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Clark freshmen carry half of scoring load

Clark boys basketball coach Chad Beeten might expect some harried moments on the floor with four freshmen among his top nine players.

But just two games into the season, the Chargers’ four freshmen look more like veterans than varsity newcomers.

The quartet of Sedrick Hammonds, Antwon Jackson, Jalen Hill and Ian Alexander combined for almost half of the team’s points Saturday in a 65-36 win at Valley.

“They’re not your typical freshmen,” Beeten said. “They’ve got really good basketball IQs. They play hard. They know how play to the game, and on top of that, they’ve just done everything we’ve asked them to do. They’re fun to coach.”

The two-time defending Division I-A state champions start two freshmen — Jackson and Alexander — along with sophomore James Bridges and seniors Keyshaun Webb and Darius Jackson. Hill and Hammonds are among the first four players off the bench for Clark (2-0), which substituted liberally Saturday after building a 23-7 first-quarter lead.

Antwon Jackson, a 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound post, had 11 points, including 7 of 8 from the free-throw line, three blocks and three steals. He’s the brother of Darius Jackson, one of three seniors on the team.

“He’s such a nice kid,” Beeten said of Antwon Jackson. “We’ve got to get him to be a little more mean. He was so much bigger than everyone else in middle school that he was afraid to hurt people. His hips and his butt are his money, and we keep talking about him using his money.”

Hill added nine points and 13 rebounds, doing most of his damage in the second half. Hammonds, who ran the point for much of the second half for Clark, had 12 points, including 6 of 6 free throws. Alexander had two points as the freshmen combined for 32 points.

“They need that confidence, getting on the floor,” Beeten said. “They’re going to get confidence by just doing it. Our seniors have really brought them along, just showing them how we do things, and that’s developing our culture.”

Clark forced 11 turnovers in the third quarter, stretching its lead to 56-25 and removing any doubt. The Chargers also hit 29 of 35 free throws on a night when they did little wrong.

John King led the Vikings (1-3) with 13 points.

— Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5230.

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