- Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 December 2009 21:54
- Published on Tuesday, 15 December 2009 21:54
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There is a spark in Fox basketball that will soon turn into a flame. Last season fans got a glimpse of the future of King George varsity boys’ basketball. Now that former head coach Jeff Smith has laid a foundation, new coach Tony Clark has arrived to cement a proud and honored tradition of competitive basketball.
Thus far, Clark’s team has taken on four of the toughest teams in the area —Lancaster, Hylton, Washington & Lee and the defending Virginia AA Division IV state champions, Courtland. With a dominating victory over Lancaster during a scrimmage to start the season off, and a wire-to-wire win (95-85) over cross-town archrival Washington & Lee, the Foxes are well on their way to success. The losses to Hylton (74-49) and Courtland (61-57) will only strengthen their ambitions as the season unfolds. In addition, both Lancaster and Hylton competed in the state championship last season, and have returned the core of their team.
Clark is a seasoned high school basketball coach who understands the meaning of fortitude and conviction. His career began as an assistant at Notre Dame Academy, before moving on to Ft. Defiance as an assistant girls’ basketball coach. While at Ft. Defiance, winning became second nature. The Indians won 16 games in his first season — and 25 games in his last season.
During his tenure at Lafayette, Clark won 39 games during the first two seasons, but because of the opening of a new high school (Warhill), his program was severely impacted.
“Aside from the fact that Warhill had taken a lot of Lafayette’s good athletes, I saw the realization of a rebuilding situation,” Clark said. “I have four children, and family is a number one priority for me, and you get a real sense of family in King George.”
After losing Donta Smith, Maurice Bea and Antwan Lewis to graduation, the Foxes are ready to flex their muscles with their top scorer, D.J. Lewis (350 points). Also retuning with Lewis are Devon Jeffery, Matt Mohr, Brandon Shelton, RJ Brown, Terry Santos and Bob Waters.
In light of a district filled with eight competitive teams, the Foxes will throw everything but the kitchen sink at them. Clark will utilize and maximize every asset of his team’s game.
“We want to push the ball as much as possible,” Clark said. “We want to press as much as possible — and that may mean that our best big man may be coming off the bench, after we’ve worn our opponents out.”
“There are still sparks of success in this team from last season; however, I am waiting for those sparks to turn into a fire that burns, and that’s really where we need to be headed,” Clark said.
As for the future of the Fox basketball program, Clark hopes to establish a year-round basketball program by developing an AAU team that is active throughout the year.
“I don’t see a problem with what we’re doing from November to March,” Clark said. “The King George County Schools have covered all the bases with the freshmen, junior varsity and varsity programs; however, we cannot deflate the balls in March and expect the kids to get better on their own. We have to provide some kind of structured environment for them to play during the off-season.”
Results of the Eastern View game on Tuesday were not available due to press deadlines. On Friday, at 7:30 p.m., the Foxes are scheduled to host Culpeper.
Leonard M. Banks