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September 21, 2019

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Blog: Wild comeback gives Bishop Gorman basketball state championship

Bishop Gorman Players Celebrate

L.E. Baskow

Bishop Gorman players celebrate their win over Clark during the state 4A high school championship game at the Cox Pavilion, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017.

Updated Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 | 9:44 p.m.

The Bishop Gorman High basketball team trailed Clark by seven points with 90 seconds to play in the state championship game today.

And yet, the Gaels won 62-58 in a wild finish for their sixth straight state championship.

Clark called its final timeout with three minutes to play, and couldn’t stop the clock when bringing the ball up the court in the final minute. Turnover after turnover led to easy baskets for Gorman, including a breakaway dunk from Chuck O’Bannon Jr. with less than 10 seconds to play to give Gorman the lead for good.

O’Bannon had a game-high 36 points, including Gorman’s initial 15 points of the second half as it battled Clark basket for basket.

O’Bannon was a one-man show most of the game, making 6 of 10 3-pointers to keep his team in the game. Christian Popoola made a 3-pointer to trim the deficit to 57-53 with a little less than a minute to play. Clark barely got the ball over midcourt the rest of the game.

Check back later for more.

Clark, Gorman exchange leads in state basketball championship game

After four minutes of play in the state high school basketball championship game, it appeared as if Clark was going to suffer a lopsided defeat against five-time defending champion Bishop Gorman.

But the early eight-point deficit was quickly erased, and upset-minded Clark is leading 29-28 at halftime.

Clark led 23-16 midway through the second quarter to force Gorman to call a timeout. Chuck O’Bannon Jr., Gorman’s McDonald’s All-American, responded by scoring nine quick points following the break.

O’Bannon leads all scorers with 13 points, and Ryan Kiley has eight for Gorman. Six players have scored for Clark, including a team-best six points from Antwon Jackson.

Could Clark dethrone Bishop Gorman basketball as state’s best team?

The Clark High basketball team doesn’t lack confidence. It enters tonight’s class 4A state championship game against Bishop Gorman at Cox Pavilion knowing it is capable of dethroning the five-time defending state champions.

Most local opponents who face the Gorman are defeated before the game begins, sensing the Gaels’ roster of All-Americans and college recruits will eventually overwhelm them.

It’s a different story with Clark — the Chargers know they can beat Gorman. In fact, earlier this season they were the first Nevada team since 2011 to hand the five-time defending state champion Gaels a defeat.

That outcome, a 68-62 victory at Gorman on Jan. 31, should create something rarely seen at the state tournament during Gorman’s current dynasty — a close game. The Gorman program has won 18 all-time championships, including nine since 2002 when Grant Rice took over as coach.

And in the past five seasons, the game was essentially over by halftime. Just don’t expect Clark to rollover.

“Our kids know they can play with (Gorman),” Clark coach Colin Darfour said after the Chargers beat Coronado Thursday in the state semifinals.

Still, Clark is considered the underdog.

Gorman has won two of the three meetings against the Chargers this season, including by 13 points last week in the Sunset Regional championship game.

If the tournament would have been held in Northern Nevada this season, Clark wouldn’t be a participant. But because it’s being contested in Las Vegas, the area gets three teams in the four-team event, and Clark beat Foothill earlier in the week in the play-in game.

I’ll keep everyone started once the game begins. Join the conversation on Twitter using #702hshoops.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21