Bishop Gorman’s Zaon Collins thought he might have to give up the ball.
But when Clark’s James Bridges bit on Collins’ pump fake, the freshman saw his chance and hit the most important shot of his career.
Collins’ basket with four seconds left gave the top-ranked Gaels a 50-49 home win over the second-ranked Chargers on Friday.
“We had to get a bucket and it had to be quick so if we missed we had a chance to get it back,” Collins said. “So I just went. I pump-faked him and made him jump and shot the layup.”
Clark had taken a 49-48 lead on two free throws by Jalen Hill with 12.7 seconds to play. Collins got the ball and pushed it toward the left side. He stopped quickly and Bridges blew by, allowing the open look and the ball crept over the front of the rim to give Gorman (24-4, 12-0 Southwest League) the lead.
Clark (20-6, 10-2) had a final opportunity, but Hill’s 3-pointer as time expired went off the side of the backboard.
Collins generally plays the role of floor general off the bench for the Gaels, deferring to leading scorers Jamal Bey, Noah Taitz and Isaiah Cottrell. But with those three each scoring just seven points, Collins filled in the void, providing a team-high 19 points.
“We needed a scoring lift tonight,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “Noah wasn’t 100 percent, and we struggled offensively a little bit. So we needed Zaon to come in, and he supplied us with 19 points and he hit the big bucket.”
Collins made all seven of his shots, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“They were just open,” Collins said of his shots. “They always tell me ‘when you’re open, shoot it. Let it go.’ I have confidence. I’ve been working on my shot.”
Taitz had just one basket in the second half, but it was a big one.
With Clark leading 47-45, Taitz got the the ball on the right wing about five feet beyond the 3-point line. His pump fake got Frankie Collins into the air, and Taitz took one dribble and drained the 3-pointer for a 48-47 lead.
Cottrell finished with eight rebounds and five blocked shots for Gorman, which claimed the Southwest League title.
Hill led Clark with 21 points and eight rebounds, and Bridges scored 12.