The season won’t be on the line when Clark and Bishop Gorman meet for the Desert Region boys basketball championship, as both teams will advance to next week’s Class 4A state tournament.
But that doesn’t mean the Chargers are any less motivated to knock off the seven-time defending state champion Gaels.
The teams meet for the third time this season at 7 p.m. Thursday at Foothill. Gorman (24-4) has beaten Clark (23-4) in both meetings, including a 74-68 double-overtime win Feb. 7.
“I think they’re hungry to play,” Clark coach Chad Beeten said. “How can you not be? Always hungry to play Gorman, right? That’s the goal. When we started this nine years ago, it was to be the public school powerhouse and take down Gorman. We’ve had opportunities. Now it’s our turn to do it.”
Gorman has won nine of 10 games against the Chargers in the past three seasons, including two victories in region championship games and one in the Class 4A state final. Clark last beat Gorman on Jan. 31, 2017, with the Gaels winning the next eight meetings.
“(I’m) real excited,” Clark senior Antwon Jackson said. “We just want to be competitive, because not a lot of teams are real competitive with them. We’re going to make sure we keep the tempo up and do what it takes to get the job done.”
Regardless of Thursday’s outcome, Clark advances to the state tournament for the sixth time in the past seven seasons. The Chargers won Class 3A titles in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before moving to Class 4A.
“We’ve been worried about this all season long,” Jackson said of making state. “That’s the mission, to get to state, and when we get there do what it takes to win.”
The Desert Region champion plays the Mountain Region winner for the Southern Nevada championship at 4 p.m. Saturday at Valley. Desert Pines (22-6) plays Arbor View (22-7) for the Mountain Region title at 7 p.m. Thursday at Legacy.
“I hope we’re playing our best ball right now, but I’ll let you know on Thursday or maybe Saturday or maybe next week,” Beeten said.
Desert Region championship
Clark (23-4) vs. Bishop Gorman (24-4), 7 p.m.
Mountain Region championship
Desert Pines (22-6) vs. Arbor View (22-7), 7 p.m.