place of the MAC Silver with a 9-1 record and refused to stop short of getting back to the top.

After scheduling some tough non-conference opponents at the beginning of the season in Marine City High and Troy Athens, Horne said the team was prepared for league play. The Trojans went on to win the MAC Silver with a perfect 9-0 record and were 13-2 overall at press time.

“It’s a credit to the kids,” Horne said about the division crown. “They love to practice and they love to work. We had that shutdown for over a month and we met every single day. We met on Google Meet to break down film and look at film from last year. We drew out plays, we talked about basketball stuff and non-basketball stuff. That time together, even though it was virtual, was really beneficial.”

Clawson lost four seniors at the end of last season, but a strong junior class has allowed the Trojans to thrive this year. Led by Abbey Lodato, Charlie Verner, Renata Carlesimo and Aliyah Vesper, the Trojans led the Silver in offensive production with an average of 43.3 points scored per game. Horne also applauded Anna Smith’s role as the sixth person off the bench.

The lone senior on the team is Jillian Liford. The Trojans have never been a team to name captains, but there’s no question Liford plays a strong leadership role — even through an injury that kept her briefly sidelined.

“One of our first days of practice, she rolled her ankle and missed the first six to seven games,” Horne said. “She was the biggest cheerleader and the best teammate on the bench while she was injured. She did not miss a practice or a game and she was always the first person there and the last person to leave.”

With the playoffs scheduled to begin March 24 for Clawson, the Trojans were set to play Pontiac Notre Dame Prep at 7 p.m. at home. Other teams in Clawson’s district include Madison Heights Lamphere, Center Line High and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood.

As the Trojans enter the postseason, they do so with a strong offense. Horne feels the team’s offensive prowess has improved from last season led by Lodato’s above 50% field goal percentage and Verner shooting 38% from three. The offense has been more aggressive this season and the Trojans have been able to find the open player with ease.

In order to have a successful playoff run, the Trojans feel they need to tighten up defensively. They allow 31.2 points per game, second best in the MAC Silver behind Lamphere. Horne said the team needs to get better defending in the half court.

The Trojans have a difficult district bracket ahead of them, but if they are able to tighten up in the areas they need to, they have a shot to win a district title — which has not happened at Clawson in over 40 years.

“The girls are pumped about the chance that we have,” Horne said. “We have the No. 1 seed; that doesn’t necessarily mean we have the best team. We do feel like we have a chance. We’re going to have to be at our best, play solid defense and play all 90 feet of the court for 32 minutes. I know we can do all those things, but we have to put all those things together every night once the tournament starts.”

Advertisement