MUNCY - Ted Clark did not run through a wall Tuesday against Bloomsburg. But he did try.
Even with victory secured late in the fourth quarter, Clark chased a loose ball and ran into the wall trying to make the save. It was a play that symbolized who he is and who, in turn, his Muncy team is becoming.
Clark fueled a well-rounded performance Tuesday, scoring 20 points, making four steals and dealing four assists while helping Muncy defeat Bloomsburg, 74-56. The Indians (5-3, 3-1 HAC-III) won their second straight and had five players score nine or more points.
Ted Clark of Muncy shoots as Zach Ashford of Bloomsburg defends Tuesday night in Muncy. View additional photos at cu.sungazette.com.
"He (Clark) gives maximum energy and maximum effort. That's the best thing about him," Muncy coach Jason Gresh said. "That's the best thing you can ask is to lead by example and that's what he does."
Clark was thrust into that leadership role after starters Ammar Sabanovic, Dawson Fox and Billy Kolletzki graduated from a team that reached states for a second straight season last year. A year after being the new kids on the block and starting for the first time, Clark and Nick Ring (12 points, 10 rebounds) are now the most experienced players. They now are the leaders.
And Clark likes that. Whatever his team needs, Clark provides it. He plays different positions but is the point guard at crucial times. He can shoot, drive, pass and rebound. He also can motivate and that is crucial for a team that is still jelling and still growing.
"Last year it was more like we knew we had our three with Ammar, Dawson and Billy and then when we (he and Ring) came in we had to help them out," Clark said. "This year it's more me and Ring have to pick our team up."
"He's embraced that role," Gresh. "He's OK with not scoring too. Go back to Warrior Run when Leone (Ghezzi) had a big game and he (Clark) didn't score much and he was just as happy because we won. Tonight he was feeling it and he came out and knocked down his shots and got us going."
The senior point guard hit 8 of 10 shots, including three 3-pointers, and helped Muncy lead from the second quarter on. Muncy struggled some early, but Clark was a calming influence. Soon all the Indians started playing well and they shot an impressive 62.7 percent from the field.
Bloomsburg (2-4) trailed by just two midway through the third quarter when Ring picked up his fourth foul. What could have been a negative, Clark helped turn into a positive as he scored seven points in that quarter and helped swing momentum back Muncy's way. The Indians went on a 33-15 run from that point and started dominating on both ends.
Anthony Barberio and the reserves made a big impact too. When Ring went down, Barberio elevated his performance and scored 10 points while grabbing eight rebounds and making four steals. Eli Warnick came off the bench to help Barberio inside, scoring a season-high nine points and making four steals.
The bench produced 28 points and reserve guards Dalton Smith (3 steals) and Jeff Fry came up huge in the fourth quarter, combining to make the first seven shots they took from the floor and the line. After scoring 28 points in a JV win, Fry scored seven of his nine points in the third quarter and helped clinch the win after Clark made a steal and fed him for a 3-point play that made it 67-52.
"If Nick is in foul trouble we have to have someone step up and Anthony did that and so did Eli. They really get after it," Clark said. "He (Fry) played really well tonight. We tell him he has to do what he knows how to do and that's score. He helped us a lot."
Muncy hit a road bump the last two weeks when it played without Ring, Warnick and Smith and lost two straight. At full strength, the Indians are 5-1. Despite missing chunks of time with foul trouble, Ring displayed his importance. The senior center scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, scoring nine of those points in the second quarter when Muncy took control.
"With Nick Ring back it makes a big difference," Clark said. "His size really helps us. That's what we need. That's really key."
Muncy played one of its best quarters of the season in the fourth, showing why it could again be a big factor in the District 4 Class A playoff picture. The Indians hit 9 of 13 shots, forced six turnovers and had seven different players score. Fry and Smith ignited the fourth-quarter rally with Fry hitting a jumper and smith splitting two defenders on a drive.
Bloomsburg pulled as close as 10 but Clark immediately started sealing the win. Seconds after checking back in, he stole the ball at midcourt and drove in for a layup. The Panthers never threatened again.
"We struggled at times in the first half but made some adjustments at halftime," Gresh said. "It was a real good team effort."
Zach Ashford 1 4-9 6, Lance Klinger 2 0-1 4, Nate Babon 2 0-1 4, Javeal Hemphill 1 0-0 2, Tristan Wright 0 0-0 0, Jack Thellion 1 0-0 2, Lincoln Buttrick 12 1-1 25, Dylan Everhart 6 1-1 13, Zak Kreischer 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 6-15 56.
Nick Ring 5 2-3 12, Ted Clark 8 1-1 20, Leone Ghezzi 2 0-0 4, Anthony Barberio 5 0-0 10, Derek Sellers 2 0-0 4, Dalton Smith 3 0-0 6, Eli Warnick 3 3-4 9, Jeff Fry 3 3-3 9, Zach Zellers 0 0-0 0. Totals 32 9-11 74.
Bloomsburg15 16 8 17-56
Muncy16 18 17 23-74
3-pointers: Muncy 3 (Clark 3).
Records: Muncy 5-3, 3-1 HAC-III. Bloomsburg 2-4, 1-2.
JV Score: Muncy 61-52. High Scorer: Fry, M, 28