Even star players have their off nights.
What sets them apart from the rest, though, is how they handle adversity when the game’s outcome is weighing heavily on their shoulders.
Clark senior Sir Washington showed during Friday’s semifinal of the Las Vegas Prep Championship, he is that type of player.
The Eastern Washington-bound guard overcame a dreadful first three quarters of shooting to register nine of his 22 points in overtime as the Chargers willed their way to a 59-53 victory over Redemption Christian (N.Y.).
Clark will battle Valley at 4 p.m. Saturday for the championship.
“I was just thinking about tomorrow, because I want to go to the championship and win it,” Washington said. “I was thinking about my players on the bench and I didn’t want to let anybody down. I had to step up to the plate and be the bigger man.”
It didn’t come easy for Washington and the Chargers.
The Lions roared back from a 17-point deficit with a 10-3 spurt to open the fourth quarter and tie the game at 42-42. The lead changed hands four times in the final four minutes of the period, and with 29 seconds remaining Washington was fouled hard driving the lane. He converted two free throws to tie the score at 49-49 and send the game into overtime.
“I didn’t honestly think it was going to come down to free throws at the end,” Clark coach Chad Beeten said. “I told him at halftime, “You’ve got the five misses out of your head.’ He was going to make free throws after that.”
After shooting 2 of 10 from the field and 1 of 6 from the free-throw line in the first three quarters, Washington kicked it into gear when his team needed him the most.
The senior scored nine of the Chargers’ 10 overtime points, going 5-for-6 from the line in the final two minutes.
“I was just proud of the way he stepped up,” said Beeten, whose Clark squad secured its eighth straight win. “Big players make big plays at the end of the game. I won’t use the terminology I used in the locker room, but our guys are resilient. You’ve got to have that mental toughness consistently. We had it tonight. We got down in the fourth quarter and didn’t panic. We didn’t have our big man and we could of used that as an excuse.”
Despite being without key forward Malcolm Davis, who sat after being ejected from Thursday’s game, the Chargers (14-1) stormed to a 19-4 first quarter advantage. They connected on 5 of 8 3-point attempts in the opening period, and forced 12 Redemption Christian turnovers in the first half.
Sophomore guard Carter Olsen registered 14 points and converted 3 of 5 3-point shots for Clark. Teammate Sherron Wilson, who took the place of Davis, added nine points.
Junior forward Angel Delgado tallied 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Lions, who also got 13 points from Jahman Delancy and 11 points from Taquan Givens.
In the other semifinal, Cameron Burton stood only 6-feet tall, but he played like the biggest man on the court Friday.
The sophomore stepped in for Valley big men Daniel Young and Eric Burrell, who were plagued by foul trouble early in the game and sat for much of the second half, to lead the Vikings to a 96-84 win over Eldorado in the other semifinal.
Burton tallied 16 of his 26 points in the paint, grabbed four rebounds, had three assists and made two critical steals down the stretch as he covered up the loss of the 6-foot-5-inch Young and the 6-4 Burrell.
Valley led 44-37 at the half, but junior Jayveon Brown made a pair of 3-pointers to key a 12-5 run that brought the Sundevils within two with 3:14 to go in the third quarter.
The Vikings struck back, closing the quarter on a 21-7 run to widen the gap to 70-60 after three quarters. Eldorado never got much closer.
Spencer Mathis added 25 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks, and Ryan Johnson had 18 points and three assists for Valley.
Despite the early foul trouble, Young still managed 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Brown finished with 28 points, including five 3-pointers. D.J. Billingsley supplied 26 points, nine rebounds and eight steals, and Darrion Daniels added 13 points for Eldorado.
Mojave 78, Fremont (Calif.) 44 — Marcus Hines notched 19 points, and the Rattlers outscored the Pathfinders 49-20 in the second half en route to victory.
Jahlonn Williams tallied 17 points, and Malik Abott had 13 points for Mojave, which held Fremont to four points in the fourth quarter.
Markell Brown led the Pathfinders with eight points.
Del Sol 56, CedarBridge (Bermuda) 46— Rashon Lawson and Gary Hoffman each scored nine points, and the Dragons outscored CedarBridge 16-9 in the second quarter to grab the victory.
Michael DeLeon, Noah Spearman, and Grant Vidal all had eight points for Del Sol.
View Park (Calif.) 69, Sunrise Mountain 60 — Jordan Starling and Chance Comanche led a group of four double-figure scorers with 14 points as the Knights downed the Miners.
Darryl McMillon added 11 points, and Reginald Castillo had 10 points for View Park.
Shmarlio Tolliver tallied 17 points for Sunrise Mountain, which had 12 points apiece from Jason Ford and Zane Gibbs.
Las Vegas 80, Buhach Colony (Calif.) 78 — Leo Goodman tallied 23 points as the Wildcats held off the Thunder.
Juwan Major registered 16 points, and James Robinson added 12 points for Las Vegas.
Joe Marquez had 20 points and Stephen Hillyer contributed 18 points for Buhach Colony, which hit 13 3-point shots.
Corona del Mar (Calif.) 75, Sunrise Mountain 47— Max Stone registered 25 points as the Sea Kings swarmed the Miners.
Blake Grable added 11 points for Corona del Mar.
A’keem Ross and Sherman Nash paced Sunrise Mountain with nine points apiece.
Liberty 67, Del Sol 58— Tyler Newman poured in 17 points, and the Patriots used a 35-24 halftime advantage to defeat the Dragons.
Elijah Graves added 13 points, and Jeremy Lontayao scored 12 for Liberty, which got 11 points from Zach Johnson.
Tyrone Rouse contributed 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter for Del Sol.
Morningside (Calif.) 64, Liberty 51 — Deron Thomas and Felix Anugom each racked up 14 points to lift the Monarchs past the Patriots.
Graves tallied 17 points, and Newman chipped in 16 points for Liberty.
Legacy 75, Vista Murrieta (Calif.) 61 — Fredrick Porter scored 16 points, and Donovan Gray had 15 points as the Longhorns defeated the Broncos.
Tim Jefferies added 12 points, and Benjie Harris scored 11 for Legacy.
Jacob Perry led the Broncos with 15 points and Evan Roberts added 12 points.
Cypress (Calif.) 74, Sierra Vista 55 — Jalen Hall poured in 18 points to lead the Centurions to a win over the Mountain Lions.
DeJuan Smith paced Sierra Vista with 12 points.
Hanford (Calif.) 51, Western 45 — Aaron Brown tallied 15 points and lifted the Bulldogs to a victory over the Warriors.
Western was led by Aldo Arpero with 11 points.
Woodbridge (Calif.) 69, Sierra Vista 41 — Michael Scarlett scored 12 points, and Chase Bangs added 11 points as the Warriors took down the Mountain Lions.
Smith had 15 points, and Apollo Corey registered 13 points for the Mountain Lions.