Douglass' state champion basketball team brings back Trojan pride

On a day when the Douglass boys beat Roland 82-80 and ran their streak of state high school basketball titles to four, the Trojans provided a respite.
by Jenni Carlson Published: March 9, 2013
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photo - Douglass Stephen Clark carries the championship trophy after his 51 point scoring run during the 4a boys championship game where the Douglass high school Trojans defeated the Roland Rangers 82-80 at the State Fair Arena on Saturday, March 9, 2013 in Oklahoma City, Okla.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Douglass Stephen Clark carries the championship trophy after his 51 point scoring run during the 4a boys championship game where the Douglass high school Trojans defeated the Roland Rangers 82-80 at the State Fair Arena on Saturday, March 9, 2013 in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Superstar guard Stevie Clark leapt in the air and chest bumped his brother Deondre.

Scrappy big man Glenn Banks high-fived everyone he could get his hands on.

Athletic director Willis Alexander stood on the baseline, a fist in the air and a smile on his face.

Another year, another state title for Douglass.

And yet, this year has been like no other.

On a day when the Douglass boys beat Roland 82-80 and ran their streak of state high school basketball titles to four, the Trojans provided a respite. It was a break from a year that has been all about an academic scandal that has rocked the school. It was a reprieve from a mess that involves grade fixing and absence fraud and years of academic mismanagement.

Most of this year has been all about that.

Saturday wasn't one of those days.

Saturday was about Oklahoma State signee Stevie Clark scoring an amazing 51 points, making difficult shots look so easy. Saturday was about Banks scoring 16 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Saturday was about putting another gold ball in the trophy case.

“It's a good day,” said Douglass principal Barbara Davis as fans mingled with players, snapping photos and sharing hugs. “It's a good feeling because they have been in such a bad place, a bad place in the media.”

Students have been put through the wringer because of the mistakes of adults who were hired to do better. Davis and others have been brought in to provide better oversight, but the mess that was created is still being cleaned up.

A state audit revealed that more than 80 percent of the senior class wasn't on track to graduate in May. They needed additional hours. They needed more core courses.

What it has meant is a large chunk of the seniors have had to put in extra work to get on track for graduation.

A lot of extra work.

There has been after-school tutoring, night classes, Saturday school, online courses, even intercession classes during winter break.

“They've been doing a lot of good things since I've been there, doing all those things that they need to do,” Davis said. “We're in a very good place with our kids.”

None of the seniors on the basketball team got caught up in the academic mess. All of them are on track to graduate. But all of them are aware of the situation that so many of their classmates face every day.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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