The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

January 26, 2014

Lady Jets' Clark motivated to play Seminole

ENID, Okla. — Northern Oklahoma College Enid freshmen Breck Clark won’t be lacking for motivation when the Lady Jets host Seminole in the first half of a women-men’s Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader at 6 tonight at the Mabee Center.

Clark grew up in Dale, which is 15 minutes away from Seminole, where her grandmother lives.

“I almost decided to go there,’’ Clark said. “It was a pretty difficult decision. I knew if I went there, I could have gone home any time of the week, but I like it here. I’m glad I made the choice.’’

Clark is close friends with Seminole’s Mya Tramble, who was a AAU teammate. This is for bragging rights.

“We give each other a bad time,’’ Clark said with a smile, “but she’s cool. That’s one of the best things about our friendship.’’

Clark is 1-0 against her friend. She had 18 points as the Lady Jets (11-8, 4-5) won at Seminole (6-10, 3-5)  79-74 on Nov. 21.

“I get up a little more for Seminole, so I could have bragging rights,’’ Clark said. “We almost lost to them last time, so we’re going to have to be on our game.’’

Clark has been on her game all season. She leads the team in scoring with a 19.5 average and has had 14 straight games in double figures, including 31-point efforts against NOC Tonkawa and Cowley (Kan.).

Clark is shooting 41.4 percent from the field, 38.2 percent from 3-point range and 76.8 percent from the foul line. She is averaging 7.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

“I’m ahead of where I thought I would be,’’ said Clark, who averaged 19 points per game in leading Dale to the state semifinals as a senior. “I thought I would play a different position in college and not score as much ... maybe be a passer or something like that.’’

Her game hasn’t surprised Lady Jets’ head coach Scott Morris.

“She is one of the best offensive players that I’ve ever coached,’’ Morris said. “She has a knack for scoring and getting in position.’’

Morris might have given her the ultimate compliment after an 80-60 win at Western on Wednesday when he said she was the only player he’s coached “that could be struggling and still get 26 points.’’

“I have been struggling the past few games,’’ Clark said. “It’s been because I haven’t been moving on offense as much, but I’m trying to work on it, and hopefully, get better as the games go by.’’

Clark is quietly confident.

“Sometimes I get frustrated,’’ she said. “Sometimes I’m not hitting any shots at all. When I get frustrated, I just tell myself to keep calm and stay relaxed and it’s not a big deal.’’

She sometimes will pass when the shots aren’t going down, but for the most part, Clark has the shooter’s mentality of keep putting up shots, knowing they will fall sometime.

“I’ve always been taught to shoot it when I’m open,’’ Clark said.

Clark moved to Dale as a freshman where she played on a state championship team her first year and a semifinal team as a senior.

The coaching she received there put her on the fast track to college, especially NOC Enid.

“Coach Morris is real fundamental,’’ she said. “He gets things done punctual. That’s the way it was at Dale, so it wasn’t much of a transition. I fit in here better than I would at a bigger school.’’

Dale had a Hoosiers-like attitude toward basketball. The school doesn’t field a football team, concentrating on basketball and baseball. The gym was virtually open 24 hours a day.

“It’s a small community,’’ she said. “Everybody trusted each other and left the door open. All we had to do was to get the key or ask somebody and they would open it.’’

She has the same feeling toward NOC Enid, thriving at a small campus.

“I’ve always heard good things about coach Morris,’’ Clark said. “They always had a winning record. I really wanted to be part of it.’’

Morris has won more than 300 games at NOC Enid, but the Lady Jets are struggling somewhat and are looking for momentum after their win at Western.

“I think our chemistry is getting better,’’ Clark said. “We’re learning about each other and getting the right people on the court. Our sophomores are the leaders, but I will do anything I can to help the team. People like Rylie (sophomore Swanson) have helped make me a better player.’’

One adjustment for her was playing in front of small crowds after playing before packed houses at Dale.

“You couldn’t even get in the gym there,’’ Clark said, “but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be here. The baseball boys are always supporting us. Sometimes when we go to away games, there’s not many people there and you have to get yourself pumped up.’’

Clark’s favorite players are NBA stars Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant. Her No. 1 hobby is fishing, although she hasn’t found any spots in Enid yet.

“There’s a little pond by my house (in Dale),’’ she said. “I just walk through the woods to get there.’’

NOC Enid’s men (14-5, 5-4) will be looking to avenge a  79-76 loss to Connors (12-6, 2-5). The Connors game marks the start of the second half of the league race.

Ben Berry leads the offense with a 15.9 average. Ja’wan Smith is averaging 16.6 points over the last seven games, including a season-high 21 in a 93-75 win over Western on Wednesday. Daryck Jones led NOC Enid with 20 the last meeting.

Seminole is led by sophomore guard Jabril Durham (21.1), who had 25 points the first meeting.

Both games can be heard on KCRC (1390 AM).�

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