Huskies guard makes history in George Brown’s 90-85 win over St. Lawrence
Ajahmo Clarke’s ascent up the scoring leaderboard has been a story to watch all season long. On Feb. 18, it received the perfect ending.
Playing against his alma mater in St. Lawrence’s home barn, the much-anticipated event was a moment straight out of a sports movie. Needing two points with 1.8 seconds left on the clock, Clarke became the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association’s (OCAA) all-time scoring leader on the game’s final play.
The crowd roared, coaches embraced and George Brown (18-1) lifted Clarke up upon their shoulders. All that was missing was the Gatorade shower.
“It feels great,” said the soft-spoken Clarke, whose 1,904 career points give him one more than another Husky, Vadim Halimov. “A lot of hard work. Been playing basketball for a few years now, over fifteen years, so it feels like something paid off with all the hard work.”
— GBC Athletics & Rec (@GBC_Huskies) February 18, 2017
Though years later, Clarke is no stranger at St. Lawrence (9-11). The game’s onlookers included Vikings women’s basketball head coach Remy Simpson and Kingston police officer Bryan McMillan, both former St. Lawrence teammates of Clarke’s.
Another figure who remembers Clarke well: longtime Vikings head coach Barry Smith, who Clarke played under from 2008-10.
“I hope he gives us some credit for getting him started, but he’s solid as can be,” said Smith. “He’s put on some bulk muscle, and he’s improved his shooting touch. He’s got both ends of the game going. If you play him too tight, he’s going to drive by you and if you back off him, he’s going to shoot the three in your face.”
Without a doubt, Clarke gives both his former coach and school credit. The Huskies guard made clear how all three of his coaches in St. Lawrence’s Barry Smith, Durham’s Desmond Rowley and George Brown’s Jonathan Smith have given him the freedom to take shots and play his game. That said, breaking the all-time record where it all began was something special.
“As soon as I started my career, they trusted me, they had confidence in me to recruit me to come here,” said Clarke. “They saw something in me that I didn’t see, so it definitely means a lot to break it here.”
Though as effortless a scorer as you’ll find at the collegiate level, Clarke doesn’t amass the 435 points he needed this year without a team effort. The process started long ago, with George Brown veteran Dejazmatch James speaking to Clarke before the season about helping him reach the top spot. Huskies head coach Jonathan Smith lauded James for his leadership, mentioning how he’s been a big part of both Clarke and Halimov’s record-breaking campaigns.
For James’ part, buying into Clarke’s chasing history was its own reward.
“Helping (Clarke) get to where he wanted to be and just to be a part of that, not only me but the rest of the guys, just to be a part of that is a great feeling,” said James.
— The Dialog (@DialogGBC) February 18, 2017
While this chapter of Clarke’s tale is now at an end, the story of George Brown’s season is far from over. Riding a 14-game winning streak, the Huskies face one final regular season tune-up tonight against Fleming.
As the East Division’s top team, George Brown has earned a bye to the OCAA Championship and a sixth place national ranking to boot. With the real season about to begin, it’s time for George Brown to dial in.
“We got our personal goals and achievements done,” said Huskies guard Jordan James. “We wanted to be top of the division, we made George Brown history, Ajahmo made OCAA history and now it’s just time to take care of the last game and get ready for playoffs, get focused.”