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Clintondale boys hoops team working hard to improve

By: Jon Malavolti | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published February 2, 2011

 Clinton Township Clintondale senior Aaron Sharpe soars to the hoop during a game earlier this season. Catch the Dragons in action when they host Marysville at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3.

Clinton Township Clintondale senior Aaron Sharpe soars to the hoop during a game earlier this season. Catch the Dragons in action when they host Marysville at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3.

Photos by Patricia O’Blenes

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Nearing the midway point of the division season, Clintondale’s boys basketball team knows it has some ground to make up.

And Dragons coach Rob Townsend knows his team has the talent to do it. They just have to continue working hard.

“I think we are working hard and getting better, but we have not performed up to my expectations,” Townsend said. “We need to take the effort in practice and apply it to games.”

At press time, the Dragons were 2-3 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division and 4-5 overall. The race for the division’s title has long been one of the most hotly contested in the MAC, and the Dragons are hoping this year won’t be any different, as they sit two games behind co-leaders Center Line High and Clawson High (both 4-1 at press time).

The league is usually deep and balanced, which could either hurt or help Clintondale in its quest to reclaim the crown, as three more teams sit in front of the Dragons in the standings. Marysville High was in third place at 3-2, while St. Clair Shores Lakeview and Lake Shore were tied for fourth at 3-3. Marine City was tied with Clintondale at 2-3 in the sixth spot. The Dragons won a share of the title in back-to-back seasons in 2009 and 2008.

Townsend said starting out 0-2 in the league after losses to Clawson and Marysville was “an eye opener” for the squad.

“They realized you have to play for 32 minutes,” the coach said.

The team quickly learned to identify its flaws and improve, as Townsend noted was the case with the Dragons’ rebounding.

“We were really weak rebounding, and after those games, the players took an intense focus into our regular rebounding drill, which has helped us since,” he said. “The team hustles well; we have many players who can give us quality minutes, and they are learning how to handle adversity.”

Getting wins on rough nights, rounding out the rotation and improving chemistry is what’s needed to keep the program’s impressive nine-year streak of finishing in the top three of its league since 2002 alive.

“We need to learn how to win games when you don’t have your best stuff,” the coach said. “We need to develop a few scorers and see which juniors want to step up.”

Catch the Dragons in action when they host Marysville at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3.

 

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