Stephen Clark’s bad ankle kept him on the bench for the first five minutes of the game, but once he entered, he never left.
Clark scored 25 points to lead second-ranked Douglass to a 79-70 win over Victory Christian in Friday’s Class 4A semifinal at State Fair Arena.
Now, the three-time defending champion Trojans are back in the finals for a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup, with top-ranked Roland trying to prevent the Douglass four-peat.
Clark’s ankle injury, suffered in Thrusday’s quarterfinal win over Muldrow, was the major concern of the day. He had the ankle taped about an hour before tipoff and was moving gingerly during pregame warm-ups.
“After awhile, I had to get that feeling out of my mind that I couldn’t move on it,” Clark said. “It finally came, and I was OK.”
The ankle seemed to impact his jump shot. Clark was 1-of-12 from 3-point range, but 6-of-9 inside it and 12-of-14 at the free throw line.
Glenn Banks scored 19 points, while Deondre Clark had 15 and DeAngelo Smith had 12 for Douglass, which will face Roland at 12:15 p.m. Saturday in the finals.
Chris Crawford scored 28 points for Victory Christian (26-3), before fouling out in the final minute.
Victory trailed much of the game, but fought back to tie it at 69 with two minutes to play. But Douglass was able to close the game out with free throws and defense.
“We came together when we felt like we fell off,” Clark said. “We said, c’mon, we gotta finish. And we picked it up.”
Clark said he’ll continue to go through treatment and be ready to play in Saturday’s championship game, which tips off at 12:15 p.m. at State Fair Arena.