Photo by Brian Paglia
Dutchtown’s Dominique Clune is already arguably Henry County’s top returning player, but she’s worked with two trainers this summer to get even better.
The score is written on Domonique Clune’s bedroom wall at home. It’s in her ear every time the Dutchtown standout’s trainers need something to urge her to that next level. It’s what prompted Clune to get not one trainer, but two, in the first place.
The Lady Bulldogs’ 40-37 loss to McIntosh in the Region 3-AAAA tournament last season has been Clune’s mission statement this summer.
It kept Dutchtown out of the playoffs for the second straight season.
And it’s kept Clune in the gym ever since.
“It really hurt me,” Clune said. “I just felt like we should’ve done better.”
That’s Clune speaking, but also the burden left to her by the Strickland twins. Alyssa and Brittney led the Lady Bulldogs to a 48-9 record in two seasons and the program’s first semifinals appearance in school history in 2010.
Dutchtown has been in rebuilding mode ever since, going 13-12 in 2010-11 and making a nice leap to 19-8 last season. But neither season ended in the state tournament.
The feeling around Dutchtown is that it’s ready to return, that it’s the best team in Henry County (though Woodland might have something to say about that) and that it has the county’s best player in Clune.
The rising senior was an all-Southern Crescent and all-Region 3-AAAA selection last season when she led Dutchtown in both scoring (16.9 points per game) and rebounding (8.7 rebounds per game) as a junior.
What’s in store for her senior year?
“My goal is to put myself and my team in the best position this year,” Clune said. “Just to accomplish our goals.”
Which is a region championship.
To do that, Clune’s dedicated herself this summer to augmenting her game. Two weeks after the McIntosh loss, Clune’s parents signed her up with two trainers — one for conditioning, one for skills.
She’s specifically attacking weaknesses that could make her an attractive prospect for colleges. At 5-foot-10, she can play four positions in high school, but only two at the most in college.
“If she wants to play in [college] she’s going to be a [shooting] guard,” Dutchtown third-year coach April Tate said. “She has to get better on her ball-handling skills in order for her to get to the next level.”
So Clune goes through the grind of drill after drill at B’Ball 101, a basketball development center in Atlanta, with her focus on redeeming herself and her team from its disppointing finish.
And lest Clune lose that focus, her trainers are quick to remind her.
“When they see me not working hard enough, they’ll be like, ‘McIntosh, 40-37! You need to work harder!’” Clune said. “It’s just to push me harder every day.”