Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 | 9:38 a.m.
After three straight 3A state championships, the Clark High basketball team has moved onto its next challenge.
The Chargers joined the 4A classification this year and expect to have success there as well.
“Basketball is basketball and I think that we are one of the best teams in Nevada regardless of classification, period,” Clark’s first-year coach Colin Darfour said.
Darfour, who coached at Mojave for the last five years, takes over for Chad Beeten who left to coach Crossroads High School in California.
“I’m extremely excited to take over this program,” Darfour said. “I’ve got a great group of guys that love to work hard, are extremely talented and extremely young so I feel that we have a group that we can build with for the next couple years.”
Clark’s core is made up of two junior guards, James Bridges and Trey Woodbury, and an entirely-sophomore frontcourt in Ian Alexander, Antwon Jackson and Jalen Hill.
Alexander, a 6-foot-6 forward, is expected to be the leading scorer on a team full of capable scorers.
“I think you should just look out for the whole team,” Darfour said. “One of the great things about this team is there aren’t just one or two stars. I’ve coached teams like that in the past where you have a couple of guys and you just try to blend the rest of them to accommodate those guys.”
Clark is already off to a hot start, winning all four of its games in the Legacy Tip-Off Classic including a 67-56 win over 4A power Centennial on Saturday.
Alexander led the way with nearly 20 points per game, with Bridges and Woodbury not far behind.
“My role is probably to just keep the team together and make sure everyone has the right mindset to get our overall goal, which is a state championship,” Bridges said.
To do that, Clark will have to knock off an equally dominant Bishop Gorman team that has five straight state championships of its own.
In its move up to the 4A Division, Clark has been slotted right alongside Bishop Gorman in the Southwest League and will host the Gaels on Jan. 3 and play them at Bishop Gorman on Jan. 31.
“I remember times in the Clark County School District when it was all 4A,” Darfour said. “When I started coaching back in 2003 the whole thing was 4A. So a lot of the schools that we’ll play now that we moved up I’ve had experience playing in the past.”
One thing is certain, by the time Clark reaches the playoffs they will be battle tested.
After passing their early-season exam against Centennial, the Chargers will play the No. 1 ranked team in the country, Chino Hills (Calif.), in the Tarkanian Classic on Dec. 16.
Clark then heads to Wyoming for the Gillette Energy Classic, and will play 3A rival Desert Pines at the South Point Arena on Jan. 21.
“I don’t see any pressure,” Bridges said. “We’re going into a new division and we have the opportunity to make a new name for ourselves in the upper division.”
The Chargers are as deep of a high school team as you’ll find in Nevada, and are ready for another run at a state title — this time in the Nevada’s highest classification.
“I believe that our first man through our twelfth man can actually go out there and contribute,” Darfour said. “You’re going to have to defend the whole team and we are coming at everybody this year.”