Improved Clingerman leading Hawks to strong start

Skyline’s Ty Clingerman preforms a ball handling drill during a recent practice. Clingerman has helped lead a young Hawks' squad to a 4-4 start this season. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — Skyline’s Ty Clingerman put in extra time working on his game this season and so far it’s paid off.

The junior point guard for the Hawks’ boys basketball team said he’s worked a lot on improving his jump shot in the offseason.

“I got a lot of shots up this summer,” Clingerman said. “I’ve been working on my jump shot, and I think I’ve been helping to contribute with that. My guys give me the ball in good spots and just help me out with that.”

The Hawks lost three standout players from last season’s team, but Clingerman has helped fill the void this season.

Skyline is 4-4 after winning just one game last season.

Skyline’s Ty Clingerman goes up for a layup during a recent practice drill. The Hawks play in the Ram Hardwood Classic starting on Wednesday in Strasburg. Rich Cooley/Daily

“He’s a hard worker,” Skyline boys basketball coach Jeff Monroe said. “He’s been a very good leader for our team this year with how young we are, being positive about everything. And it’s been not just this year it’s been since summer, he’s been that way. Every time he coems in the gym he’s the first one in, last one to leave.”

Clingerman said he would constantly either come to the basketball gym at Skyline, or sometimes to the gym at Randolph-Macon Academy, where his mom works just to practice on his game.

Clingerman said he also plays on an Amateur Athletic Union team based out of Strasburg. Clingerman said he plays for Elevate Your Game (EYG), which is coached by Strasburg High School boys basketball head coach Larry Fox.

Clingerman said Skyline teammates Marcel Roy and Dylan Allison also play on EYG. Clingerman said there are also players from Central and Strasburg on the team.

“It’s nice to play with some different guys,” Clingerman said. “We’ve become pretty close and knowing guys from different places is pretty cool.”

Clingerman, who also plays football and baseball at Skyline, said that basketball has become his favorite sport over the years.

Last year was Clingerman’s first season at the varsity level, and Clingerman said he learned a lot.

“I was more timid last year,” Clingerman said. “Last year just bringing the ball down (the court) I wasn’t as confident in my game as I am this year. This year I’m much more confident in my game.”

Clingerman said while he loves to score points, he also enjoys playing defense.

Monroe said that Clingerman is the Hawks’ top defender on the perimeter.

“He’s a real good defensive player,” Monroe said. “He’s always guarding one of the other team’s best perimeter players. It probably hurts his offense sometimes just because he has to work so hard guarding the other team’s best player on the outside.”

The Hawks lost Max Meador to graduation, but then also lost two players they weren’t expecting to lose. Last year’s leading scorer, Colin Smith, transferred to Handley High School and second-leading scorer Ryan Scott decided not to play basketball this season.

Despite having a young squad, with only two seniors, the Hawks have had success on the court in the first part of the season.

“It’s a great feeling, because last year only winning one game — it was tough,” Clingerman said. “But this year there’s just a different feeling on the team. I feel like we’re more together. It just feels like we’re so much more together than we were last year and have so much more chemistry. Everyone’s playing for each other it’s not just people playing for themselves.”

The Hawks play this week in the Ram Hardwood Classic at Strasburg. The Hawks play Page County at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the first day of the tournament.