DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Dozens of teenagers and adults filled the Clark Academy gymnasium in Dobbs Ferry to watch the varsity basketball team play the season's last home game on Feb. 2.
It was a day after the Knights (11-7) ranked the highest in two class levels in Section 1 for the first time, which made them 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 second to fourth, but we finally broke through to claim the top spot.”
Beyond winning for the team's players, it's a personal victory for each of them. Many arrived at Clark Academy after having gone through traumatic experiences.
Clark Academy is part of St. Christopher’s Inc., an organization that serves teens with emotional, behavioral and learning challenges.
“Being here helped me get out of my situation,” said Antonio Lowden, 18, of Yonkers, a day student.
"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," he said.
Lowden is a graduating senior who hopes to continue playing basketball at Dutchess Community College.
The team won the game against Hawthorne Cedar Knolls School, 85-54, and is set to compete at sectionals Friday, Feb. 26, at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.
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