Live Blog: Gorman survives against Spanish Springs, will play for 7th straight title


Christopher DeVargas

Players of the Bishop Gorman High basketball team, from left, Saxton Howard, Jamal Bey and DJ Howe, take a portrait during the Las Vegas Sun’s Media Day at the South Point on Nov. 14, 2017.

Published Thu, Feb 22, 2018 (2 p.m.)

Updated Thu, Feb 22, 2018 (9:44 p.m.)

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State speak

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Ray Brewer and Case Keefer briefly discuss the upcoming state basketball tournaments in Reno.

The Bishop Gorman High basketball team is going to the state championship game. Just barely.

Freshman Will McClendon’s 3-pointer with about two minutes remaining gave the Gaels the lead for good today in a 75-68 victory against Spanish Springs in the state semifinals.

Gorman led by five points entering the fourth quarter, but was held scoreless for nearly three minutes as Spanish Springs — which led by seven points at halftime — retook the lead. But McClendon, who had just two points, buried a corner 3-pointer to put his team in position to play for a seventh consecutive state title.

Jamal Bey, who led all scorers with 29 points, added a pair of free throws and Gorman suddenly had a two possession advantage.

Gorman will face Bishop Manogue of Reno at 8:10 p.m. Friday for the state championship. Manogue defeated Canyon Springs in the first semifinals.

Gorman holds small lead against Reno school in state tournament

Noah Taitz hit a 3-pointer, Isaiah Cottrell had tip-in and Jamal Bey converted a 3-point play.

Just like that the Bishop Gorman High basketball team’s seven-point halftime deficit against Spanish Springs in the state semifinals turned into a one-point lead.

But Gorman, the six-time defending state champions, still aren’t off upset-alert. It leads just 60-55 entering the fourth quarter — a result much closer than many expected.

Gorman will play from behind in second half of state semifinals

The champs are in trouble.

Six-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman, who many expected to enjoy a lopsided victory in today’s state high school basketball semifinals, trails Spanish Springs 44-37 at halftime.

Gorman fell behind by eight points at the end of the first quarter, but quickly erased the deficit to bring the score to 29-all about two minutes into the quarter. But instead of Gorman pulling away, it was Spanish Springs who extend its lead.

Leo Grass is leading Spanish Springs with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers to help the Northern Region champs extend their lead.

Jamal Bey leads Gorman with 15 points, Noah Taitz has 10 and Isaiah Cottrell had eight points on 4-of-6 shooting. Gorman is just 2-of-12 on 3-point attempts; Spanish Springs is shooting 58-percent for the game

Gorman trailing Spanish Springs, 25-17, after first quarter in semifinals

Six-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman is struggling early in the state semifinals against Northern Region champ Spanish Springs.

Spanish Springs scored on five of initial six possessions to grab a 25-17 lead after the first period.

Spanish Springs has made 3-pointers and dunks, blocked Gorman shots and fought for second chance points. With each good play, the pro-North crowd at Lawlor Events Center gets more loud.

Jamal Bey hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to finish the quarter with seven points. Isaiah Cottrell had Gorman’s initial six points and appears to be a matchup problem on the interior for the much smaller Spanish Springs.

Canyon Springs eliminated from state tourney by Reno school

The Canyon Springs High basketball team’s rally came up short.

The Pioneers trailed for most of its state semifinal game today against Bishop Manogue of Reno, and even though they trimmed the deficit to four points in the final minutes, was defeated 64-58.

Canyon Springs couldn’t overcome its lowest scoring game of the season. Alexander Spaight led Canyon Springs with 20 points; Melvins Soares had 16.

Bishop Manogue advances to Friday’s state championship game. It faces the winner of tonight’s second semifinal between Bishop Gorman and Spanish Springs.

Canyon Springs down 7 points entering fourth quarter of state semifinals

The Canyon Springs High basketball season could be down to its final eight minutes.

The Pioneers still haven’t been able to get their offense going in the state semifinals, trailing Reno’s Bishop Manogue 46-39 after three quarters.

Canyon Springs hasn’t had the lead since the early stages of the game. Bishop Manogue has made some timely shots and its defense has keep Canyon Springs — which averages 83 points per game — off balance.

Canyon Springs, Bishop Manogue tied at halftime

The Canyon Springs High basketball team wasn't at its best in the first half of the state semifinals. Still, they managed to erase an eight-point deficit for a 27-27 halftime score.

Nathaniel Smith had an offensive rebound and 3-point play to start the comeback for the Pioneers, who entered the event with just two defeats this season. Kevin Legardy, the Pioneers' leading scorer on the season, struggled for most of the half but had a 3-pointer during the late surge.

Canyon Springs, Gorman representing Las Vegas in basketball state semifinals

The Bishop Gorman and Canyon Springs high basketball teams play Northern Nevada schools tonight in the large-school state semifinals at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center, with the winners meeting tomorrow for the championship.

Don’t be surprised if it’s an all-Las Vegas championship game.

Sunrise Region champion Canyon Springs plays Bishop Manogue in the first semifinal game. Canyon Springs has just two defeats on the season, and its athletic backcourt of Kevin Legardy and Alexander Spaight could be the difference.

Both players are well-suited for Canyon Springs’ fast-paced offense, and are equally capable of either driving to the basket for points or hitting a jump shot. Canyon Springs averages 84 points per game, including many points off turnovers because of its pressure defense.

While Bishop Manogue is no pushover, it’s only in the tournament because the event is in Reno. It lost to Spanish Springs by eight points in last week’s Northern Region championship game, but since the North gets two of the four tournament spots, qualified despite the loss.

Gorman is the six-time defending state champions and arguably the state’s best dynasty. Even though the Gaels have beat many teams throughout Nevada in the playoffs, it’s yet to do so against Spanish Springs. That, of course, is because tonight is the first meeting between the two.

Gorman, with a roster full of players with major Division I scholarship offers, is the hands down favorite to defend its championship. Stranger things have happened in this round of the postseason — in 2011, for instance, Gorman was upset by Bishop Manogue. That loss always is in the back of the Gorman coaching staff’s mind, meaning there shouldn’t be a letdown tonight.

The Canyon Springs game starts at 4:45 p.m. Talk to everyone then.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at

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