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September 18, 2014

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High school basketball:

Rashad Muhammad’s 29 points, big fourth-quarter lift Gorman to state basketball finals

Prep Sports Now

Signing off for the year with state tournament talk

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer work through their final podcast of the school year by discussing the state basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena this weekend.

Nobody said winning a state championship would be easy.

Bishop Gorman realized that early Thursday in its Division-I state semifinal game against Reno’s Hug High at the Orleans Arena. Hug made its initial four shots to take a six-point lead and never backed down against the state favorite Gaels.

But Gorman, which is playing for its fourth state title in five years, made key halftime adjustments in dominating the second half. They scored the initial 11 points of the fourth quarter and used its depth to wear down Hug late in a 72-52 victory.

“The jumped on us,” said Gorman’s Trey Kennedy, who finished with 16 points and had a pair of 3-point plays in the second half when Gorman pulled away. “We came out slow and they jumped on us definitely. They rebounded and they got into us.”

Rashad Muhammad was unstoppable all game in scoring a game-high 29 points, including 16 in the first half when Hug battled Gorman basket-for-basket in only trailing by three points at halftime.

The second half was a different story with Gorman using its size and length on the inside and increasing its defensive intensity. Hug had just eight fourth-quarter points — most in garbage time when the reserves for both teams were playing.

“We were getting beaten on the offensive glass, which is really disappointing considering our size, in the first half and early in third quarter,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “I thought defensively we really picked it up and that led to some easy points.”

Gorman will play at 8 p.m. Friday at the Orleans in the state championship game against Centennial.

Muhammad has scored more than 23 points in each of Gorman’s four playoffs games, taking control of the game each time the Gaels needed a big basket. He injured his hip in the fourth quarter and never returned, but will be ready for Friday’s state championship game.

Another dominating performance would give powerhouse Gorman another state championship.

“I was getting some open shots,” Muhammad said. “I tried to let the game come to me.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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