With the state high school basketball championship game tied and just seconds remaining, everyone at the Orleans Arena knew who would get the ball for Desert Pines High in the Division I-A finals against Clark. Julian Jacobs, a senior guard who is signed with USC, led a frantic comeback by Desert Pines in the fourth quarter, helping the Jaguars erase a 12-point deficit to set the table for the dramatic finish.
Nobody expected an outcome this lopsided. Bishop Gorman High senior guard Trey Kennedy knew his team was comfortably ahead Friday against Centennial in the Division-I high school state basketball game at the Orleans Arena, but wasn’t closely following the score. Then, he looked up.
Marcus Allen often shoots 25 free throws in the Centennial High gym each morning before heading to class. Then, when the Bulldogs’ senior guard returns home, he’s back on the court working on his game. The experience paid off Thursday.
At the end of the Desert Pines High basketball team’s Tuesday practice, Jaguars coach Mike Uzan brought his players together underneath the basket on the far side of the gym and delivered a simple message: Let’s make history. Uzan urged them to seize the moment, reminding the teenagers their goal of being state champions was two victories away.
With the Centennial High basketball team trailing Valley Monday by 10 points midway through the second quarter of the state play-in game, several in the gym assumed a player with the last name Allen would be the one to step up. And, twins Marcus and Malcolm Allen eventually took over the game. But, at this junction of the game, the Bulldogs had help from an unlikely source.
Now that they’ve spent 104 minutes playing against each other at three different venues, the body of evidence is both expansive and conclusive. Bishop Gorman is a better basketball team than Centennial.
Jordan Davis always believed he would be leading his basketball team onto the floor at the high school state tournament. But not even Davis, a sophomore guard at Canyon Springs High, could imagine it happening at this stage of his career. Davis, after all, wasn’t promoted to the varsity team until two weeks ago.
Attention to “Ocean's Thirteen” and Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez: You now have company in the annals of most enthralling trilogies in Las Vegas over the last decade. The Bishop Gorman and Centennial basketball teams will meet again Friday night. The third matchup between the two best Division 1 high school basketball teams became official when Gorman breezed past Palo Verde 71-55 in the Sunset regional semifinals at Durango High Thursday night.
Ryan Johnson couldn’t make a shot. When Johnson, Valley High School’s senior point guard, was warming up Thursday at halftime during the Vikings’ Sunrise Regional semifinal game against Foothill, he would frequently shake his head in disgust because everything he attempted badly missed. That all changed on Valley’s first possession of the second half, helping Valley prevail 62-55 to advance to Friday’s championship game against Canyon Springs.
The Canyon Springs High basketball team was trailing Las Vegas by nine points at the end of the first quarter Thursday in the Sunrise Regional semifinals when the Pioneers got the spark they needed. The scoreboard at Green Valley malfunctioned to cause about a 15-minute game delay, giving Canyon Springs a chance to regroup and game plan against Las Vegas’ up-tempo attack it had struggled to contain. Canyon Springs went on a 12-0 scoring run after the game restarted, eventually prevailing 67-64 in a back-and-forth affair to earn a spot in Friday’s Sunrise championship game.
The accolades are continuing to come in for Findlay Prep senior Nigel Williams-Goss. This honor, however, might be the most significant for the Washington-committed point guard. Williams-Goss was one of 24 high school basketball players nationwide selected Thursday for the McDonald’s All-American game.