Las Vegas High’s boys basketball team emerged from the Tarkanian Classic confident it can compete with high-level opponents.
The next step for the Wildcats is to turn the close losses into victories.
Las Vegas battled back from as many as 16 points down in the second half Tuesday but couldn’t find an answer for Trevin Knell and lost 69-58 to Woods Cross (Utah) in the third-place game of the Eastbay Division at Bishop Gorman.
“The level of competition was better than some of the teams we’ve seen so far, and our kids rose to the occasion,” Las Vegas coach Jason Wilson said. “We were in every single game against very good basketball teams, so that was good. We’ve got to figure out a way to get over the hump and win those games, but I was proud of our effort and execution for the most part. The kids played hard, and I think they got better this week.”
Donovan Joyner had 14 of his 18 points in the second half and added seven rebounds and two assists to lead Las Vegas (6-5), which dropped its final two games of the tournament to finish fourth.
Marquise Raybon finished with 13 points and five rebounds, and Deondre Northey scored 10 for Las Vegas.
Woods Cross led 41-25 less than two minutes into the second half before Joyner and Raybon brought back Las Vegas. Raybon’s 16-foot jumper from the wing cut Woods Cross’ lead to 52-49 with 5:40 remaining, but Knell made two consecutive 3-pointers, and Jackson Jowers finished off a fast break to put Woods Cross on top 60-51 with 3:18 left to play.
“I was really proud how our kids responded in the second half,” Wilson said. “They could have folded, but they continued to battle. And then we missed some shots and they got some key offensive rebounds.”
Mory Souhamoro made a deep 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 65-58, but Las Vegas couldn’t get any closer as Woods Cross made four straight free throws in the final 43 seconds.
Knell, a 6-foot-5-inch guard who has committed to Cal, finished with 37 points and made six 3-pointers for Woods Cross.
“That dude was very, very good,” Wilson said. “We’re not going to see anybody that good the rest of the year, and even with what he did, I thought our kids played as good of defense as we could have played on him. He just made shots, and that’s what good players do.”
Raybon had a steal and dunk just before the halftime buzzer as Las Vegas trailed 35-23. Joyner led his team’s second-half comeback, scoring 11 straight Las Vegas points during one stretch.
“I think the kids, seeing who we played against and the level of competition, and the fact we were in every single game, I think it gives the kids some confidence we can play with most of the teams in town, if not all of them,” Wilson said. “The kids kind of see it that way now. When we play well, we can play with everybody.”
Bishop Gorman 66, Roosevelt (Calif.) 64 — At Gorman, Noah Taitz’s drive and basket just before the final buzzer lifted the Gaels past the Mustangs in the third-place game.
Chuck O’Bannon had 29 points and five rebounds to lead Gorman, which nearly let a 13-point lead slip away in the second half.
After Roosevelt’s Matt Mitchell made two free throws to tie the score at 64 with 43 seconds remaining, the Gaels held for the last shot.
The ball ended up in Taitz’s hands with seven seconds left, and the freshman dropped his defender with a behind-the-back dribble near the free-throw line before he banked in the winner over Roosevelt’s 6-foot-4-inch David Agba.
Taitz finished with eight points, and teammate Christian Popoola added eight points and three assists for the Gaels.
Taitz converted a four-point play to give Gorman a 51-38 lead with 8:38 remaining, but the Mustangs responded with a 15-4 run to get back in the game.
O’Bannon hit two 3-pointers late, the second of which put Gorman on top 64-60 with 1:33 left.
Mitchell, a 6-6 forward who signed with Cal State Fullerton, led Roosevelt with 27 points and six rebounds.
Cal-bound guard Jemarl Baker had 14 points but was held to 5-for-16 shooting by the Gaels, and Agba added 12 points and six boards for the Mustangs.
Clark 70, Denver East 67 — At Gorman, James Bridges finished with a game-high 25 points, and the Chargers used a strong effort from the free-throw line to down the Angels in the consolation bracket.
Antwon Jackson’s three-point play gave Clark a 60-58 lead with 3:29 left. The Chargers then went 8-for-8 from the foul line in the final 1:31 after Denver East tied the score at 62.
Bridges’ free throws put Clark ahead 64-62, and Jackson went 2-for-2 with 35 seconds left to give the Chargers a four-point lead.
Clark made 20 of its 22 free-throw attempts overall.
Ian Alexander added 11 points for the Chargers.
Scotty Wiese led the Angels with 18 points, and teammate Joseph Abiakam scored 17, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin.
Assane Diouf, a 7-1 sophomore center originally from Senegal, added 12 points for Denver East.
Desert Pines 83, Cathedral Catholic (Calif.) 67 — At Faith Lutheran, Capri Uzan scored 28 of his game-high 38 points in the second half to lead the Jaguars past the Dons.
Uzan made five of his six 3-pointers in the second half. He made 6 of 10 3-pointers, and added six rebounds, six assists and six steals.
Trevon Abdullah-Booker added 21 points, and Jalen Graves scored 10 for Desert Pines, which led 34-28 at halftime.
Brandon McCoy, a 7-footer, had 24 points for Cathedral Catholic. Zachary Green added 14 points, and Christian Moore scored 10 for the Dons.
Timpview (Utah) 70, Coronado 59 — At Faith Lutheran, Will Weems scored 12 points in the Cougars’ loss to the hot-shooting Thunderbirds.
