Cheyenne’s boys basketball team lived on offensive rebounds in the first half on Friday.
The Desert Shields didn’t get any offensive boards in the third quarter, but that was mostly because there weren’t many to be had.
Cheyenne was 9-for-11 from the field in the third quarter to take control en route to a 53-47 win over Elko in the Class 3A state semifinals at Cox Pavilion.
“We started pressing the issue a little bit more as far as attacking the basket,” Cheyenne coach Teral Fair said. “That’s when those kind of opportunities kind of open up for us.”
Cheyenne (19-6) plays Desert Pines (19-11) in the state final at 12:50 p.m. Saturday at Cox Pavilion.
Kavon Williams scored with 1:33 to go in the third quarter to put the Desert Shields up 35-33, and they wouldn’t trail again.
Williams scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. He also finished with 10 rebounds and four assists.
“I love him,” Fair said. “He is a go hard, no nonsense, very aggressive kind of basketball player. Even though he may make some mistakes from time to time, he doesn’t get down on himself. He’s ready to step up to the challenge and make up for the wrong he’s committed. His aggressiveness was huge for us.”
Cheyenne led by as many as 13 points, but turned the ball over 10 times in the fourth quarter. Elko (25-3) cut the lead to 49-47 on a drive by Alex Klekas with 35 seconds to play. But Williams hit a pair of free throws with 20.5 seconds to play to help seal it.
“That hasn’t necessarily been a strength for us this season in closing teams out in tight situations,” Fair said. “That’s just something that we have to learn how to work through. But at the end, we have kids that are gamers and make plays when plays need to be made, and those two free throws that Kavon Williams made were huge to close it out.”
Freshman Ke’Shawn Hall added 14 points, and was 6-for-6 from the field in the second half for Cheyenne. But more important was the job he did defensively on Elko’s Eric Klekas.
Klekas scored 17 points and was 5-for-11 on 3-pointers, but Hall hounded him all over the court, and Klekas was clearly out of gas at the end of the game. Klekas finished 6-for-18 from the field.
“Ke’Shawn’s biggest contribution tonight was defending Eric Klekas,” Fair said. “The offensive stuff is just gravy. I thought he was unbelievable defensively today.”
Cheyenne outrebounded Elko 36-25, and was especially impressive on the offensive glass in the first half with 12 second-chance points.
“Bill Federson was huge for us, Dewayne Alexander was huge for us on the offensive glass,” Fair said. “That’s been their role for us all season long. We’ve talked always about getting easy opportunities at the basket, be that in transition, free-throw line, or offensive rebounding.”
Federson had eight points and eight rebounds, and Alxander had seven rebounds and three steals.
Kyrin Allen added 14 points and six rebounds for the Indians.
Desert Pines 49, Fernley 35 — Trevon Abdullah-Booker had 17 points and nine rebounds as the Jaguars defeated the Vaqueros in the other semifinal.
Abdullah-Booker had 11 points in the fourth quarter to help Desert Pines put the game away.
“We’re lucky to get to play tomorrow, especially shooting the ball the way we did,” Desert Pines coach Mike Uzan said.
Both teams got off to an atrocious start shooting, as the teams combined to make just 4 of 35 to start the game.
Fernley finished 12-for-52 (23.1 percent) from the field. Desert Pines was 17-for-54 (31.5 percent).
“Something we relied on all year long and it’s no secret is our defense,” Uzan said. “We’ll defend. But it’s frustrating to defend and not get buckets to fall. We managed to pull it out. We’re a scrappy team. Tough kids.”
Capri Uzan had nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Jaguars, but was just 1-for-16 from the field, and 0-for-8 on 3-pointers.
Jordan Simon added 13 rebounds for Desert Pines
Cheyenne defeated the Jaguars twice during the regular season, but Desert Pines rolled to a 63-35 win in the Southern Region final.
“It’s going to be a good one,” Mike Uzan said. “Those guys are good and they compete and they’re athletic just like us.”
Zach Burns had 12 points and seven rebounds for Fernley (20-9).