Clarkston Everest Collegiate's Page All Basketball - Boys Stories

The Clarkston Everest-Collegiate boys varsity basketball team runs through a shooting drill during a recent practice at the school. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)

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BOYS BASKETBALL: Everest Collegiate program has scaled its mountain rapidly WITH VIDEO

The Clarkston Everest-Collegiate boys varsity basketball team runs a sprint drill during a recent practice at the school. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)

Clarkston Everest-Collegiate boys varsity basketball head coach Ann Lowney shouts out directions to her team during a recent practice at the school. Fourth year head coach Lowney, along with other Collegiate coaches, have been given the task of building the school's sports program up from scratch. (Special to The Oakland Press / LARRY McKEE)

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CLARKSTON — It’s a facetious question that has an obvious answer, but it still was one that had to be posed to Clarkston Everest Collegiate boys basketball coach/athletic director Ann Lowney at practice on Wednesday.

What has been harder, giving birth to and raising triplets or trying to build up a boys basketball program from scratch?

“The triplets,” Lowney said with a laugh. “With (the basketball program), I’ve had the whole community here to help out.”

But while not nearly the “Superparent” task of raising triplets, the raising of the Everest Collegiate program the last four years has been a nice development to behold, even if it’s not a worthy candidate be on the show “Supernanny.”

Four seasons ago, Lowney presided over a team that was so young, it seemed as if they could’ve been in diapers like when Lowney’s now 12-year old triplets were first born.

When Everest Collegiate first formed its own program separate from Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, the roster was filled with sophomores and freshmen playing a mixed varsity and JV schedule against opponents that had mostly juniors and seniors.

That was sort of like a mountain climber trying to scale Mt. Everest without rope or ice axes, pun intended since the nickname for Everest Collegiate is the Mountaineers.

The lumps were definitely taken that year and then the year after that, when the Mountaineers finished in fourth place within their Division of the Catholic League in what was their first season competing in the CHSL.

Then came last year, when the bloom started to come in full on the rose, so to speak, to coin a gardening analogy in the dead of winter when the only things growing on grass are salt stains.

Everest Collegiate erupted from the bottom and went 17-8 last season, which included winning the CHSL Intersectional 2 Division and winning a Class D district title in the state tournament.

This season for the first time since the program was formed, Everest Collegiate finally has itself firmly in place with a full class of seniors, younger players on JV and freshman teams behind them and last but not least, success once again on the court.

The Mountaineers are 7-4 overall and 5-0 in league play, and it all starts with a group of five seniors that have played together since they were in fifth grade and were willing to bypass opportunities to go play at more established programs to help plant the Everest Collegiate team.

Of course, the big reward for seniors Richie Cross, Blake Beauchamp, Mitch Lasceski, David Smith and Ben Marcial is that they’re the big reasons the first banners have been hung up in the gym for league and district titles, and they can come back 15 or 20 years down the road and know they were the ones that set the standard for future teams to follow.

“We want to come in here in the future with our kids and point up to the banner and say ‘That’s what we started, that’s what we made and that’s our year,’ ” Beauchamp said.

The seniors can also recite to their kids how they were a rare breed of boys basketball players in that they played for a female coach.

After a successful tenure as head coach of the Clarkston girls team, Lowney stepped down in 2004 to spend more time raising her triplets, but wasn’t hesitant at all to take on the task of coaching the boys team at Everest Collegiate four years ago.

It goes without saying that it was an adjustment coaching boys instead of girls, and the main brain she picked to help make the transition was Clarkston boys head coach Dan Fife.

“Boys play above the rim, while girls play below the rim,” Lowney said. “Girls you need to drill them, drill them, drill them, boys you need to get out and scrimmage, stop them and correct them that way. That was the biggest difference for me, where the game is played. I used to always say with girls, it was go in, bounce pass and score. With boys, it’s throw it up and let them go get it. I had a lot of talks with Coach Fife. The minute I took this job, him and I were on the phone a lot in the beginning. What do I do against the zone? And also just the physicality difference.”

As much of an adjustment as it was for Lowney, it was also an adjustment for the players, although it didn’t take long to realize that Lowney was in solid control of things.

“On the basketball court, you’re getting yelled at,” Beauchamp said with a laugh. “She knows us but she doesn’t care anyways. We got a lot of interesting things yelled at us. But I think having a female coach allows us to have a (motherly) relationship off of the court.”

Added Marcial: “I think a lot of people underestimate her because she’s a female coach. Once they see us play or if you’ve ever been to one of our practices, you definitely know not to underestimate us.”

Just like the basketball program, the rest of Everest Collegiate’s athletic programs are growing as well. Other than all of the spring sports and also boys soccer in the fall, Everest Collegiate has formed separate athletic programs from Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, which Lowney couldn’t thank enough or heap enough praise on for allowing Everest Collegiate to combine with their programs in recent years.

“We wouldn’t be where we are without them,” Lowney said.

The separation from Our Lady of the Lakes will continue in the fall when Everest Collegiate starts its own football program. Lowney said there were 22 kids who signed on at the first meeting last month, so all systems are a go for that.

Also the athletic director at the school, Lowney will get to find out that there’s nothing like raising something from birth, just like her triplets and boys basketball program.

E-mail Keith Dunlap at; Twitter: @kd2578

Last Updated: 1/20/2013 2:38:49 AM EST

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