Posted On: 02/20/18 9:45 PM
This was the 4th match-up of these two teams in a season. The Sunrise Regional Final put the two best teams in the Southwest area against each other. Many coaches will say its hard to beat a team 3x in a season let alone 4x in a season. Clark was predicted to be the #1 team in the city at the start of the season. They had two senior division 1 commits on the roster going to Gonzaga and UNLV. Junior Jalen Hill(6-7″) recently got an offer from Florida State in the SEC conference. This team was loaded with talent from the outside looking in. Bishop Gorman was no slouch with Jamal Bey, Noah Taitz and Isaiah Cotrell, all future D1 college players.
Grant Rice has won several State Titles in a row and was very much a player’s coach. Grant’s brother is an assistant coach at University of Washington. They have been around the game for many years and know how to manage egos and talent.
Chad Beeten was the key difference maker turning the Clark program around 7-8 years ago. He has won State titles in the 4A division and his team beat Gorman in a preseason tournament game around Halloween. He is known around town as a discipline coach who focused on defense, help side rotations and player accountability.
This game was hotly contested but similar to previous match-ups the Gaels opened up with the lead at the end of the first quarter. Clark never seemed to get the better of Gorman was the major difference in this game. Clark tried to utilize Antwon Jackson on the inside and the duo of Jalen Hill and Greg Foster on the wings. The Clark Chargers kept it close as usual but the mental hurdle of beating the Gaels appeared to get the best of them. Out of the four quarters there wasn’t one quarter that Clark outscored the Gaels. Grant Rice had said in an interview that they were trying to limit Jalen Hill’s second chance points. He finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds that night. The surprise to most was with so many players to score with Clark seemed to have limited answers. Noah Taitz was the difference maker in this match-up. He is a pure shooter that can’t be left open. He knocked down 3’s shooting between 40-50% for the game and hit floaters and grabbed a dunk to round things out. Jamal Bey was not feeling it and deferred to his teammate to find the hot hand. That paid off quite a bit. Bishop Gorman ended up pulling away to win 57-46 and gorman had 11 team assists compared to Clark with 5 for the game.
This Gorman Gaels team was best “team” that we have seen from them in many years. They have always had talent but the ability to make the extra pass or not worry about stats is key to kids buying in.
Jamal Bey 13 points 8 rebounds
Noah Taitz 27 points
Jalen Hill 8 pts 6 rebs
Antwon Jackson 11 pts 7 rbs
Greg Foster 13 points