Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Lorne Bowman II brings the ball up the floor in a game earlier this season. The Eaglets were 12-1 at press time.

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Lorne Bowman II brings the ball up the floor in a game earlier this season. The Eaglets were 12-1 at press time.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

St. Mary’s hoops playing with state title aspirations

By: Zachary Manning | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published February 7, 2020


ORCHARD LAKE — From a talent perspective, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s basketball coach Todd Covert sees some similarities between this year’s group and the team from 2000.

That 2000 team won a Class B state title and is the most recent basketball state champion for the Eaglets. The biggest difference Covert sees is in terms of experience. His current group is much younger than that veteran-heavy state championship squad.

The goals are similar between the two groups, however, and St. Mary’s has proven to be a contender in Division 1. It has wins over the likes of Clarkston High, Grand Blanc High and Hudsonville High, among others.

At press time, St. Mary’s was 12-1 overall and 5-0 in the Catholic High School League Central Division, with the lone loss coming against Flint Beecher Jan. 20.

“Our goal is to win the state championship. There’s a rich tradition of basketball here, and I think any goal less than that wouldn’t be doing any justice to this team,” Covert said.

If the Eaglets are going to make any kind of run, defense will play a factor. The coaching staff has enjoyed watching the tenacity of the team defensively.

The scoring splits for the Eaglets show just how dominant they have been. They have allowed opponents to score just 49.2 points per contest, while averaging 66 themselves on offense.

With that defense and strong scoring offense, it’s been rare to see St. Mary’s play a close game. Along with its lone loss, only three other teams have been within single digits of the Eaglets, two of which were 9-point wins.

“It really helps us play our game, because we like to play fast,” Covert said of his team’s defense. “It helps us get out in transition and use our strengths if we’re able to check and rebound on the defensive end.”

The Eaglets will have one last tune-up game before its time to kick into postseason mode, with Birmingham Brother Rice coming to town Feb. 14. The Catholic League tournament is set to begin Feb. 22, with districts soon after.

St. Mary’s played the University of Detroit Jesuit after press time, and a win would secure the CHSL Central Division title and a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

With the postseason inching closer, the Eaglets still have room to improve, and Covert has pinpointed a few areas he’d like to see his group continue to work on.

“We’ve got to continue to do the little detail things,” Covert said. “Rebounding, playing defense, taking care of the basketball, all the little things, the details that don’t show up in a stat sheet often. Those are the things that are going to continue to help us get where we need to be.”