I-A BOYS BASKETBALL: Clark works inside, sets up fourth straight region final tilt vs. Desert Pines

Clark boys basketball coach Chad Beeten stressed two important elements before Thursday’s Division I-A Southern Region semifinal.

Work on getting the ball inside against a smaller Chaparral team; and making free throws.

Both came into play as the Chargers rolled to a 72-37 victory over Chaparral at Desert Pines.

Clark (20-8) will meet Sunrise champion and tournament host Desert Pines (20-8) in the region finalfor the fourth consecutive time at 6:20 p.m Saturday. Both teams advance to the state tournament, next weekend in Reno.

Clark sent the ball inside from the start, and got its first six field goals from inside of four feet.

“When we watched film today, we thought we had a great chance to get the ball inside,” Beeten said. “It really worked out well, especially after getting turnovers which helped us in transition. In the opening quarter, everything worked for us.”

The Chargers closed out the opening period with six straight points, including back-to-back hoops from Darius Jackson, to lead 19-8.

Clark — which ended its pre-game by shooting free throws for 15 minutes — made all seven of its attempts in the opening period and finished the game 17-for-18.

“Sometimes, you forget how important free throws become,” Beeten said. “When it gets this deep in the postseason, making foul shots could be the difference between advancing in a tournament or going home. Our players now understand the importance.”

James Bridges spearheaded Clark’s second quarter with a pair of 3-pointers, as the Chargers took a 38-14 lead into the half. Chaparral made only 6 of 27 shots (22.2 percent) in the opening half.

Clark led 57-23 after three quarters before emptying the bench in the fourth.

“It was a solid, all-around performance,” Beeten said.

Keyshawn Webb led Clark with 13 points, while Antwon Jackson added 11 points and Darius Jackson 10 points.

Marc Silas led Chaparral (18-10) with 12 points, and Samuel Porras scored 11.

Desert Pines 63, Faith Lutheran 36 — Capri Uzan had 19 points, six assists and five rebounds as the Jaguars turned back the Crusaders in the other semifinal.

Jordan Simon added 13 points for Desert Pines. Trevon Abdullah had 12 points, and Greg Floyd had 11 points and six rebounds for the Jaguars.

Blake Bell led Faith Lutheran (19-8) with 11 points.

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