DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Playing basketball is a lifeline for many of the players on the St. Christopher’s Clark Academy varsity basketball team.
That's why, when they compete in the Section 1 Class D final on Friday, at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, many in the community will be cheering for them.
The team recently ranked No. 1 in two class levels in Section 1 for the first time, which made it the best among 13 schools in their section.
“For the first time in our basketball program’s history, we ranked as the top basketball team in both Class C and D,” said Clark Academy Head Coach Anthony Gaines. “For the last two years, we have been ranked anywhere from 2nd to 4th, but we finally broke through to claim the top spot.”
This achievement is far beyond just a win for this small school’s basketball team. It’s a personal achievement for each player, many of whom came to Clark Academy after having gone through traumatic experiences, he added.
“Being here helped me get out of my situation,” said Antonio Lowden, 18, of Yonkers, a day student at the academy. “School was rough back home. I had a lot of problems with anxiety and was scared of the shootouts in the projects where I lived. Basketball at Clark Academy helps me keep my mind off of those things. As long as I’m playing basketball here, I’m OK. I barely have issues with anxiety now.”
Lowden’s friend, Andre Carthorn, who is a residential student at St. Christopher’s and the second leading-scorer in Clark Academy’s history, agreed: “St. Christopher’s and this basketball team really made a positive impact on my life. My attitude changed and I realized how to look at things in a positive way. That’s because we have a coach that really cares about us, even outside of the basketball court,” Carthorn said.
More importantly, being part of Clark Academy’s team and earning the No. 1 ranking meant that they could accomplish a goal that they sought at the beginning of the season, Gaines added.
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