Clark sparks Liberty to AAC road victory
By Steve Wilaj
Although it’s still early season, Liberty High coach Dan Bubon has recognized a trend in his Leopards through the first seven games.
“Cameron Clark is our barometer,” he said. “When Cam scores eight points or more, we’re really hard to beat. In our losses, he’s been totally cold and not scored at all.”
Saturday night at Hubbard, Clark finished with 18 points. So naturally, Liberty came out with a 55-41 victory.
“When I’m going good, the team kind of responds to my energy,” Clark said. “Tonight I was just running hard up and down the court. I was able to get some fast-break layups, and-ones and some free throws.”
Clark’s efforts were assisted by the usual strong performance of Asim Pleas Jr. He finished with 19 points on 7 of 15 shooting. Lynn Bowden also finished with seven, while Dan Markulin had five points and 11 rebounds.
“We know we’re gonna get points from Asim, Lynn’s been scoring pretty well and Danny’s gonna give us some inside buckets,” Bubon said. “So Cam is our barometer right now if we win or lose.”
Clark scored just four points Friday night in a 57-52 loss to Jefferson.
Although the Leopards (4-3) played sloppy against Hubbard — committing 22 turnovers — Clark said the bounce-back win was crucial heading into a break in the schedule.
“We had a rough game yesterday, but we talked about it and got our heads together,” he said. “We went out and tried our best to get this win.”
Hubbard (2-4) entered in the same situation, losing to Fitch, 55-52, on Friday. But the Eagles came out slow, committing 14 first-half turnovers in trailing 30-17 after two quarters.
“We just didn’t come to play,” Hubbard coach Rick Fox said. “We told them they needed to bounce back and play hard tonight, but they didn’t come out and play. I’m gonna take the blame for not having them ready.”
Adam Schroeder and Derek Kopanic were the high-scorers for the Eagles with eight points apiece. In all, Hubbard shot just 28 percent from the field and turned the ball over 19 times.
“We made lazy passes,” Fox said. “We have to value our possessions.”
Hubbard cut the deficit to eight in the fourth quarter before a few bad possessions helped Liberty put the game away.
“We went like three possessions where we came up empty and didn’t make our open shots,” Fox said. “Then they went down, hit the boards and we couldn’t stop them when we had to.”
Liberty outrebounded the Eagles, 30-22, and used a 16-12 fourth quarter to separate itself from Hubbard. Bubon was especially pleased with his team’s defense.
“We played great ‘D’ tonight. That’s what won it for us,” he said. “We really didn’t play great offense. Any offense we got seemed to be in transition. So we stopped them and then ran. But if you play great defense, you’ll be in any game.”