Chris Clark is thrilled to get some Friday night basketball action back into his life alongside his Mercer Island High School teammates.
After playing in a truncated season last April and May due to the pandemic, the Islanders are set to tip off their 3A KingCo schedule with a home contest at 8 p.m. on Dec. 3 against Lake Washington. The girls’ teams will play at 6:30 p.m.
The third-year varsity starting point guard said the fans play an integral role in the team’s success. Fans can check out the Islanders for the first time this season at 7:10 p.m. on Nov. 29 in a home jamboree also featuring Newport, Shorecrest and Juanita.
“Everyone’s pretty pumped about it, especially with being able to have everyone in the stands. We’re hoping this year that we have a fully packed gym like we did before COVID,” said Clark, who stands 6-foot-1 and started his Islander career as a freshman.
During Clark’s freshman and sophomore seasons, the Islanders were on the cusp of trips to the state tournament, but finished their campaigns one win short of the promised land. Last season, there wasn’t a state tournament to shoot for because of COVID.
Clark — who was an all-3A KingCo honorable mention as a sophomore — said the squad will need to pack a punch during the regular season in order to set up a chance for the Islanders to vie for a state spot come February and March.
Beginning in fifth grade with the Eastside Traveling League program, Clark said he’s learned about teamwork, communication and perseverance while being groomed to compete on the varsity level. Islander hoopsters began playing together then and through middle school before hitting the big stage in the high school realm.
From day one, it’s been a satisfying feeling for Clark to be part of the program.
“It’s a really good family feeling,” Clark said, adding that life lessons abound on the court. “Even through adversity, you’ve got to always try your best and work your hardest with people.”
Seniors Clark and Ryan McCrary and junior Jackson Bredy are the team’s captains this season.
The Reporter asked Clark a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
“The Karate Kid” with Jaden Smith.
What’s your dream vacation spot?
Tokyo or Dubai.
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
How do you spend your spare time?
Currently, spending a lot of spare time on college stuff (he hopes to major in either real estate, communications, business or architecture). Over quarantine, me and my friends got really into spikeball. We would play spikeball for five hours a day, just outside. Me and all my friends are pretty competitive, so it goes from a fun game to really intense. It actually ends up being a pretty good workout once you get pretty good at it. (Spikeball is similar to volleyball with teams of two playing the ball off the net.)
What super power would you like to have?
Time control — being able to pause, fast forward and rewind time.
What special skill would you like to learn?
I think I’d like to learn how to surf. Surfing seems like a pretty cool thing to be good at.
BOYS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Nov. 29 NEWPORT, SHORECREST and JUANITA (jamboree), 7:10 p.m.
Dec. 3 LAKE WASHINGTON, 8 p.m.
Dec. 6 at Hazen, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 11 INTERLAKE, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 14 LIBERTY, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 17 at Juanita, 8 p.m.
Dec. 20 KENTLAKE, 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 21 at Inglemoor, 8 p.m.
Dec. 22 at Skyline, 7 p.m.
Dec. 28 Liberty Holiday Classic, TBD
Jan. 4 GIG HARBOR, 7:15 p.m.
Jan 7 BELLEVUE, 8 p.m.
Jan 11 at Lake Washington, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 14 HAZEN, 8 p.m.
Jan. 17 MLK Invitational vs. Renton, Cleveland, Washington, Eastlake and Hazen at Renton, TBD
Jan. 19 at Interlake, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 22 at Liberty, 8 p.m.
Jan. 25 JUANITA, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 1 at Bellevue, 7:15 p.m.