St. Mary’s hoops looking to grow every day

By: Zachary Manning | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 4, 2019

 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s senior Khalil Rozier goes up for a shot in a game against Macomb L’Anse Creuse North on Dec. 27. At press time, the Eaglets were 5-1 overall.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s senior Khalil Rozier goes up for a shot in a game against Macomb L’Anse Creuse North on Dec. 27. At press time, the Eaglets were 5-1 overall.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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ORCHARD LAKE — Orchard Lake St. Mary’s basketball coach Todd Covert doesn’t want his team to get ahead of itself.

Instead of focusing on state championships, he wants his group to work on getting better and challenging each other every day. That focus has allowed the Eaglets to get off to a solid start. At press time, they were 5-1 overall and had a championship from the L’Anse Creuse North Crusader Classic.

Covert attributed his team’s hot start to solid defense and playing hard. He also noted that his squad has shot the ball well so far this year.

“Our defense is probably our staple,” Covert said. “Culturally, from a strategic standpoint, that’s what we talk about the most, is defensively just being focused and putting a lot of pressure on people and proper rotations. If we can play solid defense, the nights when you’re not shooting the basketball well, you can still win.”

In terms of leadership, Covert used a Tom Izzo quote to describe the type of team he’d like his to be: “A player-coached team is better than a coach-coached team.”

Throughout the season, Covert has been urging his guys to push each other without being too critical or attacking somebody. The coach added that their bond off the court has allowed them to understand where everyone is coming from.

A few players the Eaglets have relied on this season are University of Wisconsin commit Lorne Bowman II, senior Khalil Rozier, freshman Kareem Rozier and sophomore Peter Nwoke. All four have been significant contributors to start the season, and Covert wants to see his team continue to learn and get better.

Another player that Covert has seen step up is senior Josh Kashat. Covert noted that Kashat might not get a ton of minutes, but he’s a prime example of a team player who understands and embraces his role, which has helped the team succeed.

“Just a St. Mary’s student-athlete through and through. A three-sport athlete. A kid that is extremely strong academically. Great athlete,” Covert said of Kashat. “The thing I love about that kid is it’s all about the team. If he plays well and the team plays well, it’s great. If he plays bad and the team wins, he’s happy.”

Even though the Eaglets aren’t focusing on championships right now, Covert did note that it would be special for this group to reach the top this year.

“I played basketball there; I graduated there; I’ve been around St. Mary’s since I was 5 or 6 years old. It would mean the world to me. I’m not going to say it wouldn’t. That would mean a lot, because we want to get St. Mary’s back on top of the basketball world,” Covert said.

The Eaglets’ next game is against Warren De La Salle at 7 p.m. Jan. 11 on the road.

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