By Andy Hutchison
WESTPORT — Night in and night out, Sam Clachko leads the Staples boys basketball team in points scored. His game average is right around two dozen.
Just how valuable Clachko is to the team, however, was all the more clear during a contest where he was limited to just eight points.
Visiting Wilton closely guarded the sophomore standout in Staples’ 76-68 win Jan. 30, but Clachko still played a big part in the victory.
Despite being face-guarded for the full 32 minutes of game action, Clachko made his presence felt with intangibles that don’t necessarily show up in the box score.
“Selfless play, screening, setting up screens, taking a charge — it’s all the little things that make a difference,” Staples Coach David Goldshore said.
“Tonight’s game is only going to make him a better basketball player,” Goldshore said following the Wilton game.
Clachko still has a two-plus seasons of high school ball to improve his game. He already has accomplished quite a bit, having helped lead the Wreckers to a state title game as a freshman. He’s also a captain on the squad despite his relative youth in the lineup.
“He’s a sophomore by grade but not by maturity and work ethic, He’s a captain who represents our core values,” Goldshore said. “He was unselfish.”
Among the players who stepped up big-time in that win over Wilton was fellow captain and senior Nick Sikorski, who registered a season-high 28 points.
“He’s obviously one of the best players in the FCIAC, if not the best player,” said Sikorski, who enjoyed the opportunity to be a go-to player in this contest.
“It’s very rewarding. It’s a blast to play with guys like that who elevate your game,” he added.
Clachko, a 5-11 guard, can score from all over the court — driving to the rim and getting to the free throw line, draining 3-pointers, and scoring everywhere in between.
The 16-year-old has had a passion for basketball since he was very young and has played organized hoops with many of his Wrecker teammates since they were in elementary school.
“It’s so fun. I’ve been playing with them my whole life,” Clachko said.
The familiarity certainly helps with on-court success; the Wreckers continue to win and carry a 9-4 record into a Tuesday visit to Fairfield Warde.
As for Clachko’s personal achievements, namely racking up the points, that has come as a bit of a surprise to him.
“I always thought I would come in my freshman year and contribute but I didn’t think I would score this much as a sophomore,” he said.
“It’s fun to score a lot of points. I give all the credit to my teammates. They are the ones that make it possible,” he added.
Andy Hutchison has been covering school sports — including Staples athletics — as well as news and feature stories in Fairfield County, since the 1990s.