Tuesday, April 1, 2014

OUR TOWN: A Series of Profiles on the Citizens of Monmouth

By Bryant Salyers

    Is basketball just a game or a life lesson? Monmouth-Roseville Head Basketball coach, Chuck Grant, says that basketball is more than just a game. Grant grew up on a farm in a small town in Warren County. His dad was a hard working individual who was a sort of no-nonsense guy. Grant’s mom was a diligent stay-at-home mother, and some might say she was on the verge of having OCD.  “Mom was a stay at home mom who kept the cleanest house in the world.  Seriously, if I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, my bed was made when I came back”, says Grant.

      Coach Grant might have one certain individual to thank him for getting into coaching, and that is Dick Mings. Mr. Mings was his basketball coach growing up.  Mings was a great role model for Grant, and he was the definition of a class act both on and off of the court. Grant did not think he was going to get into coaching at first, but eventually caved in and accepted an offer to coach junior high basketball. After a few years, Grant loved coaching and was eventually offered a job to help coach at the junior varsity level. Grant felt from the beginning that he had something to offer high school kids not only on the floor, but more importantly off of it, and that is exactly what Grant is achieving.

     Grant not only teaches his men the “Xs and Os” of high school basketball, but also very important life lessons. When asked about how he thinks he prepares athletes for life after high school, Grant stated, “I think that's what sports are all about.  I think a person can learn more about themselves when they play a sport than just about any other activity.  I've never bought into that whole dumb jock thing, ya know?  I think that when you play a sport, you challenge yourself.  That challenge comes with both its successes and failures, just like life.  Anybody can live their life when things are going well, but what will you do when things are not?  You digging your heals in and fighting, or making excuses why you're not. . . The thing that we try to do with our players is to tie the two together; Sports and life.” 

     The Monmouth-Roseville boys’ basketball team’s season came to a brutal ending at the hands of the number one ranked team in division 2A boys’ basketball. Monmouth-Roseville easily won its first regional game against its opponent, the Farmington Famers. Monmouth-Roseville won by the score of 92-58, improving to a record of 17-4, moving into the regional championship game against their regional rivals, Macomb Bombers. This most anticipated game of the year took place on the bombers home court. Some would say that this would be a disadvantage for the Titans and that is exactly what took place until two minutes were left in the fourth quarter. With time winding down and the hopes and dreams of the Titan players in the hands of the Bombers, the Titans fought back from being down by 10. In last seconds of the fourth quarter, Monmouth-Roseville guard, Martel Hunter passed the ball to his fellow big man Trayvon Smith. Smith turned around and put up a last second shot to tie and it went through the hoop. The game was to be decided in overtime.

      The excitement did not stop there, with the seasons’ ends in plain sight for the Titans once again, they fought back and thanks to a last second buzzer beater by senior guard, Martel Hunter, the Titans won the Regional Championship by a score of 62-61 and moved on to Sectionals. This was the game that the Monmouth-Roseville boys were “licking its chops for”, a chance to prove themselves against the number one team in the State for 2A, the 27-0 Rockridge Rockets. Their dreams of winning a State Championship came to an end at the hands of the undefeated Rockets by a score of 76-51. The Titans ended its season finishing with a record of 18-5. The Titans are losing 4 of the 5 starters next season due to graduation, but have a lot of young talented players wanting to prove themselves and to push Chuck Grant and Titans boys’ basketball season even farther next year. 



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