Updated February 26, 2022 - 9:13 pm
It took Clark the first half to figure out how it was going to play its best game against Las Vegas in the Class 4A girls state basketball championship game.
Once the Chargers made halftime adjustments, they took control en route to a 43-25 victory at Cox Pavilion for their first girls state title in the sport.
“It was a bit of a shock to figure out how to play our best game with opponents who are as good as we are,” Clark senior Arla Hofer said. “Once we got past that feeling, it was easier to play our best game and get the win.”
Clark outscored Las Vegas 16-2 in the third quarter after trailing 13-7 at halftime and took an eight-point lead into the final quarter.
The Chargers scored the first 11 points of the fourth, when Hofer scored six of her team-high 12 points to help push their lead to as many as 19 points. They held the Wildcats to two points in the first 11:57 of the second half.
“Las Vegas was scrappy,” Clark coach La Quedra Parks said. “They played hard, they fought even when they got down, they fought like they were still up. They definitely gave us a run.”
Parks saw that the perimeter shots her team likes to take weren’t falling, so she emphasized attacking and generating more ball movement to combat Las Vegas’ defense.
On defense, Clark used its length and athleticism to clog the paint and deny Las Vegas from getting points inside, forcing the Wildcats into challenging shots.
“It was filling the gaps a lot,” Hofer said. “We really protected the middle, and they scored mostly from the outside.”
The Chargers turned their defense into offense, as stops allowed them to score in transition
“Getting after loose balls and getting down the floor,” Parks said. “That’s been one of our specialties, transition, secondary breaks, getting the ball out to the wings and looking to score.”
Jamelia Coleman scored 10 points for Clark. Layla Faught led Las Vegas with 13 points, and Kayla Terry scored eight.
Hofer, one of eight seniors, has been with Parks since her freshman year when Parks was the junior varsity coach. The forward was ecstatic about the team’s impact on the school.
“It’s been four long years, and it’s really fun to go out with that first banner on our wall, being the first one in Clark’s history to get that up there. It means a lot to me,” Hofer said.