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DIVISION I-A BOYS: Clark tops Desert Pines in rematch of state title game

It was almost a year to the day since Desert Pines’ boys basketball team used a furious rally to defeat Clark in the Division I-A state title game.

The Chargers made sure it didn’t happen again on Saturday.

Carter Olsen hit three 3-pointers and scored 15 points, and Clark defeated Desert Pines 54-48 in the Division I-A Southern Region title game at Sunrise Mountain. Both teams advance to next week’s state tournament.

“Both teams wanted it,” said Clark coach Chad Beeten, whose team lost 59-57 to Desert Pines in the I-A final on Feb. 23, 2013. “That’s a damn good team. We’re really pretty even. We just got the best of them tonight. We’re pretty confident that we’re going to see them again.”

Clark (23-5) led just 26-24 at the half, and the Jaguars played them neck-and-neck in the third quarter, but hot outside shooting helped the Chargers to the win.

Desert Pines (23-4) had taken a 39-38 lead on a runner by freshman Capri Uzan with 1:06 to go in the quarter. But Olsen took two dribbles around a screen at the top of the key to put Clark up 41-39, and the Chargers didn’t trail again.

Colby Jackson dribbled around a screen and hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to start the fourth quarter, and a transition bucket by Jordan Turner pushed the lead to 46-39 with 7:15 to play.

“We made shots,” Beeten said. “The biggest thing about that is we executed. We got open shots, and we stepped up and made them.”

Turner, an unheralded 6-foot-6-inch senior, did his best work inside in the fourth quarter, crashing the boards to help the Chargers hold the lead. Turner had six of his team-high nine rebounds in the third quarter.

“That’s what he does, and that’s what we have him in there for,” Beeten said. “He came to us last year in a minor role and just worked hard all summer. We like guys who go get the ball, and he goes and gets the ball.”

Jackson finished with 11 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals, and Diontae Jones had 12 points and six rebounds for Clark, which lost 63-59 to Desert Pines in last season’s region final.

Uzan led Desert Pines with 15 points, including 10 in the first quarter to help the Jaguars take an early lead. He hit his first four shots, but then went 2-for-10 from the field the rest of the way.

Desert Pines was just 3-for-14 (21.4 percent) from the field in the fourth quarter, and 17-for-56 (30.3 percent) for the game.

“I thought we were doing a great job defensively,” Beeten said. “They had one guy that was going off in the first half, and we figured if we can control him or if he didn’t have that same second half, we were going to be in pretty good shape.”

Timothy Jeffries added 10 points, and Nate Grimes had eight points and 14 rebounds for the Jaguars.

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