Basketball teams often look for seniors in key situations, especially in overtime.
But Friday night, Bishop Gorman went to a sophomore.
Stephen Zimmerman scored seven of his 24 points in overtime as the Gaels topped visiting Morgan Park (Ill.) to move into the championship game of the Tarkanian Classic.
“Zim has been dominant,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said of his 7-footer. “For anyone, he’s having a great year.”
The Gaels (11-0) play Mater Dei (Calif.) in the title game at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Gorman fell behind 77-72 in overtime when Trey Kennedy hit what might have been the game’s biggest shot. Noah Robotham penetrated and kicked to Kennedy on the right wing, and the senior nailed a 3-pointer to pull the Gaels within two with 1:35 to go.
Zimmerman then hit a follow shot to tie the score, and he hit two free throws with 31 seconds left to put the Gaels up 79-78, and they wouldn’t trail again.
“When your big guys can shoot free throws, it’s such an advantage,” Rice said. “Zim started the game with a 16-foot jump shot, and then ended the game in the post making good decisions.”
Rice said the team will continue to try to do a better job of getting the ball inside to Zimmerman and 6-10 sophomore Chase Jeter.
“The great thing about both our bigs is they’re such good passers,” Rice said. “We’re trying to work it inside to those big guys. They’re both young, they’re both sophomores, but we’re going to continue to pound it in to them. We know they’re going to make the right decisions.”
Rashad Muhammad nailed four free throws in the final 11.5 seconds to help seal the win. Muhammad finished with 27 points.
Kennedy had 12 points, and Robotham had nine assists for Gorman.
“It wasn’t just one guy,” Rice said. “A lot of guys made big plays at the end, whether it was on the offensive end or defensive end.”
Morgan Park led 68-59 with 3:21 to go before Gorman rallied to force overtime. Obim Okeke had a key steal and basket with 2:08 to go to cut the lead to 68-64, and Muhammad followed that with a three-point play that made it a one-point game.
Zimmerman tied the game at 69 with a post move with 47.7 seconds. The Gaels had a chance to win it in regulation, but Robotham’s pull-jumper rimmed off just before the buzzer.
Billy Garrett and Kyle Davis each scored 21 points for Morgan Park.
Bishop Gorman 68, Pinnacle (Ariz.) 61 — At Gorman, the Gaels started a 10-0 run with about five minutes to play to take control.
Muhammad started the run with a baseline runner with 5:02 to play that put Gorman up 55-54.
Muhammad had 20 points, and Robotham had 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals to pace Gorman.
Zimmerman added 14 points, 12 rebounds, four blocked shots and two assists for the Gaels.
Robotham was 7-for-8 from the foul line in the final 2:27 to help seal the win.
Durango 69, Narbonne (Calif.) 61 — At Gorman, Da’Jon Streeter had 24 points, four rebounds and three assists as the Trailblazers topped the Gauchos in the consolation bracket.
Dartangan Rollins added 16 points for Durango, and Paris Estrada had seven assists.
Jonathan Nichols scored 25 points to lead Narbonne, and teammate Reverand Makduakor had 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Compton (Calif.) 67, Durango 66 — At Gorman, Kyron Cartwright scored 16 points as the Tarbabes edged the Trailblazers in the consolation bracket.
Streeter had 25 points and Tyler Watts scored 23 to lead Durango. Paris Estrada added 12 points for the Trailblazers.
Cheyenne 61, Harlan (Ill.) 55 — At Gorman, the Desert Shields held off the Falcons despite making just 1 of 6 free throws in the final 55 seconds.
Jas Coulson had 18 points to lead the Desert Shields. Edward Shaw added 15 points, and Juwan Washington scored 11 for Cheyenne.
Desert Vista (Ariz.) 67, Cheyenne 60 — At Gorman, Avery Brunson had 17 points to lead the Thunder over the Desert Shields.
Washington led Cheyenne with 12 points. Jarrell Bell added 11 points, and Malik Weekly scored 10 for the Desert Shields.
Faith Lutheran 69, Foothills Christian (Calif.) 42 — At Faith Lutheran, Sam Stevens led four double-figure scorers with 17 points as the Crusaders downed Foothills Christian.
Austin Ortwein had 15 points, and D.J. Manning scored 12 for Faith Lutheran, which got 11 points from Mitch Fulfer.
T.J. Leaf scored 12 for Foothills Christian.
Ribet Academy (Calif.) 52, Faith Lutheran 41 — At Faith Lutheran, Bono Zekan tallied 19 points, and Ricky Cors scored 15 to lead the Fightin’ Frogs past the Crusaders.
Stevens had 15 points, and D’Khari Hicks scored 10 for Faith Lutheran.
Chaparral 82, Southern Australia 77 — At Faith Lutheran, Patrick Savoy poured in 26 points to help the Cowboys outlast Southern Australia.
Paul Chitongo scored 14, and Tyree McNeal had 13 points for Chaparral, which got 10 points from Kamron Alexander.
Lynwood (Calif.) 55, Chaparral 48 — At Faith Lutheran, Joseph Rodriguez pumped in 28 points to help Lynwood down the Cowboys.
Savoy had 14 points for Chaparral.
Foothills Christian (Calif.) 63, Spring Valley 33 — At Faith Lutheran, Leaf had 26 points, and Foothills Christian raced to a 29-10 halftime lead on its way to a win over the Grizzlies.
Dionte Humphrey had 12 points, and Travis Walton scored 10 for Spring Valley.
Ribet Academy (Calif.) 56, Spring Valley 38 — At Faith Lutheran, Zekan had 22 points to lead the Fightin’ Frogs over the Grizzlies.
Walton paced Spring Valley with eight points.
St. Anthony (Calif.) 77, Shadow Ridge 71— At Faith Lutheran, Justin Frazier scored 23 points to lead the Saints over the Mustangs.
Jonathon Ross added 16 points for St. Anthony, which bounced back from a 40-29 deficit at halftime.
Terell Bowden had 26 points for the Mustangs. Serph Decker scored 15, and Kealyn Butler added 12 points for Shadow Ridge, which got 10 points from Anthony Carter.