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I-A HONORS: Clark’s Jackson named Southern Region MVP

Clark boys basketball coach Chad Beeten knew this season’s squad would look a whole lot different from his 2014 state championship team that featured frontcourt standouts Diontae Jones and Sherron Wilson.

Jones (6 feet, 6 inches) and Wilson (6-5) were Division I recruits, the leading scorers and the blueprint behind the Chargers’ nightly game plan.

Beeten didn’t stress too much, though, because he knew the captain of his ship was set to return.

Colby Jackson, a 5-9, 165-pound point guard, proved to be the heart and soul of Beeten’s team as he led the Chargers to another state championship in his final season. For his efforts, he was selected the Most Valuable Player by Division I-A Southern Region coaches.

“We had to change the way we played a little bit,” Beeten said. “The foundation always is to play hard and defend, but we had to do things differently on offense and with rebounding. We had a little bit of struggle early. We were trying to find out ways to generate offense in what we had. And he certainly helped us find that.”

Jackson, who averaged 13.0 points, 7.0 assists and 2.0 steals as a senior, played in three state finals in his high school career, winning two. As a four-year starter, he compiled a 101-21 (.828 winning percentage) record with the Chargers.

“I’d be hard pressed to say anyone won more than 101 games in a four-year span at Clark,” Beeten said. “It’s been like having another coach on the floor with me. He’s been playing with me so long that we’re in sync in the way we think and approach things. It was certainly a luxury to have him play for me for four years.”

Beeten said Jackson, who also was named Sunset League MVP, gradually improved over time, and that he was always was capable of changing the game in a variety of ways.

“He could be a big-time scorer if he wanted to,” Beeten said. “But he realized the value of being a point guard. He impacts the game in all four facets of the state line: points, steals, assists and even rebounds. He gets a lot of rebounds for his size. But it’s more the intangibles. If anyone watched the state playoffs this season, it was all about controlling the game. We go fast when he goes fast. We go slow when he goes slow.”

Jackson remains undecided on his college future, but is receiving interest from several schools.

Teammate Carter Olsen led the All-Region first team, along with Desert Pines’ Trevon Abdullah, Capri Uzan and Coby Myles; Chaparral’s Marc Silas and Mojave’s Daryl Adams.

Silas was the Sunrise Region MVP. Faith Lutheran’s Brett Walter was the Sunset League Coach of the Year, and Virgin Valley’s Sean FitzSimons took home the Sunrise coaching honor.

Faith Lutheran’s Haley Vinson was selected as the Division I-A Southern Region girls MVP after averaging 17.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Vinson also took the Sunset League MVP honor.

Spring Valley’s Kayla Harris and Essence Booker led the All-Region first team. They were joined by Boulder City’s Megan Morton, Chaparral’s Taij Criss-Felton, Cheyenne’s Bria Buchanan, Clark’s Bobbi Floyd and Desert Pines’ See’Airrah Evans-Collins.

Morton and Criss-Felton were co-MVPs of the Sunrise League.

Faith Lutheran’s Jennifer Karner took home Region and Sunset League Coach of the Year honors. The Crusaders finished 23-7 and made it to the state final. Moapa Valley’s Stuart Humes and Boulder City’s Paul Dosch shared the Sunrise coaching honor.

Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at aferguson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson.

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