LIBERTY - It's unlikely there will be any instructional or fundamental videos made from the Liberty-Champion basketball game on Friday.
The game was marred by turnovers, bad shots and, at times, just plain old ugly basketball.
If a tape or recording of the game did surface, it would probably be centered around Liberty juniors Cameron Clark and Asim Pleas.
The two combined for 44 points in the Leopards' 57-33 All-American Conference, National Division victory.
Clark was especially impressive, going 10 of 13 from the floor and finishing with a game-high 23 points. The 6-foot guard looked comfortable from the start, hitting nothing but the bottom of the net on two of his first three attempts. He and Pleas were big reasons Liberty (4-1) took a 15-2 lead in the first quarter. Clark moved well without the ball and found an open spot before nailing one of his three 3-pointers. When defenders starting jumping out to guard his shot, he pumped faked and drove inside for a better look.
Liberty coach Dan Bubon said Clark, who played sparingly with the varsity last year, displays a great work ethic, and it shows up on game day.
"Cam was unbelievable," Bubon said. "He made some plays tonight that were just awesome. I looked down the bench at our coaches and said, 'Wow! He's pretty good.'
"He's a really nice athlete, and he plays 100 mph at all times, and that's what I love about him. He's only going to get better. He's only played about five varsity games - the first five of this season."
Clark said the transition to a starter from being a seldom-used bench player last year has gone smoothly. He hasn't been intimidated by the level of competition, and he's let the the game come to him instead of forcing it.
"My coaches talked to me a lot about pump faking, dribbling a few times and jump-stopping. It's an easier way to get points than just pulling up," he said. "And I always feel comfortable at our home games. I'm used to the hoops, so I know how hard, how high I have to shoot the ball."
Pleas, a 6-2 guard, added 21 points (9 of 14 from the floor) and played a critical role in the Leopards' first-quarter run. He scored seven in the first quarter and used a variety of moves against the undersized Golden Flashes (1-4). He drove the lane and finished around the basket. He hit pull-up jumpers from outside. And he got to the free-throw line, going 3 of 4 from the charity stripe.
The array of moves weren't surprising to Bubon, who coached at Champion for eight seasons before coming to Liberty last year.
"Asim is just smooth," he said. "That's the best way to describe him. I swear he's an 80-year old in a 16-year-old's body. He's always hurt, he has gimpy knees. He's not really all that quick, he doesn't jump that well. He just knows how to play."
Champion struggled to find an offensive rhythm early on, shooting 3 for 24 from the floor in the first half, and trailed, 27-6, at the break. The Golden Flashes started to generate some offense midway through the third quarter, going on a 10-0 run, but that only cut the score to 35-18 as too much damage had been done in the first half.
"Well, we missed eight or 10 layups in the first quarter," Champion coach Doug Foster said. "(Liberty's) athletic and I thought they did a nice job. My kids came out a played better in the second half. The kids played with a little more confidence. We're a work-in-progress over here. We're trying to get the kids to play with a little more passion and heart. Once we do that, we'll be OK.
"Today we talked about how there are more important things than basketball going on in the world," he added. "We want the kids to realize that basketball isn't the most important thing. And these kids are growing. They're learning, and that's all I can ask of them."