Sports Editor

VERDIGRIS — Rotnei Clarke played lights out.

Shot the lights out.

Turned the lights out on Claremore Sequoyah.

And lit up the scoreboard with 54 points.

With every shot he takes, and makes, Rotnei Clarke pulls closer and closer to the Oklahoma high school basketball career scoring record.

Monday night, he pulled 54 points closer. And left Sequoyah in his wake.

For the second time in three games, he singlehandedly outscored the opposing team.

Clarke buried the Eagles and carried his Verdigris Cardinals to a 99-51 victory in their regular-season finale.

As the Class 3A playoffs loom for the No. 1-ranked Cardinals, Clarke is the No. 3 scorer in the history of Oklahoma hoops. He has 3,454 and stands behind only Kalenna Azubuike (3,530) and Ty Harman (3,639).

He has scored 155 points in his last three games.

His first two playoff games will be at home, and he has a tendency to pile up points quickly at home.

And, he was in one of those home-court grooves Monday night, where he seldom missed. From anywhere he shot.

By quarters, he scored 10, 18, 17, 9.

At halftime, he had outscored Sequoyah, 28-26.

At the three-quarter pole, he had outscored Sequoyah, 45-36.

He left the game with 3:34 remaining, finishing with 11 of 13 from 2-point range, 7 of 11 from 3-point range, and 11 of 12 free throws.

He also found time to lead all rebounders with seven, and dish out five assists.

A week ago, Clarke scored 65 as the Cardinals whipped Berryhill, 109-64.

Then, on Friday night, he scored “only” 36 in a 95-62 blitz of Sperry. In that game, he missed seven free throws.

He spent much of Saturday morning in the gym, shooting free throws.

His work paid off Monday night, although he did miss the first free throw he took.

But then, in typical Rotnei Clarke fashion, he shook it off and did not miss another.

In the first quarter, he hit four of six shots from the field. In the second, he was six of seven from the field.

He was hot. He was shooting lights out.

And, at halftime, the lights did go partially out.

For Senior Night halftime activities, the fieldhouse lights were dimmed by a power outage. A “brown-out.”

They did not come back quickly.

The halftime break was extended. Even as the third quarter started, some of the lights over the stands were not at full beam.

And, two minutes into the period, with Clarke at the free-throw line, the lights dimmed again.

Sequoyah would have settled for a shortened game at that point.

But by darkness or by light, Clarke can locate the basket. He hit his two free throws, as if the ball were radar-controlled.

In that third quarter, he hit six shots in a row — three treys and three dueces.

He put up over half-a-hundred for the third time this season, raising his season average to 40.1.

But he was not the only Cardinal to have a big game.

Adam Hollon scored 26 points. The 6-7 senior hit 11 of 17 shots from close range, and added four of five free throws.

One by one, the Cardinals’ starters called it a night in the fourth quarter.

By the time Clarke went out, so, too, did much of the crowd.

They knew that the Cardinals had sealed their 14th straight win, and that Clarke had sealed his second-best offensive performance of the season.

The last time Clarke took on Sequoyah, last month, he scored 38 in a 90-71 win.

The Cardinals broke 90 for the third time in a row and are averaging 101 points in that span. Four times in their last five games they have surpassed 90.

They will enter the playoffs this week at 20-3.



Sequoyah 10 16 10 15 — 51

Verdigris 23 28 29 19 — 99

Claremore Sequoyah — Golden 22, Dorsey 12, Wangsgard 6, Smith 5, Inman 4, Perry 1, Radley 1, Cole 0.

Verdigris — Clarke 54, Hollon 26, Sunday 5, Sam 4, Monroe 3, White 3, Overholt 2, Culver 2.