The first semifinal of the Tarkanian Classic was billed as a battle between three of the nation’s top junior big men.
It turned out to be no contest.
Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.) center Ivan Rabb poured in 24 points and outscored Bishop Gorman’s twin towers Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter by himself in the Dragons’ 68-54 victory Friday night at Orleans Arena.
O’Dowd, the top-ranked team in the Bay Area, advances to the championship game of the Platinum Division against defending tournament champion Mater Dei (Calif.) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Bishop Gorman.
Jeter finished with 13 points for the Gaels (5-3), while the 7-foot Zimmerman, who is ranked by numerous scouting websites as the No. 2 player in his class, struggled to get touches inside and totaled six points.
Noah Robotham scored 15 to lead the Gaels, who led 19-11 after the first quarter.
“They beat us up. They took us out in those last three quarters,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “They just took it at us. They were tougher than us, they played harder than us tonight, and they beat us down. It’s a good win for them.”
The 6-foot-10-inch Rabb, a consensus top-10 player in the class of 2015, had 10 points in the third quarter as O’Dowd started to pull away after leading 30-26 at halftime.
Gorman got as close as 50-42 early in the fourth quarter, but the Dragons answered with a 14-2 run to regain control. Rabb powered through Zimmerman inside to make it 61-44 with 3:05 remaining, and O’Dowd led by as many as 19 points late.
“Ivan played really well,” Rice said. “They had a good game plan. They got it inside and kicked the ball back out and made (five) 3s in the first half. That was all off of inside-out play, and that’s what we try to do. And that’s what we need to do a better job of.”
Juwan Anderson chipped in with 16 points for O’Dowd. Backcourt mate Paris Austin added 15 points, including seven in the second quarter when the Dragons outscored Gorman 19-7.
“We just need to play harder at all times,” Rice said. “It’s funny because the first two games, we got down in the first half and then battled back. This game, we got up in the first half and battled back. So we’re just not a consistent team right now.
“We can be really good and play really well at times. We’re just not consistent. We’ve just got to get better. We’ve got to get tougher, we’ve got to grow up and learn from this obviously.”
Mater Dei (Calif.) 84, Redondo Union (Calif.) 38 — At Orleans Arena, Stanley Johnson scored 28 points on 12-for-17 shooting and added seven rebounds and five assists as the Monarchs advanced to the title game by routing the Seahawks.
La’vette Parker made six of Mater Dei’s 11 3-pointers and finished with 22 points. Rex Plfueger added 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and M.J. Cage finished with 11 points and eight boards for the Monarchs, who jumped out to a 19-point lead after the first quarter and led 49-19 at halftime.
Cameron High led Redondo Union with 11 points. The Seahawks, the defending California Division II state champion, shot 25 percent (15 of 60) from the field, including 2-for-19 from 3-point range.
Bishop Gorman 63, Valor Christian (Colo.) 53 — At Gorman, Zimmerman scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half as the Gaels rallied to top the Eagles to move into Platinum semifinals.
Jeter and Nick Blair each added 12 points for Gorman. Jeter had 10 points in the first half, and the game was tied at 30 at the break.
Obim Okeke scored 10 for Gorman.
Chase Foster scored 22 points to lead Valor. Foster had 17 points in the first half. Garrett Baggett added 15 points, all on 3-pointers, for the Eagles.
Central Catholic (Ore.) 68, Clark 58 — At Durango, the Chargers blew an 18-point second-half lead and lost in overtime for the second time on the day.
Xavier Hallinan’s turnaround jumper with one second left tied the game at 55 and forced overtime.
Clark was dismal in overtime, going 1-for-8 from the field and 1-for-6 from the foul line. The Chargers also turned the ball over three times.
Cole Stringer hit four second-half 3-pointers to lead the comeback, and finished with 15 points to lead the Rams.
Ryan Nall added 14 points and six rebounds, and Patrick Myers had 11 points and nine boards for Central Catholic.
Diontae Jones had 13 points and six rebounds to lead Clark. Carter Olsen scored 13 points for the Chargers.
Pinnacle (Ariz.) 67, Clark 63 — At Gorman, the Chargers were just 1-for-8 from the field in overtime as they fell to the Pioneers.
Clark took a 58-57 lead on a 15-foot baseline jumper by Sherron Wilson with 13 seconds left in regulation.
But the Chargers were whistled for a foul with less than a second to play, and Pinncale’s Ty Griffin hit 1 of 2 free throws to tie the game and force overtime.
Dorian Pickens had 22 points and six rebounds to lead Pinnacle, which got 18 points and six rebounds from Trey Ingram.
Clark never led in overtime, but Olsen’s 3-pointer with 26 seconds left pulled the Chargers within two at 65-63. After Pickens missed two free throws, Clark had a chance to tie or take the lead, but Olsen missed a 3-pointer and Griffin rebounded and was fouled.
He hit two free throws with four seconds to play for the final margin.
