Nearly invisible throughout the first three quarters, Julian Clarke put his team on his back in the fourth as he led Toronto’s Oakwood Barons to a gold medal and an OFSAA championship with a 47-34 victory over the St. Thomas More Knights.
To the delight of nearly 1,000 spectators at Durham College in Oshawa, the twelfth-seeded Knights had shutdown the Barons’ leading scorer for most of the game, but as fatigue set in, Clarke got his second wind.
Following a timeout midway through the fourth quarter, the grade 12 student hit five consecutive three pointers and a lay up with 10 seconds left to clinch the game. He believed it was his duty to bring the championship home.
“I felt that I had to do it for the team, for everybody,” he said. “I had to come through. I had to come through.”
Representing the city of Toronto, a kid who had just scored a game-high 20 points and named his team’s most valuable player, Clarke still found a way to remain humble.
“There’s always more to do, but that’s for the future. Right now, just go back to Oakwood and celebrate our OFSAA gold medal,” he said. “For everybody at Oakwood, for everybody in the GTA, this gold medal is for everybody.”
Barons head coach Anthony Miller knew what his leader was capable of and he was truly excited about how the game turned out.
“What more could I ask for?” he said. “My best guy finished it off and gave me something to be happy about on his way off to university.”
Stefano Giovannangeli, head coach of the Knights, had a plan that worked for almost the whole game, put his team just couldn’t find a way to hang on in the end.
“We had to keep this low scoring. We had to keep this very ugly,” he said. “For three and a half quarters I thought we did that.”