Reniyah Clark one of three PKY hoops signees

P.K. Yonge's Reniyah Clark signed with Trinity Baptist College on Friday to play college basketball.
P.K. Yonge's Reniyah Clark signed with Trinity Baptist College on Friday to play college basketball.
Photo by Mike Ridaught

The P.K. Yonge girls basketball senior class has enjoyed a lot of success throughout their careers, including a district title and regional final appearance during their junior year.

On Friday, a third member of that class got an opportunity to play at the next level.

Reniyah Clark (5’8 PF) signed with Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville, joining 6’1 center De’Mar Wims (Paine College) and 5’5 guard Summer Barnett (Santa Fe College) as college signees from the Class of 2024.

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“It’s exciting,” said former P.K. Yonge coach Willie Powers, who recently accepted the head coaching position at Williston High School. “This is what it’s all about. It’s not about wins or losses, it’s about going to school.”

P.K. Yonge's Reniyah Clark (left), with former coach Willie Powers, signed with Trinity Baptist College on Friday to play college basketball.
Photo by Mike Ridaught P.K. Yonge’s Reniyah Clark (left), with former coach Willie Powers, signed with Trinity Baptist College on Friday to play college basketball.

Wims had a signing ceremony last Friday, while Barnett held a private signing about a month ago.

“I think it speaks to what we do to develop student-athletes here at P.K. Yonge,” said P.K. Yonge Athletics Director Valerie Flournoy. “Signing and having someone acknowledge the work that you put in, in a hot, sweaty gym especially, is a really big deal and we’re really lucky that we get to celebrate three seniors signing and being able to continue their basketball career.”

Clark’s signing marked the end of an era for both the player and her coach.

“It’s special because she’s a special young lady,” Powers said. “She gave me everything she had for the last two years without any complaining. I asked her to do more things that I’ve asked anybody on my team, and she was always there for my team.”

Powers praised her work ethic.

“Whenever I was in the gym, she was in the gym,” he said. “She always worked on her game. When I said go to the four or go to the three, or the two or the one (position), she was always there, and she knew what she was doing so that’s what made our team better. She was the glue on our team.”

During her senior season, Clark averaged 8.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for P.K. Yonge (14-9), which defeated Bradford (Starke) in the first round of the 3A state playoffs but lost in the second round this past year.

“She was always in the right place offensively and defensively,” Powers said. “And granted she did it for 32 minutes, and that’s impressive, every game you’re playing 32 minutes because I couldn’t take her out.”

Her coach believes she’s going to excel at the next level.

“I think a lot of people slept on her because she’s a pretty good basketball player and I’ve seen some kids who have signed and have gone to places that she can play at, some big time JUCO’s too,” Powers said. “I think Trinity Baptist is going to be really good for her.”

The second team All Area selection was complimentary of her former coach.

P.K. Yonge's De'Mar Wims (sitting) signed with Paine College on May 10.
Courtesy of Dorien Greene P.K. Yonge’s De’Mar Wims (sitting) signed with Paine College on May 10.

“I think Coach Powers is a great coach,” she said. “A lot of people misinterpret his passion for the game as in him being so harsh or so mean. It just means he loves the game. I feel like he also teaches us to be better people off the court as well. He also made sure we stayed on top of our work and understand that without schoolwork we really won’t get anywhere because knowledge is power, and you won’t get anywhere without knowledge.”

Clark, who plans to major in sports management, wants to be a physical therapist and get her real estate license.

She has high aspirations, but college basketball wasn’t really a part of that equation.

“I feel like it’s a huge milestone but I’m excited to play,” Clark said. “I never really thought I would be playing college basketball because my recruiting process was very slow, but now that I’m getting the chance to play, I’m actually excited to move on and chase more dreams and make my parents proud.”

Offers started rolling in at the end of the season.

“At first, I didn’t really want to play college basketball because I knew it would be hard and I would always be busy, but he [Powers] talked me into doing it and I listened to Coach Powers because why let talent go to waste,” she said.

Clark, who played five years for the Lady Blue Wave, said all her games against Buchholz stood out the most in her career at PKY, including a 65-63 home win against the Bobcats on Nov. 22.

She was one of five players in double figures for the Lady Blue Wave (13 points), along with Wims (12) and Barnett (14).

Clark and Wims finished with a double-double adding 11 rebounds apiece.

“It’s a rivalry game, the crowd is always hype, and I always like having a loud crowd, everybody knocking down 3s, especially our home game here, it was neck and neck the whole game,” Clark said. “It almost went into overtime, but we ended up not letting that happen.”

The Rock's Mateja Allen defends P.K. Yonge's Summer Barnett.
Photo by C.J. Gish P.K. Yonge’s Summer Barnett (22) signed to play at Santa Fe College.

Wims, who signed Paine College, a private, historically black Methodist college in Augusta, Georgia, averaged 6.0 ppg and 5.9 rpg. She led the team in field goal shooting (46%).

“It’s great that she gets an opportunity at the next level, go in and work hard and prove yourself and she’ll have a great four years,” Powers said. “She rebounds, defends, and hustles.”

Barnett averaged 7.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 3.2 steals per game.

“They’re getting a very good basketball player who is going to give them 110% and I think it’s going to be good for her being here in Gainesville so she will have a lot of support,” Powers said. “She does everything you need defensively, can score the ball offensively, but plays harder than anyone else on the court.”

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