Since the beginning of the Division I-A boys basketball season, Desert Pines and Clark seemed to be on a collison course.
After both teams won Southern Region semifinal games Thursday at Sunrise Mountain, the much-anticipated matchup will happen — at least once.
Desert Pines was a 78-42 winner over Cheyenne in one semifinal on Thursday, and Clark followed with a 71-46 victory over Mojave. The Jaguars (24-4) and Chargers (22-5) will face off in the regional final at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Sunrise Mountain, and both teams will advance to next week’s state tournament.
“It’s certainly a game we have been thinking about,” Desert Pines senior forward Re’meake Keith said. “Other teams in this area have received a lot of hype, and it’s time we get our share. It’s going to be a great basketball game, that’s for sure.”
Desert Pines jumped out of the gates early against Cheyenne, using its inside force to take an eight-point lead. Cheyenne didn’t help itself out, going just 2-for-10 from the field in the opening five minutes.
Still, the Desert Shields (10-13) hung around in the first half, trailing just 27-20 with under two minutes to go.
Desert Pines used buckets from Keith and Nate Grimes to close out the half on a 9-2 run, and the Jaguars led 36-22 at the break.
“That was our game, being aggressive from the start,” Keith said. “We wanted to play solid defense and run when we got into transition.”
The second half was all Desert Pines as the Jaguars outscored the Desert Shields, 42-20.
Grimes led the way with 18 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks. Jeffries added 17 points for the Desert Pines, which went 15-for-17 from the free-throw line. Coby Myles finished with eight assists and seven rebounds.
Javon Peterson led the Desert Shields with 15 points, and teammate Jarrell Bell scored 10.
Clark 71, Mojave 46 — Sherron Wilson scored 17 points to lead four double-figures scorers as the Chargers blew by the Rattlers.
Clark jumped out to a 19-11 first-quarter lead, and then took a 34-23 lead into the break. From there, the Chargers coasted, and led by as many as 30 points.
Diontae Jones had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Clark, and teammates Jordon Turner and Carter Olsen scored 11 apiece.
Despite wearing down Mojave (15-14) with a tough inside presence Thursday, the Chargers shot just 18-for-36 from the free-throw line.
Daryl Adams led Mojave with 12 points, and Jordan Glenn scored 11.
“We certainly will be focused come Saturday,” Clark coach Chad Beeten said. “We were focused tonight, even though we had lapses at times. But this is the playoffs, and each team will be focused.
“It will be a great basketball game between two fine teams. We will have to limit our mistakes, and for sure, do a better job from the foul line.”