RENO — Clark coach Chad Beeten called a timeout early in the second half Friday, looking for a spark.
Carter Olsen provided it.
Olsen came up with some clutch 3-point shooting to help Clark to a 55-42 win over Lowry in a Division I-A boys state basketball semifinal at Lawlor Events Center.
Olsen scored nine of his 13 points in the third quarter, all coming after Lowry had cut Clark’s lead to four points.
“It gave us a little comfort zone so we could relax on the offensive end,” Beeten said of Olsen’s shots. “That gave us a nice comfortable stretch. They’re extremely confident on the defensive end, so I knew if we got that lead, that little pad, we’d be all right.”
Clark (24-5) plays Elko (25-3) in the final at 12:45 p.m. today. Elko defeated Desert Pines 63-47.
After Lowry had cut the lead to 22-18, Ty’Rek Wells scored on a drive, and Olsen hit a 3-pointer in transition to push the lead to nine.
“It’s not the start we wanted after the half,” Beeten said. “We had a couple turnovers and missed free throws. But we guard so well, and we’ve been playing so well defensively in the second half of the season that it was just a matter of time before we got some flow offensively and then we got out in transition.”
Olsen was later fouled shooting a 3-pointer, and he hit all three free throws to make the score 34-21 with 2:58 left in the third quarter. He added a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:35 left in the quarter.
Point guard Colby Jackson led Clark with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. He pushed the pace in the first half and was able to beat his defender and draw contact.
Beeten said the rest of the team did a better job running the floor in the second half.
“I didn’t think our wings ran very well (in the first half),” Beeten said. “I thought our point guard was beating everybody down the floor. We made that adjustment at halftime, got our wings out, and we were able to get some buckets in transition.”
Clark’s leading scorer, Diontae Jones, had 10 points and 10 rebounds. But Jones was just 1-for-6 from the field.
“We’ve had seven leading scorers throughout the season,” Beeten said. “So I wasn’t really concerned with him scoring. And the guys in the locker room, they don’t care about who scores. They just want to win the game.
“If he only gets one field goal and we win the game, we’re in great shape.”
Josh Watterson scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half for Lowry (25-4). He added eight rebounds.
The Chargers advanced to the Division I-A title game for the second consecutive season but are looking for their first state title since 1993. Clark lost 59-57 to Desert Pines last season.
“We’re glad to be back, but we won’t be satisfied until we finish tomorrow,” Beeten said. “That’s probably a pretty canned answer, but at the end of the day, the bottom line is we’ve got to win that game tomorrow.”
■ Elko 63, Desert Pines 47 — The Indians used a 19-0 run in the first half to oust the Jaguars and prevent a rematch of last year’s title game.
Nathan Klekas had 21 points, eight rebounds and two steals to lead Elko, which led 8-7 late in the first quarter before the 19-0 run.
Tim Jeffries ended the run with a tip-in with 3:31 left in the first half, but the Jaguars (23-6) were just 6-for-26 (23.1 percent) from the field before halftime and trailed 29-16 at the break.
Brandon Jenkins added 18 points and was 4-for-7 on 3-pointers in the first half to help Elko build the lead.
“I thought their perimeter shooting was pretty good,” Desert Pines coach Mike Uzan said. “They shot the ball well from the outside, especially in the first half.”
Brian Pearson, a 6-foot-9-inch senior, scored just five points for Elko but had a huge impact on the game. He had nine rebounds, 11 blocked shots and three assists. He provided a much-needed outlet against the press and proved to be a deft passer from the high post.
“The big kid was a factor,” Uzan said. “He can pass the ball well; he did his job. He hit a 3, too. He did everything he was supposed to do. Unfortunately, we just weren’t physical enough.”
Desert Pines got as close as six on a steal and bucket by Malik Davis with 56 seconds left in the third quarter. But Klekas hit a 3-pointer in transition to reclaim the momentum for Elko.
Junior Nate Grimes had 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots to lead Desert Pines, which got 10 points from freshman Capri Uzan and nine rebounds from junior Dominic Deloney.
Desert Pines played two freshmen and a sophomore in its 10-man rotation.
“We’re young, and hopefully we come back next year and we battle and this will be a lesson for us,” Mike Uzan said. “I feel bad for the four seniors we have now.”
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4587. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters.