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Mojave’s bid falls short in Class 3A boys state semifinals

Just a couple of seasons ago, it was hard to imagine Mojave’s boys basketball team playing in a postseason game.

On Friday, the Rattlers came up a point short of advancing to the state championship game.

Elijah Jackson’s rebound basket with six seconds left in overtime lifted Churchill County to a 60-59 win over Mojave in the Class 3A state semifinals at Orleans Arena.

“It’s been a long process from four wins two years ago to playing in the state semifinals,” said third-year Mojave coach Adam Schwartz, whose first team went 4-22 in 2016-17. “It’s just the beginning for us hopefully.”

Mojave took a 59-58 lead when Chris Jackson split two free throws with 44.5 seconds left in overtime. The Rattlers had a chance to extend their lead, but Damon McDowell missed two free throws with 20.2 seconds left.

The Greenwave (25-3) worked the ball inside to reserve forward Walter Rooks on the right block. His shot went off the rim, but Jackson was there for the weak-side rebound and put-back.

Mojave called timeout with five seconds left and got the ball to McDowell just shy of halfcourt. He drove to about the free-throw line, but his runner went off the back of the rim and time expired.

“They made a good play, and they executed it and they scored and won,” Schwartz said.

Mojave (22-8) almost won the game in regulation after Saquevian Williams powered up between two defenders to give the Rattlers a 51-49 lead. Churchill County called timeout with four seconds left. The Greenwave inbounded the ball from the baseline, then got it to Thomas Steele near midcourt. Steele took two dribbles and hit a 15-foot runner as time expired to tie the game.

Steele had a game-high 24 points for Churchill County, which plays Elko (25-2) in the state final at 12:50 p.m. Saturday.

McDowell and A.J. Woods each scored 18 points, and Desaun Smith had six steals for Mojave.

Elko 53, Chaparral 47 — The Cowboys didn’t score for the first 6:25 of the fourth quarter, and the Indians rallied for the victory in the Class 3A state semifinals.

Michael Klekas had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Ronin Rowley had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Elko.

Chaparral (17-9) missed its first eight shots in the fourth quarter and was 2-for-15 from the field in the final eight minutes.

Dejonte Allen led Chaparral with 11 points, and Sameal Anderson and Elijah Briggs each scored 10 for the Cowboys, who outscored Elko 21-6 in the second quarter to take a 30-24 halftime lead.

The Meadows 50, North Tahoe 35 — The Mustangs forced 32 turnovers, including 22 in the middle quarters, to breeze to a Class 2A state semifinal win over the Lakers (15-13) at Eldorado High School.

The Meadows (15-9) will try to win its second title in four years when it faces Incline (24-6) for the 2A crown at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Orleans Arena.

Obinna Ezeanolue scored 18 points for the Mustangs, who led 45-22 after three quarters.

Incline 67, Lincoln County 65 — Torak Valosek’s free-throw line jumper with 40 seconds left gave the Highlanders the lead for good against the Lynx in the Class 2A state semifinals.

Valosek and Ian Smith each scored 14 points for Incline.

Mathew Hafen scored 24 and Cody Zile 23 for Lincoln County (19-9).

Spring Mountain 42, Jackpot 37 Robert Arceneaux scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter and finished with 13 points to help the defending state champion Golden Eagles to a 42-37 win over Jackpot in the Class 1A semifinals at SLAM Academy.

Spring Mountain (14-8) will bid for its third state title in five years when it faces Mineral County (30-1) at 8:10 p.m. Saturday at Orleans Arena.

Josiah Johnson finished with 11 points and I’Shad Livingston 10 for Spring Mountain.

Jerry Martinez led Jackpot (22-6) with 12 points.

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