Trey Hurlburt and Freddy Reeves each added nine points for Coronado, which trailed 42-27 at halftime.
Adam Santiago hit four 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 27 points to lead Timpview. Nate Hansen added 14 points, and Jordan Sagers scored 10 for the Thunderbirds, who made nine 3s in the game.
Faith Lutheran 74, John Muir (Calif.) 72 — At Faith Lutheran, Jaylen Fox scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and finished 10-for-10 from the free-throw line to help the Crusaders rally past the Mustangs.
Fox made all six of his free throws in the second half for Faith Lutheran, which trailed 33-32 at halftime.
Nic Maccioni scored a game-high 27 points, and Elijah Kothe added eight points for the Crusaders.
Tiyon Martin had 20 points to lead John Muir. Hunter Woods had 16 points, and teammates Javonte James and Eric Hollins-Hamilton each scored 10 for the Mustangs.
Palo Verde 60, C.I. Gibson (Bahamas) 58 — At Faith Lutheran, Crew Peterson led a balanced attack with 12 points as the Panthers held on to defeat the Rattlers.
Mitchell Olsen and Brian Sullivan each had 10 points, and Dylan Yoro scored nine for Palo Verde, which led 37-18 at halftime.
Cole Hendershot added eight points for the Panthers.
Asher Scavella had 23 points, and Terrance Stoar scored 12 for C.I. Gibson.
Pasadena (Calif.) 75, Sierra Vista 71 — At Faith Lutheran, Bryce Hamilton scored a game-high 30 points and hit all six of his free throws in the last 33 seconds to lift the Bulldogs over the Mountain Lions.
Darius Brown, who had 10 points, made the go-ahead layup with a minute remaining to spark an 8-4 run to close the game.
Kalonji West added 17 points, and Darius Mason scored 13 for Pasadena.
Maka Ellis hit seven 3-pointers and led Sierra Vista with 29 points. Jalen McFadden had 20 points, and Chris McCoy scored 10 for the Mountain Lions.
Bountiful (Utah) 59, Legacy 35 — At Faith Lutheran, D’Eric Marlowe scored 11 points in the Longhorns’ loss to the Braves.
Chris White added eight points for Legacy, which fell behind 28-16 at halftime.
Brig Williard had 19 points, and Cooper Ohlson scored 13 for Bountiful.
Green Valley 71, Desert Oasis 53 — At Desert Oasis, the Gators outscored the host Diamondbacks by 17 in the second half to pull away for the win.
Cameron Bower led Green Valley with 25 points. Matthew Tuttle had 19 points, and Hunter Hitchcock scored 10 for the Gators.
Jacob Heese led Desert Oasis with 19, and teammate Nate Van scored 12.
Liberty 59, HB Academy (New Zealand) 44 — At Desert Oasis, the Patriots opened a 30-17 lead at halftime, and coasted to the double-digit win.
Cameron Burist scored 15 and Dyllan Robinson 13 to lead Liberty.
Shadow Ridge 74, Rex Putnam (Oregon) 62 — At Desert Oasis, four player scored in double digits as the Mustangs down the Kingsmen.
James Fuller led Shadow Ridge with 20 points. Obi Okafor had 15 points, Kevin Branch added 11 points, and Isaiah Williams scored 10 for the Mustangs.
Campbell County (Wyo.) 80, Spring Valley 76 — At Desert Oasis, after falling behind by 14 at the half, the Grizzlies’ second-half comeback fell short. Ryan Frazier had 17 pointsto lead Spring Valley. Demetrius McWhorter had 13 points, and Paul Banks scored 11 for the Grizzlies.
Cheyenne 51, Morningside (California) 40 — At Desert Oasis, the Desert Shields used a 23-5 run to erase a six-point, second-half deficit to win the consolation championship.
Kavon Williams and Dewayne Alexander each scored 12 to lead Cheyenne, and teammate D’Andre Houston scored 10.
After seeing their five-point halftime lead evaporate, the Desert Shields ended up shooting 9 of 16 in the second half to pull away from Morningside. Cheyenne held the Monarchs scoreless for nearly nine minutes in the second half, and Alexander scored eight of his points during the run.
The Desert Shields were the aggressor in the first half, putting up 34 field goal attempts, but hitting just seven. Morningside hit 8 of 20 from the field in the first half and erased a 16-3 deficit with an 18-10 run to cut Cheyenne’s lead to 26-21 at halftime.
Mojave 74, Western 72 — At Desert Oasis, the Rattlers had five players score in double digits, led by Tyrique Watson’s 18, to edge the Warriors.
Tyrice Pender scored 15, Chris Jackson and John Harper each had 12 point, and Isaiah Harper scored 11 for Mojave.
Kwan Carter had 22 points for Western. Jesus Rojo scored 18 and Anthony Dodson 17 for the Warriors.
Price (Calif.) 60, Agassi Prep 40 — At Desert Oasis, Najeeb Muhammad score 19 points in the Stars’ loss to the Knights.
Agassi Prep trailed 22-19 at the half.
Chaparral (Colo.) 79, Coral Academy 62 — At Desert Oasis, Bryce Matthews had 25 points as the Wolverines topped the Falcons.
Ryan Djino had 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead Coral Academy.
Isaiah Spears added 15 points, and Isaac Spears scored scored 12 for the Falcons.