Clark High School won the state Division 1-A championship last year in Reno with a suffocating defense in the title game, holding Northern Region champion Elko to just eight first half points en route to a convincing 43-25 victory.
Trailing Desert Pines by six points midway through the third quarter in Saturday night’s Southern Region final at Spring Valley High School, the Chargers once again clamped down again defensively to pull out a 56-51 victory.
Clark (21-8), which allowed an average of just 39 points during league play, held the Jaguars to just two field goals over the final 12½ minutes and used an 18-4 run to take control en route to its second consecutive Southern Region title.
“We guard,” Chargers coach Chad Beeten said. “That’s what we do. They guard. It was a defensive, physical, tough hard-nosed game.”
Three returning senior starters led the way offensively for Clark. Point guard Colby Jackson finished with a team-high 19 points, including a 3-pointer that seemed almost from press row to beat the buzzer at the end of the first quarter. Forward Ty’rek Wells scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half to help fuel the comeback while guard Carter Olsen finished with 12 points, all on 3-pointers in the first half.
Senior guard Colby Myles had 20 points and Capri Uzan added 11 to lead Desert Pines (21-9), which led 38-32 with 4:25 to go in the third quarter before Clark turned things around with its 18-4 run.
“Our offense starts on the defensive end,” Jackson said. “We get a lot of stops and we can get out in transition and get a lot of dunks and layups.”
Clark will play Lowry, which lost in the Northern Region final to Elko, 55-31, in the state Division 1-A semifinals on Friday at Silverado High School while Desert Pines will face the Northern champion Indians. The winners will play for the state championship on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 at the Orleans Arena.
“At the end of the day, it’s the Southern Region championship and everybody’s goal at the beginning of the season is to win a state championship,” Beeten said. “I’m sure Desert Pines’ (goal) is the same as well, and they’re probably going back there and saying, ‘Listen, we’ve got one more shot next weekend’”