Clemente’s Teshawn Stokes could have left the Wildcats over the summer. The 6-4 senior had a big season last year, and despite playing in the White Division, some people noticed.
“[Stokes] had plenty of opportunities to transfer, he’s had other coaches come talk to him,” Clemente coach Adam Hoover said. “But he stayed loyal to us.”
Stokes has a dream. He wants to accomplish something unique at Clemente.
“I want to put a banner up in this gym,” Stokes said. “We’ve never won a regional championship. Clemente has shown me so much love and appreciated me. That’s what made me stay here. It’s a family.”
Stokes took over the game down the stretch on Wednesday against visiting Wells.
He scored 17 points in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats were trailing by eight points with four minutes to play and then by one with a minute left. Stokes scored nine points in the final 50 seconds to secure a 75-71 win over the Raiders.
Stokes finished with 31 points and 13 rebounds, he was 10 for 17 from the field.
“I just had to be a leader and pick my team up, had to put them on my back,” Stokes said.
Clemente (6-0, 1-0 White-West) led 43-31 at the half but totally collapsed in the third quarter. Wells forced the Wildcats into several turnovers and held them scoreless for almost five minutes to lead 53-50 at the start of the fourth.
“It was great experience for us,” Hoover said. “We haven’t had that resiliency before. We got our butts whupped in that third quarter. They came out with a press that we knew was coming and shut down [Stokes] a little bit. Our guys responded really well.
“Four years ago when I started here we lose that game by ten. It is really cool to see these young men grow up.”
Wells (1-5, 0-1) also has a star attraction, senior guard Antwone Lampkin. He’s one of the best shooters in the area. Clemente held Lampkin to five points in the first half but he got loose in the fourth quarter to score 10 and finished with 20.
“Our job was to stop Lampkin, which was the same way they felt about Stokes,” Hoover said. “All these guys know each other so well, they play together almost every day. Wells’ other guys stepped up, that’s what we didn’t expect. They are way better than we thought, a well-rounded team.”
Eric Fowler scored 18 and grabbed six rebounds for the Raiders and Terrance James added 17 points and five rebounds.
Clemente’s next star is already on the court. Freshman point guard Trey Spires scored 12 points. He was 4 for 4 from the field and displayed natural point guard instincts.
“He’s unbelievable and the smartest freshman I’ve had, he’s in our honors program,” Hoover said. “He’s a joy to coach. He’s pass-first, he has confidence and moxie. He’s going to be really good in a couple of years.”
Senior Charvale Bass had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats and senior Lavalle Nelson added 10 points.
Lampkin and Stokes are two of the best players in the White Division. Both are All-Public League and All-Area caliber players.
“It’s frustrating that colleges just seem to overlook the White,” Hoover said. “Against Curie last year [Stokes] was the best player on the floor, had 28 points and 12 rebounds ,but we lost by 20. He played really well against two six-foot-eight guys.”
Stokes thinks the colleges will find him eventually.
“I believe it,” Stokes said. “I can play Division I basketball.”Tags: Clemente, Wells