When soccer's the game Clarke is the name at Bishop Montgomery High School.
Bishop Montgomery's boys team, featuring Jimmy and Kevin Clarke, is 21-2-2 and rated No. 2 in the CIF 4-A.
The girls team, coached by Nancy Clarke--Jimmy and Kevin's mother--is among the better CIF 3-A teams, holding down first place in the Angelus League.
And the boys junior varsity had an outstanding season under the tutelage of John Clarke, the family's eldest son.
Soccer has been a family affair for Nancy Clarke since she began helping out with a son's youth team 10 years ago and then began coaching the South Bay Gunners, a highly regarded youth all-star program.
When her son started at Bishop Montgomery, she said, "I was looking for some way to help out, so I volunteered. I didn't know they paid you to do this."
Clarke's toughest job now is to find enough time to coach, take care of the family--including a 2-year-old daughter--and work her night job as a medical transcriber at South Bay Hospital. Luckily, husband Jack also is involved. The two, who met on a Torrance soccer field, share ideas for coaching the girls team. While Nancy handles coaching chores on the sideline, Jack observes from the stands and suggests strategy during timeouts. "I'm pretty good on the psychological edge. My husband handles some of the technical stuff," she said. "We work pretty well together."
The whole family could say that. Kevin is among the scoring leaders on the varsity, which is expected to make a strong showing in the playoffs. John, 21, was most valuable player at El Camino College and is considering scholarship offers from several Division I schools.
And the girls team has lost only one game in the Angelus League. "I love the sport," Nancy Clarke said. "This group of kids is just a joy to coach. It's really a pleasure."
Of course, she admitted, "by Friday I can't see straight."
Best on the Block: There are no comprehensive statistics, but Morningside High basketball coaches believe they have the best shot blocker in the CIF and possibly the state in 6-9 Elden Campbell. The senior is averaging nine blocked shots per game, as well as 20 points and 12 rebounds, as the 'Side gears up for a run at a second consecutive CIF 3-A title. In one recent game Campbell blocked 13 Miraleste shots.
Campbell's defensive talents are helping the Monarchs average 83 points per game while allowing only 45 in Pioneer League play.
The talented center is being recruited by several Pac-10 schools, particularly USC and Oregon State, as well as national powers Kansas and Pepperdine.
Milestones: Loyola Marymount University basketball star Keith Smith had a string of 79 consecutive starts and 102 games played snapped last weekend when he sat out the St. Mary's game with a sprained ankle. The streak went back to his freshman year. He had started every game since early in his sophomore season. . . . With Smith on the sideline, teammate Forrest Walton-McKenzie took over again as the school's all-time scoring leader, with 1,895 points to Smith's 1,855. Smith had passed McKenzie two weeks ago. . . . Junior forward William Alexander of the Cal State Dominguez Hills basketball team became the school's third player to top 1,000 career points last week. Alexander, a pre-season Division II All-American selection, has 1,045 points. Ahead of him are Eddie Fitzpatrick at 1,335 and James Shaw at 1,079. Alexander will pass Shaw this weekend if he maintains his 18.9 average in conference games Friday and Saturday.