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Record breakers?
State championship more important than scoring title for Clarke and Page

By Ryan Aber Modified: February 20, 2008 at 1:18 am •  Published: February 20, 2008
For nearly 20 years, former Maud High basketball star Ty Harman's state scoring record has faced only one serious challenge.

Now two scorers have it within their sights.

Verdigris' Rotnei Clarke is 138 points shy of Harman's 3,639-point mark heading into Thursday's playoff games. Clarke, who has signed with the University of Arkansas, averages 40.3 points.

If top-ranked Verdigris wins out and reaches the Class 3A title game, Clarke could surpass Harman by averaging 23.2 points in six games.

Pawnee's Keiton Page lurks just 194 points behind Harman. If Page, an Oklahoma State signee, sustains his scoring pace of 44.5 points, he'd own the state record in that category.

He'd also zoom past Harman, provided No. 1 Pawnee isn't upset before reaching the Class 2A final.

When Harman broke Grandfield's Kenneth Johnson's record in 1989, he did it in the middle of the season.

Clarke and Page are shooting for scoring history while trying to win state championships, two pursuits that fuel each other.

Page has a gold ball, having helped the Black Bears win the 2A title in 2005. Clarke has yet to win one, his team having lost in the semifinals in each of his three trips to the state tournament.

"It's not important right now,” Page said. "We've got one thing on our minds and that's to win a title.

"It'd definitely be cool to look back at in a few years and say I had the record but that's not the big thing right now.”

While Clarke and Page say they are worried more about winning titles, their coaches are taking different approaches toward the record.

Pawnee coach David Page, Keiton's father, says he's not taking the record into consideration.

"We've gone about things the way we have for the last couple of years,” David Page said. "We wouldn't even know it was there unless the media had brought it up.

"There's been 20 games the last two years that he hasn't played in the fourth quarter. If the game's out of hand, Keiton's going to be on the bench.”

Verdigris coach Kelly Clarke, Rotnei's uncle, said the pursuit of the record is affecting the way he coaches.

"For the last three years, we've taken Rotnei out of the game when the game was out of hand,” Clarke said.

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His own Page in the record book
Pawnee's Keiton Page has the state's career scoring record and three other marks within his grasp.

Page is 257 points off Grandfield's Kenneth Johnson's 1979 mark of 1,280 points in a single season.

Page, who averages 44.5 points, also has a chance to break Barnsdall's Jordan Barnhorst's 1994 record of 44.0 points.

He also has a shot at a national record. Page is currently on pace to break Minnesota's Erik Kelly's 1994-97 record for career 3-point shooting percentage (47.3, minimum 400 attempts).

Neither Page nor Verdigris' Rotnei Clarke is anywhere close to the top of the national list, though.

Greg Procell or Noble Ebard, La., scored 6,702 points in his prep career, which ended in 1970. Although the National Federation of State High School Association's most recent record book lists 63 players who scored more than 3,000 career points, none of the three state players who had topped that mark heading into this season were included.

By Ryan Aber


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