That squad was filled with seniors, and their departure left a void to fill, as did McCullough’s decision to move on. But when new coach Matt Thornton arrived at NHS just weeks before practice began in October, it didn’t take him long to notice Clark, who has done more than his part to fill the scoring void as the season’s progressed. His explosiveness has at times carried the Tiger offense, especially after senior Jay Finley went out a month ago with a stress fracture in his lower back.
Team captain Daniel Harper predicted before the season that Clark would “amaze people,” and the soft-spoken but battle-hardened Clark hasn’t disappointed. His ability to drive to the basket or pull up from outside gives him the ability to create his own shot whenever needed, an element the Tigers were sorely missing after Finley’s departure.
It’s not an easy responsibility for a sophomore to shoulder. But, not for the first time, Clark has stepped up his game to do what his team needs.
“It’s more of a responsibility on me, but I like the challenge,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot of starting experience coming back this year, but myself and some of these other guys have played before and knew we could do it. It’s been a good transition and a good year so far.”
A good year that figures to get better down the stretch for the 8-10 Tigers, who got Finley back last week and are finally returning to full strength for the final two weeks of the regular season. With the win over Southmoore, NHS has won their last three of four, with two of those victories coming over teams that defeated the Tigers earlier in the season. That progress has Thornton confident his team can make a deep playoff run, with Clark playing a major role.