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TARKANIAN CLASSIC: Gaels fall short after buzzer-beater in OT

For all of its success in Nevada in recent years, Bishop Gorman’s boys basketball team has had mixed results in high-profile games against out-of-state competition.

The Gaels had another shot Friday at Orleans Arena to notch a signature win against one of the nation’s top teams, but they fell agonizingly short.

Nick Robinson of Putnam City West (Okla.) scored on a buzzer-beating layup to cap a frantic final minute, and Gorman dropped a 52-50 overtime heartbreaker in the Platinum Division semifinals of the Tarkanian Classic.

“That’s a tough way to lose the game,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “So many ups and downs in that last couple of minutes.”

Nick Blair had 14 points and six rebounds, while Stephen Zimmerman added 13 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for the Gaels, who host nationally ranked Corona (Calif.) Centennial in the third-place game at 3:40 p.m. Saturday. Putnam City West meets Redondo Union (Calif.) in the title game at 5 p.m. at Gorman.

The loss to unbeaten Putnam City West, ranked No. 29 in the latest USA Today Super 25 rankings, was the third this season for Gorman (8-3) against out-of-state competition.

The Gaels dropped their season opener to nationally ranked Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.) and suffered a two-point loss to lightly regarded Jesuit (Calif.) on Dec. 6, which cost the Gaels their spot in every major national poll.

“We had a couple downs this year,” Rice said. “We’ve been playing well the last week, and the last two nights before (Friday) we’ve played some of our best basketball this season. We’re trying to win every game.

“Obviously everyone talks about some of the guys we have, but it’s a group effort. We’ve got some new guards out there playing. They’re doing a good job and learning. We’ll come back from this. The true test is not (Friday), it’s how we respond (Saturday).”

Blair went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line to tie the game at 50-50 with 37.9 seconds left in overtime, and the Gaels forced a 10-second violation with 27.4 seconds remaining. A five-second call on Gorman with 14.5 seconds to go gave possession back to the Patriots, but Gorman’s Richie Thornton came up with a steal.

Thornton fed Blair, but his short jumper in the lane with five seconds on the clock didn’t fall, and Dedrian Parmer grabbed the rebound for West. The Patriots quickly got the ball ahead to Robinson, who was alone in the frontcourt, and his layup barely beat the final buzzer.

Gorman had more turnovers (15) than points (14) in the first half and trailed 18-14 at the break. Ugo Amadi had all 13 of his points in the second half, including a 3-pointer that gave the Gaels a 37-36 lead with 6:13 to play.

“We know he’s capable of that, and on nights like this we need him to do things like that,” Rice said. “He really got us back into it.”

Tyson Jolly (24 points) made a 3-pointer to put the Patriots on top 47-45 with 1:34 left in regulation before Zimmerman’s two free throws with 1:19 remaining tied the game.

Putnam City West held the ball for the last shot, but Zimmerman came up with a late steal and heaved it the length of the court to Blair, who missed a baseline jumper at the end of regulation.

Findlay Prep 79, National Prep (Ga.) 51 — At Orleans Arena, UNLV commit Justin Jackson finished with 27 points, and the Pilots used a strong defensive effort in the second half to beat the Rebels in the Prep Division.

Jackson hit five 3-pointers and added eight rebounds with UNLV assistant coaches Ryan Miller and Todd Simon looking on. Allonzo Trier had 17 points, and Horace Spencer added 15 points and 12 rebounds for Findlay Prep.

The Pilots held National Prep to 17 points in the second half to pull away after leading 38-34 at halftime. Derryck Thornton finished with eight assists for Findlay Prep.

Logan (Utah) 56, Las Vegas 55 — At Bishop Gorman, Jaxton Anderson scored 14 points, and the Grizzlies held off the Wildcats in a Premier Bracket semifinal.

Tyler Bey had 19 points for Las Vegas, which had a chance to win the game after Logan missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with nine seconds left, but couldn’t get a shot away.

Devon Colley had 11 points, and Patrick Savoy added 10 points for the Wildcats.

Brad Neuhaus had 10 points for Logan.

Constitution (Pa.) 59, Clark 52 — At Gorman, Kimar Williams led all scorers with 21 points as the Generals rallied past the Chargers.

Carter Olsen led the Chargers with 13 points, and Colby Jackson and Keyshaun Webb each added 11 points.

Ahmad Gilbert had 11 points, and Haneef Vaughn scored 10 points for the Generals.

John Muir (Calif.) 54, Faith Lutheran 46 — At Faith Lutheran, Jermey Hayes led three scorers in double figures with 16 points as the Mustangs topped the Crusaders.

Daniel Harris had 14 points, and Tre’J Floyd scored 10 for John Muir, which led 22-18 at halftime.

Blake Bell had 15 points for Faith Lutheran, and teammate Jaylen Fox added nine points.

Faith Lutheran 71, Liberty 42 — At Faith Lutheran, Bell led a balanced attack with 17 points as the Crusaders blew by the Patriots.

John Molchon added 16 points, and Zach Friel scored 14 for Faith Lutheran, which led 42-22 at halftime.

Jayven Hines-Stockton had 16 points for Liberty.

Cheyenne 56, Laurel Highlands (Pa.) 47 — At Faith Lutheran, Ulises Santillan scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Desert Shields by the Mustangs.

William Moore added nine points for Cheyenne, which led 30-23 at the half.

Laurel Highlands’ David Rusko had 16 points.

Desert Pines 89, North Torrance (Calif.) 80 — At Faith Lutheran, Coby Myles scored 24 of his game-high 40 points in the second half to lift the Jaguars over the Saxons.

Capri Uzan had 29 points, including 20 in the opening half, to help Desert Pines take a 50-40 halftime advantage. Uzan connected on five 3-pointers for the Jaguars, who also shot 22-for-33 from the free-throw line.

Aaron Ogata had 22 points, and Isaiah Holmes added 17 points for North Torrance.

Timpview (Utah) 76, Durango 75 — At Faith Lutheran, the Thunderbirds rallied from a 39-35 halftime deficit to defeat the Trailblazers.

Gavin Baxter had 23 points, and Britain Covey scored 13 for Timpview, which also got 10 points from A.J. Bollinger.

Durango’s Apollo Corley and Victor Ross each scored 21 points, and Demetrius Valdez added 19 points for the Trailblazers.

Quest Academy 76, San Bernardino (Calif.) 69 — At Faith Lutheran, Chris Hawkins hit a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation and was 5-for-6 from the free-throw line in overtime to power the Knights by the Cardinals.

Hawkins finished with 21 points, five assists and four steals for the Knights, who overcame an 11-point deficit with three minutes to go in regulation.

La’Quan Hawkins had 19 points, and David Vasquez added 15 points and seven rebounds for Quest Academy.

Deion Lee had 20 points, and Tymoryae Glover notched 16 points for San Bernardino.

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