Reno boys fall to Bishop Gorman
LAS VEGAS – As time ran down on Reno High’s season Thursday night, coach Matt Ochs started subbing out his senior starters, and each one of them got a big hug from their coach.
“They are just a special group; a bunch of clowns,” said Ochs after his 22-7 Huskies were knocked off 89-60 by 18-time champion Bishop Gorman at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion.
Gorman will play Clark in the finals tonight at 8:15 for the 4A championship. Clark beat Coronado 56-48.
Ochs, meanwhile, will savor a 22-7 season that included a second-place finish in the High Desert League and a regional championship.
“I don’t have the words. They were a fun bunch of guys to be around. Hopefully we learned what it takes to compete at the state level,” added a misty eyed Ochs. “It doesn’t happen every year, and we have been fortunate to go two straight years.”
This one, unfortunately wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Gorman subbed liberally throughout the game, and 12 of the 17 players listed on the roster, scored points.
Reno had trouble throughout the game with Gorman’s pressure defense, and when the Huskies did manage to get past Gorman defenders they were unable to finish a lot of close-range shots.
“When we did execute our press break, we didn’t finish,” Ochs said. “Their length had something to do with that.”
Gorman had just a 10-6 lead midway through the first quarter, but the Gaels went on a quarter-ending 14-2 run to take a 26-8 advantage. The Gaels led 47-20 at the half.
Jamal Bey (13 points) started the surge with a 3-pointer and Reno’s Christian Chamberlain (11 points) scored to make it 13-8, Freshman Noah Taitz nailed a 3-pointer and then scored on a transition lay-up to make it 18-8. Chuck O’Bannon scored on a floater, Taitz scored again, Bey added a putback as did Saxton Howard. “I was disappointed with the way we started the game; our intensity” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “We called a timeout. I think it was after the first free throw I decided we would press.”
The Huskies just weren’t equipped to handle the pressure. The Gaels were long and athletic at every position. Ochs was asked how you can simulate playing somebody like Gorman.
“That’s a great question,” he said. “You can’t. We had eight guys (on defense). I played and Bobby Hunter (assistant coach) played. Chuck O’Bannon is as big and long as Tommy Challis (Reno center), and he plays on the perimeter. They are big and long in all the spots.”
Reno outscored Gorman, 25-24, in the third quarter, but still trailed 71-45.