Connect with us


1,000-POINT CLOVER: A-C Valley Senior Forward Reaches Milestone Thanks to Hard Work and Persistence

FOXBURG, Pa. (EYT/D9) — When Jay Clover was in junior high, he had yet to hit a growth spurt.

“I was big and slow,” Clover said, chuckling.

Then he sprouted.

He was 6-foot-3 by his freshman year at A-C Valley. Then he got even taller, topping out at 6-5 now as a senior.

(Pictured above, Jay Clover poses with A-C Valley principal Dr. Bill Jordan after reaching 1,000 career points on Monday night/submitted photo)

Clover also became quicker. More agile. With those extra dimensions and the hard work he put in to hone his game, he became a force for the Falcons’ boys basketball team.

Heeter Lumber Logo 2 (1)
Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

It was a recipe for success once his coordination caught up to his newfound taller body type.

“I just kept shooting up two inches in a short period of time,” Clover said. “Sometimes when that happens you get off-kilter with your balance and stuff. I had to get that back.”

Once he did, Clover went to work as a consistent standout in the post for A-C Valley. He became a plugger, a hard-worker who put his head down, played all-out and with persistence.

On Monday night, he reached a major milestone when he scored his 1,000th career points for the Falcons at Cambridge Springs.

He came into the game needing 16. He had 18 in the first half on the way to 26 in the narrow 79-75 overtime loss.

Clover did not know he had hit 1,000 when he sank a free throw late in the first half.

But he heard A-C Valley supporters in the stands cheer wildly when he sank a free throw late in the first half.

“I had no clue what was happening,” Clover said, laughing. “I didn’t know half the people from our school were going to be there until I looked up and saw them. It was special.”

Clover had some idea he was creeping up on the milestone. First-year A-C Valley coach Jess Quinn told Clover that he was getting close.

“It was in the back of my head, but I was just wanting to win more than anything,” Clover said. “That’s really all I was caring about.”

Clover has played major minutes since that freshman season at A-C Valley. This year, he has taken his game to another level, averaging 15.3 points per game to go with a little more than 10 rebounds per night.

He’s the 16th player in A-C Valley boys basketball history to reach the mark. Levi Orton is the all-time leading scorer in Falcon history with 1,703.

But Clover never really put much heed on statistics, other than wins and losses.

“I’ve never really paid attention to it,” Clover said. “People always told me that I could get it.”

Now that he has, Clover sees it as an affirmation of all the hard work he was put in over the years.

He plays AAU basketball for Rising Stars out of Clarion and coach Rogers Laugand.

Laugand has made a big impact on Clover, he said.

“He’s always telling me to shoot the ball,” Clover said. “That just because I’m big, it doesn’t mean I can’t shoot the ball from outside of the paint.”

Clover has worked on that extensively and has developed some shooting touch.

He’s also worked tirelessly on becoming a more well-rounded player inside the paint, too.

“I’ve been working a lot outside of practice and outside of basketball,” he said. “Trying to learn to do some different things, trying to learn how to pass and share the ball better and not just be a big man putting it up all the time.”

Because of that, Clover said he can appreciate reaching 1,000 career points even more.

“It really feels good,” Clover said. “I’ve spent a lot of time and put in a lot of hard work. It feels good to get an accomplishment like that.”

Clover’s primary goal, however, is to help A-C Valley reach the playoffs.

The Falcons and 8-10 with four games remaining. The school has a .500 rule to enter the postseason, which leaves very little room for error.

“Pretty much every game is a must-win, essentially,” Clover said. “It’s been a tough season, but you just have to suck it up and put it behind you and get ready to play the next game.”

Clover is unsure of his plans.

He has received some college interest — understandably — because of his size and skill set.

It has made him quite an attractive prospect to college coaches.

“I’m going to keep my options open,” Clover said. “If there’s an opportunity there, maybe I’ll take it.”

Heeter Lumber Logo 2 (1)
Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.