Marian searching for consistency with league, state playoffs approaching

By: Mike Moore | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 6, 2018

 Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Olivia Moore lines up a free throw Jan. 30 against Dearborn Divine Child. Moore is the lone returning starter for the Mustangs.

Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Olivia Moore lines up a free throw Jan. 30 against Dearborn Divine Child. Moore is the lone returning starter for the Mustangs.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

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BIRMINGHAM — She’s a realist, but also a coach who likes to demand perfection.

So after talking about her Bloomfield Hills Marian basketball team at length, and focusing on some of the main things that need improvement down the stretch run of the season, coach Mary Cicerone paused.

“You know, I can’t really complain too much, can I?” she said with a laugh. “We’ve had a great season so far.”

Following a four-point loss to Dearborn Divine Child Jan. 30, Marian was 12-3 on the season and alone in first place of the Catholic High School League’s Central Division at 8-2, at press time.

This is a younger team than the Mustangs are used to having, with only a sprinkle of varsity experience at its disposal before the year began. Yet, the girls have found ways to win.

“I really like this group and the way they work,” Cicerone said. “We’re not a complete team yet, because we’re still getting players back from injury and illness and other things, but it’s coming along.”

The offense has been the main area of concern and the spot most needing improvement.

In the loss to Divine Child, Marian gave up just 38 points but was still on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

“That’s where we have to get better,” Cicerone said. “The confidence has to come along. We’re getting good looks and taking good shots; we’re just not making the ones we should. … Against DC, we lost by four and had so many open looks we just didn’t make.”

Cicerone wasn’t totally surprised at the offense still finding its rhythm, especially with Olivia Moore serving as one of the main, and lone, contributors back from last year’s group.

“We have a good group of girls who are young,” Cicerone said. “They are still figuring it out.”

Of course, the flip side of that equation is a defense dominating. The Mustangs are giving up just 38 points per contest.

“They work hard,” Cicerone said. “We pressure the ball. They don’t give up on anything on the defensive end.”

Which will be essential with the Catholic League playoffs (Feb. 10) and state playoffs (Feb. 26) right around the corner.

Marian is currently locked into the No. 1 seed for the league tournament, though that could change with a slip-up.

The team reached the Class A regional final in the state tournament in 2017 before falling to Warren Cousino 41-39 in overtime.

“We’re going to be confident going into both,” Cicerone said. “But we still need to beef up our play, get everyone back on the same page and find some more consistency.”

If they do all that?

“We can be pretty darn good,” the coach added. “You can’t just count on it, though; we have to go out and take care of business.”

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