On a night when his teammates were struggling to score, Kentrell Washington refused to let Clark’s boys basketball team lose.
Washington had 23 points and 13 rebounds on Wednesday to help the Chargers to a 66-61 win over host Las Vegas in the Platinum Division semifinals of the Las Vegas Prep Championship.
“He carried us tonight and kind of willed us to a win,” Clark coach Chad Beeten said.
Clark plays Serra (Calif.) in the Platinum championship game at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Serra advanced with a 72-57 victory over Valley in the other semifinal.
Washington, a Western transfer, is in his first week back with the team after nursing a badly sprained ankle early in the season.
Even with the team struggling on offense and with two starters in foul trouble, the Chargers led 31-23 at halftime.
But the Wildcats rallied, taking the lead on a 3-pointer by Olynsso Pratt that made it 41-40 with 10:19 to play.
Las Vegas pushed the lead to as much as seven at 48-41, but Washington keyed the comeback.
Washington rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Bryan McGriff, and his stick-back cut Clark’s deficit to 48-47. Washington then came up with a steal and layup to put the Chargers up 49-48 with 6:08 to play, and they didn’t trail again.
“We needed that from him today,” Beeten said. “If he doesn’t step up and do that, we don’t win that game. It’s been a long time since he’s been with us. We were like, ‘Wow, now we know how good he can make us.’ ”
Washington’s performance was especially important with the team’s two leading scorers struggling.
McGriff, the team’s go-to player, picked up his second foul with 13:38 to go in the first half and sat on the bench for the rest of the half.
He finished with seven points.
“He just couldn’t get it going tonight for whatever reason,” Beeten said.
Second-leading scorer Sir Washington avoided foul trouble but wasn’t able to get shots to fall. He finished with eight points on 3-for-12 shooting and was just 2-for-6 from the foul line.
Diontae Jones had a big second half for the Chargers after sitting much of the first half with two fouls.
He scored 10 of his 12 points after halftime and also grabbed nine rebounds.
Hasaan Henderson had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead Las Vegas. Phil Dunigan added 12 points, and Aziz Leeks had 11 rebounds for the Wildcats.
Serra (Calif.) 72, Valley 55 — Daddy Ugbede had 21 points, and Kajon Mack scored 20 as the Cavaliers topped the Vikings to move into the title game.
Serra led by 12 at the half, but Valley rallied to cut the lead to 50-47 on a Caleb Carter free throw with 10:40 to play.
The Cavaliers answered with a 13-2 run capped by a steal and slam by Dakarai Tucker to put the game away.
Emmanual Ndumanya added 10 points, 14 rebounds and two blocked shots for Serra.
Ryan Johnson led Valley with 16 points. Carter added 13 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots, and Keanu Peters scored 11 for the Vikings, who were just 15-for-56 from the field.
Clark 60, Woodbridge (Calif.) 36 — McGriff scored 14 points to help the Chargers to an easy win over the Warriors.
Sir Washington added 10 points for Clark, which led 31-16 at the half.
Valley 82, Basic 49 — Peters had 16 points, and Johnson scored 15 as the Vikings routed the Wolves.
Cameron Burton added 13 points, and Anthony Chapple scored 10 for Valley.
Aaron Heideman led Basic with 19 points. Andrew Lopez added 12 points for the Wolves.
Jaquon Coleman had 18 points and was 10-for-11 from the free-throw line to lead Cheyenne to a 68-59 win over Canyon Springs in the Gold Division semifinals.
The Desert Shields play Eldorado in the title game at noon Thursday.
Coleman also had four steals for Cheyenne, which forced 22 turnovers.
Khalid Banks added 14 points, and Jamal Peterson had 11 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Nick Scott led Canyon Springs with 15 points and 19 rebounds.
Eldorado 72, Palos Verdes (Calif.) 55 — D.J. Billingsley had 24 points as the Sundevils topped the Sea Kings to move into the Gold title game.
Da’Quon Thrower added 18 points for Eldorado, which pulled away from a 38-32 advantage.
Nick Huebner led Palos Verdes with 22 points.
Canyon Springs 64, Liberty 57 — Shaquille Carr had 14 points to help the Pioneers top the Patriots.
Gerad Davis added 12 points, and Scott scored 10 for Canyon Springs, which trailed 32-27 at the half.
La Quan Hawkins led Liberty with 15 points, and teammate Tyler Newman scored 12.
Palos Verdes (Calif.) 56, Western 36 — Robby Kolanz had 10 points to lead the Sea Kings past the Warriors.
Travis Dunn paced Western with eight points.
Nino Flores had 19 points and six steals to lead Sierra Vista to a 64-31 win over Cabrillo (Calif.) in the Silver Division semifinals.
The Mountain Lions face Westlake (Calif.) in the title game at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Las Vegas High.
Adrian Mercado had 14 points and three steals to help Sierra Vista, which forced 14 first-half turnovers to take a 47-16 halftime lead.
Sierra Vista 64, Santa Fe (Calif.) 60 — Wesley Rouse hit three free throws in the final 20 seconds to help the Mountain Lions secure a victory over the Chiefs in their early game.
Rouse had 13 points for Sierra Vista, and Mercado scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the second half.
Westlake (Calif.) 70, Chaparral 46 — Tyree McNeal scored 18 points for the Cowboys, who struggled in the second half on the way to a loss against the Warriors.
Jared Celestine added 12 points for Chaparral, which trailed 36-30 at halftime.
Just seven minutes into the first half Wednesday, Bonanza assistant basketball coach Ennis Wesley already had seen enough.
Wesley, filling in for head coach George Tarkanian, pulled his entire starting lineup and sent a rag-tag platoon of reserves onto the court.
The new energy helped rally the Bengals from a nine-point, first-half deficit to down Del Sol, 72-62 in the Bronze Bracket semifinal at Valley. The win lifted them into Thursday’s 9 a.m. championship, where they will play Spring Creek.
Carter Olsen scored eight of his team-high 13 points in the second half to lead Bonanza.
“We sat the starters for nine minutes,” Wesley said. “They’re supposed to go out and fulfill their responsibilities, and they weren’t doing that.”
Chris Marshall had 11 points and four steals in the first half to fuel Del Sol’s early surge. Kevin Kaitschuck rode some of that momentum to put the Dragons ahead 20-11 with a rebound and layup at the 7:11 mark.
But Olsen’s long 3-pointer at the end of the half capped an 8-0 run to pull the Bengals within one at 33-32 at halftime.
“I gave my starters two minutes in the second half to show what they had,” Wesley said. “And they did.”
The score stayed close throughout the second half until Rio Chandler hit a layup and a free throw to give Bonanza a 59-56 lead. That started a 16-6 run, and the Dragons were unable to respond.
“We finally woke up and got more aggressive on defense,” Wesley said. “That created some turnovers.”
Ashton Howard had 11 points and six rebounds to help the Bengals. Teammates Chandler and John King each finished with 11 points.
Marshall finished with 18 points and five steals to lead Del Sol.
Del Sol 72, Santee (Calif.) 64 — Nathan Kirschbaum scored 21 points to help the Dragons rally past the Falcons in their early game.
Marshall scored 18 points for Del Sol, which outscored Santee 42-28 in the second half.