Wilson led Clark with 21 points and five rebounds. Olsen added 12 points and six rebounds, Colby Jackson had 11 points and five assists, and Jones had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Chargers.
Sheldon (Calif.) 64, Durango 62 — At Durango, Devin Greene and Ian Miller each scored 15 points as the Huskies edged the Trailblazers.
Freshman Elishja Duplechan hit two free throws with 10.6 seconds to go to give Sheldon the lead.
Durango had a chance to tie when Alex Tarkanian was fouled with 0.4 seconds left. But he missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Matt Manning controlled the rebound.
Darryl Gaynor led Durango with 21 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. Alex Arias added 12 points and seven rebounds, and Drew Hammond scored 11 for the Trailblazers.
Vee Price had 10 rebounds and five assists for Durango.
Bountiful (Utah) 92, Durango 58 — At Gorman, Zac Seljaas had 25 points to lead the Braves past the Trailblazers.
Sam Merrill added 20 points for Bountiful, which led 55-34 at the half.
Gaynor scored 23 points to pace Durango. Hammond scored 13 for the Trailblazers.
Legacy coach Jack Tarango would’ve preferred a less tense ending Friday, but he admits that his team is still learning how to close out games.
The Longhorns, who held a 17-point advantage with just more than 12 minutes to play, held on to beat Coronado 82-73 in the Gold Division.
“We’re a young ballclub,” Tarango said. “Learning how to win is important. We’ve had a couple of tough games where we didn’t close out games. Yesterday we lost a close game to ThunderRidge where we led about 31 minutes of the game.”
Tarango nearly saw a repeat of Thursday’s game when Coronado cut Legacy’s lead to seven points with 3:55 to play. The momentum clearly shifted, but it was just a little too late.
“The middle part of the second half, we sort of laid off a little bit,” Tarango said. “For the most part, our energy has been a lot better and we were playing a lot more confident. Obviously you want to play 32 minutes, so that five minutes of not doing what we really needed to do hurt a little bit. It’s a learning experience for them.”
The Longhorns converted 10 of 12 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
“I’m happy for my kids,” Tarango said. “We’re probably the least-experienced team in Vegas (and) we’re learning how to win. We’re playing some good competition and kind of getting beat up a little bit. Record-wise we don’t look good, but we’re getting better as a team.”
Anthony Madden got the Longhorns’ offense going by scoring 11 of his 17 points in the first half to give Legacy a 31-24 halftime lead.
Jacob Rainey led the team with 18 points, and Deshaun Hilliard added 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Shakir Arrey had 16 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals for Legacy, which earned high praise from his coach.
“He’s probably the biggest spark plug I’ve ever had in 22 years of coaching,” Tarango said. “He’s a fiery competitor, a great player for us.”
Eddie Austin led all scorers with 20 points for Coronado. Three other players scored in double figures for the Cougars with Austin Morgan adding 18 points, and Travis Boman and Marcus Sobaszek each scoring 10.
Ambridge (Pa.) 50, Cheyenne 47 — At Gorman, Stephon McGinnis scored 23 points as the Bridgers beat the Desert Shields.
McGinnis hit a 3-pointer with 1:39 to go to put Ambridge up 47-45.
Cheyenne had just taken the lead on a steal and basket by Jarrell Bell.
Bell finished with 14 points to lead the Desert Shields, and teammate Jalen McEaddy scored 12.
Timpview (Utah) 75, Cheyenne 46 — At Faith Lutheran, Riley Corbin hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points as the Thunderbirds easily handled the Desert Shields.
Cheyenne surrendered 10 3-pointers to the hot-shooting Thunderbirds, who began the game on an 11-0 run.
Timpview held a 30-19 halftime lead and then blew the game open in the second. Gabe Reid had 11 points and five rebounds, and Gavin Baxter scored 10.
Javon Peterson scored 17 points to lead the Desert Shields, who also got 13 points from Bell.
Lynwood (Calif.) 65, Chaparral 36 — At Faith Lutheran, Dashawn Hill scored 14 points and Kevin Miller added 10 points to lift the Knights over the Cowboys.
Tyree McNeal was the lone Chaparral player in double figures with 15 points. He scored 10 points in the second half for the Cowboys, who trailed 27-11 at the break.
Chaparral was just 11-for-25 from the free-throw line.
San Bernardino (Calif.) 63, Faith Lutheran 61 — At Faith Lutheran, Jaywone Draper’s stick-back with 1.2 seconds gave the Cardinals a victory over the host Crusaders.
L.J. Harris, who had 27 points, held the ball at the top of the key with four seconds remaining in a 61-61 game. Harris crossed over a defender and put up a floater that was tipped in by Draper.
Faith Lutheran threw its inbound pass to half court, but Clayton Holthaus’ desperation heave fell short.
Matt Blair finished with 16 points for the Crusaders, who also got 11 points apiece from Mitch Fulfer and Holthaus.