A Golden Effort by Clarke
It's tough seeing a teenager cry - but this time, it was tears of joy for Julian Clarke.
Who is he?
Well, a celebrity - or close to it - now at his high school. That's Toronto's Oakwood Collegiate.
Emotionally-drained, this sensational basketball player - with his father coaching, his mother, aunt and grandmother watching - electrified an appreciative crowd at the Ontario quad-A basketball final hosted by Durham College in Oshawa.
I have seen many high school basketball players do well. But Clarke, in a clutch situation, really rises to the top helping his team beat St. Thomas More of Hamilton 47-34.
Held scoreless in the first quarter. Two points in the second. Connecting on a free throw in the third. He saved his best for his final quarter as a high school player. He took over what had been a boring defensive game. Get this, five consecutive three-point baskets - and from different parts of the court - to rally his team from a deficit, and win the Ontario gold medal. A first for Oakwood since 1993.
Clarke, rumoured to be heading to Santa Clara University in the fall (the school that Steve Nash attended), was named MVP of the game. But he would have no part of the accolades, congratulating his teammates, stripping the net in the traditional ending of a final and embracing his coach, Anthony Miller. Yes, he scored the last basket of the game and grabbed the final rebound too.
On the topic of champs, a shoutout to Toronto's Martingrove Collegiate.They, too, had a golden night. Indeed, the Bears beat highly touted St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Oakville top-ranked team in a buzzer beater for the triple-A championship in Kingston. Steven Manojlovic grabbed a rebound and tossed in a three-footer for the winning points, 56-54.