Down two points with 30 seconds remaining and momentum on its side, the Elko boys basketball team was poised to cap off its comeback bid against Clark in heroic fashion.
Clark sophomore captain Colby Jackson, however, had other plans.
Jackson made what proved to be the game-winning free throws with less than 20 seconds remaining as the Chargers advanced to the Division I-A state championship over the Indians, 45-40, on Friday at Del Sol High School.
"We had a play set up. We were right there," Elko coach Chris Klekas said about the Indians' chances in the waning moments of the game.
With 12 seconds remaining, sophomore Nathan Klekas sank both of his free throws to pull Elko (24-4) within two points of Clark (29-2).
Klekas went 7-for-10 from the line and finished with 22 points to lead all scorers.
"They were playing me close. It was a real tough game," he said. "They were being aggressive. The thing is, you have to stay calm, and I think we did a good job of that."
Elko fouled Clark's Carter Olsen on the ensuing possession, and Olsen made both of his free throws to push the Indians ahead 44-40.
With less than 3 seconds remaining following a missed 3-pointer by Elko, Clark senior captain Sir Washington was fouled and made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Chargers the 45-40 victory. Washington finished with 15 points to lead the Chargers' scoring attack.
"Overall, I think we did a good job. We held them to 45 points," Chris Klekas said. "We had our moments, we never gave up."
Elko, known for its rebounding and defensive prowess, held Clark well below the Chargers' 65.3 points per game scoring average this season.
"We kept them away from the rim and we rebounded the ball. We contested shots and made it hard for them," Chris Klekas said. "I'm proud of the kids, they did an excellent job. That's a great Clark team."
Sophomore Brandon Jenkins supplied 11 points for Elko, and made three of the team's four 3-pointers.
"Nathan's been like that all year, Brandon and all the kids have shot well all year," Chris Klekas said. "They're sophomores but they compete real hard; they don't want to lose."
DESERT PINES 68, LOWRY 53: Desert Pines point guard Julian Jacobs came through in the clutch and converted two crowd-pleasing dunks in the process.
Jacobs totaled 23 points, six rebounds, seven assists and five steals as the Jaguars (26-3) defeated Lowry (21-7).
Lowry coach Chad Peters argued several calls throughout the night, and in the fourth quarter his verbal sparring with the referee earned the Lowry bench a technical foul, which senior Trevion Turner converted into another point for Desert Pines.
Lowry wasn't entirely outmatched, however. The Jaguars' defense couldn't keep up with junior guard Calvin Connors.
Connors continuously beat Turner and Malik Davis as he brought the ball up the court, creating offensive opportunities in the paint for senior Jesse Studebaker and junior Josh Watterson.
Studebaker left the game to a standing ovation with less than two minutes left in the game and finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
Watterson had 12 points for Lowry, and Tytus Millikan added 13.