Eighth and last in a series: The top five high school state boys basketball championship games from the 2000s, as selected by the Review-Journal staff.
No. 5: Trinity 61, Lake Mead 59
2007, Class 1A, Orleans Arena
Senior guard Jonathan Atkins poured in a Class 1A tournament record 46 points as the Thunder won their first state crown.
“You know, sometimes you just have those games, man,” Atkins said.
Atkins scored 17 of the Thunder’s first 18 points and hit two 3-pointers in the final 25 seconds of the third quarter to give Trinity a 48-47 lead.
“He took the whole team on his shoulders, and we rode him the whole game,” Trinity coach Greg Harton said.
After Trinity’s Jason Stewart missed two free throws with 3.2 seconds to play, Lake Mead had a chance to win, but a long 3-pointer was ruled to have come after the buzzer.
No. 4: Clark 43, Desert Pines 39
2016, Class 3A, UNR
A week after losing to the Jaguars in the Class 3A Southern Region final, Clark played magnificent defense en route to its third straight state title.
The Chargers held Desert Pines to 17 points through three quarters and didn’t allow the Jaguars’ leading scorer, Capri Uzan (16.3 points per game), to score until the final 3:03.
“I thought we had a really good defensive game plan,” Clark coach Chad Beeten said. “But, no, you don’t ever think it’s going to be that effective.”
Desert Pines rallied to within 37-33 with 24.8 seconds left, but Clark’s Darius Jackson, Keyshaun Webb and Trey Woodbury combined to go 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 22.9 seconds.
“We just played defense,” Webb said. “We had to play this game at our pace.”
No. 3: Desert Pines 59, Clark 57
2013, Class 3A, Orleans Arena
Julian Jacobs battled through foul trouble to score 19 points, and Desert Pines overcame a 13-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to win its first state title.
Desert Pines, which trailed by as many as 17 points, never led until Donavin Wright’s jumper with 2:55 to go gave the Jaguars a 54-53 lead.
Jacobs, who had two fouls less than three minutes into the game, found Trevion Turner on the right block for the winning basket with 21.3 seconds left, and the Jaguars forced a turnover and missed shot on Clark’s final two possessions.
“You have no idea,” Jacobs said. “I don’t have words for this. It’s beyond an awesome feeling.”
No. 2: Bishop Gorman 62, Clark 58
2017, Class 4A, Cox Pavilion
Chuck O’Bannon scored 36 points, and the Gaels rallied from an eight-point deficit with 1:40 to play to stun the Chargers.
Christian Popoola hit a 3-pointer with 1:27 to go and came up with four steals late in the game as the Gaels won their sixth straight state crown.
“We just kept our heads up,” O’Bannon said. “We didn’t give up on each other. I counted on my teammates the whole game. We came out at the end, made some plays and got the win.”
D.J. Howe tied the game at 58 with two free throws with 26 seconds left, and Popoola poked the ball away from Clark’s Jalen Hill to start a fast break that ended with an O’Bannon dunk, giving the Gaels the lead for good with 16 seconds left.
“We’re not even close without Chuck O’Bannon tonight,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said.
No. 1 (tie): Churchill County 57, Elko 54 (OT)
2019, Class 3A, Orleans Arena
Churchill County 45, Elko 42 (OT)
2020, Class 3A, UNR
Either one of these games probably makes the list on its own merit. But they can’t be separated.
Elijah Jackson hit an overtime buzzer-beating 3-pointer from nearly the same spot on the floor against the same team in both games to lift the Greenwave to back-to-back titles.
The 2019 game featured a bit more drama, as Elko’s Sean Klekas buried a 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer to force overtime.
Jackson, who hit the game-winning basket in overtime against Mojave in the semifinals, pulled up on the left wing, faded to his right and nailed the winning jumper at the buzzer.
With the teams playing conservatively in overtime in the 2020 game, Churchill County called timeout with 2.8 seconds left. Jackson inbounded the ball from the left side, near the top of the key. He got a return pass, took one dribble to his left, faded back and drained the winning shot.
“Every high school basketball player dreams of that moment over and over and over,” Jackson told Nevada Sports Net.