False MI Prep Zone: Mount Clemens wins regional title with win over Bishop Foley VIDEO & PHOTO GALLERY
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Mount Clemens wins regional title with win over Bishop Foley VIDEO & PHOTO GALLERY

(Photo Gallery by Nicholas Barry)

The Penn was mightier than, well, the Ventures.

Junior Charles Penn III helped the Mount Clemens Bathers write quite a chapter at a Class C regional at Bishop Foley Thursday night.

Penn scored 15 points as the Bathers dispatched the host Ventures, 81-49. The victory means that Mount Clemens will meet Detroit Consortium in a quarterfinal game Tuesday night at West Bloomfield High School.

"I've known Charles his entire life," said Jermaine Jackson, the Mount Clemens coach. "I have known him from the time they brought him home from the hospital. I know his family and it has been nice watching him grow into a young man."

Penn has also grown into quite a basketball player. That's something that does not come without a lot of sweat equity, however.

"Charles Penn respects the game of basketball," said his coach. "He is coming into his own as a player and that is because he is willing to put in the work it takes. From a coach's perspective, that is very good to see."

The entire Mount Clemens basketball team put in plenty of quality work on the court Thursday night. After a competitive first quarter when the Bathers managed a 17-11 lead, they began to assert themselves more and more. After the Bathers out-scored Bishop Foley 18-3 in the second quarter, the outcome was decided. Mount Clemens was simply a better, more talented basketball team than Bishop Foley.

"We seem to reach this point every year," said Marc West, the Bishop Foley coach. "We run into a team that just has more talent and is more athletic than we are. That could change one day."

His Ventures (12-12) do not have anything to be ashamed of. Mount Clemens is the top ranked Class C team in the state. The Bathers have lost just once, and that defeat came in Muskegon when the Big Reds were rated number one in Class A.

This was Bishop Foley's seventh consecutive trip to the regionals. In four of those seasons, the Ventures made it to the regional finals. They do not have a regional championship during that stretch, though.

The last three years, Bishop Foley has fallen to Consortium. For three years prior to that, they faced those talented Melvindale AB&T squads coached by Michael Talley.

"I was proud of these kids," said West. "We played against the best in the Catholic League this year and we played everyone tough."

His team was led by senior forward Nick Pepin, who scored 14. Antonio Capaldi added eight points.

Mount Clemens' leading scorer was Davonte Bando, who had 19. Josh McFolley added 13 points.

Mount Clemens led 35-14 at halftime.

"This team lives for the moment," said Jackson. "We pray together and we praise God. I just love to see these kids smiling like this."

That certainly wasn't their demeanor on March 13, 2013, exactly one year ago Thursday. That was the night Mount Clemens fell to Flint Beecher in a regional championship game.

"We sat on the bench and watched Beecher celebrate," said Penn. "We saw how happy they were and that's the feeling we wanted to have."

It is not a feeling that has come easily. The Mount Clemens players work hard. Their coach demands it.

"We are constantly working to get better," said Penn. "You can always do something to improve. The coach has me working on my ball handling. He has me working on my shot. There is always some aspect of my game that can get better. It is like that with all of my teammates. Everybody on the team works hard. We run stairs. We do suicide drills. We are in the weight room. On nights like this when you look back on all the extra shots you take after practice, all the pushups, all of the conditioning work, it makes it all worthwhile."

Last Updated: 3/13/2014 10:43:11 PM EST