CHENEY — Making a case to name Collegiate junior forward Trace Clark a Spartans starter isn't all that difficult. He's 6-foot-5, strong and mobile in the lane, and he scores and rebounds.
"He can hunker down there and it's hard to get around him," Cheney coach Stan Dohm said. "He's got great hands, a great feel, and he's got a great motor, so he's always chasing the ball."
In Collegiate's 69-51 victory Friday night, Clark came off the bench to score 22 points, including 13 in the second quarter. He also had seven rebounds.
So why doesn't Clark start?
"He's not a senior, and I've got six seniors," Collegiate coach Mitch Fiegel said. "And we wouldn't be as good without (sophomore guard) Markus (Phox) and Trace coming off the bench. Our first five would be better, but our team wouldn't be as good. I'm really proud of them for being willing to do that."
Fiegel uses a five-in, five-out style of substitution. Ten players play about the same number of minutes through the first three quarters.
That allows Collegiate to pressure opponents constantly, while keeping fresh legs and utilizing a depth of ability. It also helps when Collegiate gets into foul trouble, as it has done in its first two games. It had 30 fouls against Valley Center in its opener. Friday, the Spartans had three players with two fouls apiece by the 6:56 mark of the second quarter. That included starting forward Eric Adams, which meant Clark played more.
"It's a whole team thing," Clark said. "Everyone sacrifices minutes and time so we can be the best we can be."
Collegiate also tired out Cheney. Senior Sean Osler led the Cardinals with 20 points, scoring 16 in the first half. He also had four steals, four rebounds and two blocked shots. But he only rested for about 30 seconds in the first quarter.
"He didn't have any legs," Dohm said.
Cheney stayed with Collegiate at times. The Cardinals cut that lead to 26-24 in the second quarter, but by the end of the half, it was 36-28. They opened the third quarter with a 5-0 run, but Collegiate went up by 10 on Raymond Taylor's basket inside with 3:24 to go in the period.
"We had scored some layups against their pressure (defense), which we thought we could do," Dohm said. "But they have so many bodies, and they just keep coming at you. And the minute you get a little fatigued against them, it impacts the flow of the game."
Ten Collegiate players scored, including Kevin Richardson, who had 12 points.
Collegiate (2-0) 17 19 17 16 — 69 Cheney (1-1) 13 15 14 9 — 51
COLLEGIATE: Taylor 4, Adams 6, Burton 2, Tisdale 6, Richardson 12, Phox 4, Ha. Morris 6, Clark 22, Sullivan 5, Kemmer 2. Totals 28 (3) 10-14 69.
CHENEY: Osler 20, Scheer 5, Hubener 6, Miller 3, Bolinger 10, Keiter 2, Gould 5. Totals 14 (2) 21-29 51.