Raise your hand if you think the winter sports season has flown by.
In the time it takes Lincoln County (Panaca) scoring machine Dantley Walker
to make a 3-pointer, we've gone from preseason prognostications to postseason play. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 4A boys basketball playoffs got underway on Tuesday and the girls bracket tipped off on Wednesday.
Twelve teams have already seen their seasons end, but that's no reason to avoid predicting what will happen the rest of the way.MaxPreps Nevada boys basketball bracketsMaxPreps Nevada girls basketball bracketsNorthern Region (boys)
After a topsy-turvy regular season, Bishop Manogue (Reno)
emerged as the Sierra League champion, while Hug (Reno)
rolled to the High Desert League crown. But the most dangerous team remaining in the bracket just might be Douglas (Minden)
Douglas (22-4) halted Manogue's 41-game winning streak against Sierra League foes earlier this season and the Tigers own a huge size advantage over the rest of the remaining teams thanks largely to sophomore center Hunter Myers
Douglas handed Hug (21-2) one of its losses and the Hawks, led by Andrew Johnson
and Jaevis Johnson
along with Sam Williams
, will look to avenge that setback when the teams meet in the semifinals Thursday at Carson High in Carson City.
Manogue (22-5), which features Ethan Dillard
, Niles Lujan
and Brennan Hogan
, should get past McQueen (Reno) in the other semifinal. The Miners opened the season by beating Hug and split their two games with Douglas, which should make for an interesting championship game.Predicted winner: Bishop Manogue
Sunrise Region (boys)
Canyon Springs (North Las Vegas)
is the defending region champion and the high-octane Pioneers are the heavy favorites once again. Canyon Springs (25-2) is averaging 82.8 points per game and is led by Boise State signee Michael Thompson
(17.1 points per game) along with 6-foot-5 forward Jared Brandon
(17.9 ppg).Foothill (Henderson)
rallied to beat Valley (Las Vegas) in the opening round to earn the Falcons (21-7) a semifinal date with Canyon Springs (North Las Vegas)
. Greg Cox
and co. lost to the Pioneers in the season opener, but Thursday's game will be at Foothill.
In the other semifinal, Eldorado (Las Vegas)
takes on Southeast League champion Coronado (Henderson)
. The Sundevils (22-6) are riding a five-game winning streak, while Coronado limped home, going 2-2 to close out the regular season. Austin Nelson
paces the Cougars (22-7) in scoring at 17.2 points per game. Predicted winner: Canyon Springs
Sunset Region (boys)
The last time Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
lost to a team from Nevada not named Findlay Prep (Henderson) was in January of 2009. Don't expect the two-time defending state champion Gaels (23-5) and junior standout Shabazz Muhammad
to lose at this stage.
With that in mind, the real intrigue comes in the other semifinal between Sierra Vista (Las Vegas)
and Northwest League champion Centennial (Las Vegas)
. The winner not only advances to the championship game, but, at minimum, it is guaranteed a spot in the play-in game against the Sunrise Region runner-up to determine the fourth team at the state tournament.
The contest will feature two of the better backcourts in the Vegas valley. Sierra Vista (23-5), which finished second to Gorman in the Southwest League, features senior guards Maiscei Grier
(16.4 ppg) and Viko Noma'aea
(15.6 ppg). Grier made headlines when he verbally committed to Rutgers before his freshman year, although the Scarlet Knights' new coaching staff didn't honor the scholarship offer.
The Bulldogs (23-4) have won eight straight and are led by senior Aaseem Dixon
(15.9 ppg, 5.5 assists per game) and sophomore Marcus Allen
(11.3 ppg). Dixon is hearing from several schools including Arizona State, Colorado State, George Mason, Northern Arizona, Utah, Washington State and Wyoming.Predicted winner: Bishop Gorman
Northern Region (girls)
is the three-time defending region champion, but the Huskies will be hard-pressed to make it four in a row. Reed (Sparks)
comes in as the clear favorite after winning the High Desert League and beating Reno for the first time since 2006.
The Raiders (23-0) are No. 1 in the MaxPreps state rankings and led by senior Micah Walker
, junior Nyasha Lesure
and talented freshman Gabrielle Williams
, who is averaging a team-best 13.8 points per game.
The other half of the bracket should see Sierra League champion Galena (Reno)
and Reno square off in the semifinals. The Grizzlies (19-5) are led by Nevada signee Emily Burns
(14.3 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game) and Taylor Schaller
(15.3 ppg). Reno (21-3) features junior Shannon Gough
, who averages 17.9 points per game.Predicted winner: Reed
Sunrise Region (girls)
The Southeast League traditionally dominates this region and this year should be no different. Defending region champion Liberty (Henderson)
is riding a 14-game winning streak and the Patriots (23-2) are the team to beat once again.
Liberty's closest game during its winning streak is a 14-point win over Canyon Springs back on Dec. 30. Oregon signee Amanda Delgado
is averaging 16.3 points per game and she teams with Jade Washington
and Alena Evans
to form an experienced lineup.
The Patriots could see league rival Green Valley (Henderson)
in the semifinals, but Foothill (Henderson)
, Valley (Las Vegas)
or Coronado (Henderson)
don't appear to have the firepower to overtake Liberty should the Patriots reach the final as expected.Predicted winner: Liberty
Sunset Region (girls)
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
and Centennial (Las Vegas)
are once again on a collision course to meet in the final. The two schools have won every state title since 2002 and could meet twice in the next week.
Gorman (21-5) is the defending state champion and the Gaels, who are led by Amber Lane
, Zhane Dikes
and Chelsie Pitt
, have a much clearer path to Friday's title game.
Centennial, on the other hand, will face either Legacy (North Las Vegas)
or Sierra Vista (Las Vegas)
in a tricky semifinal matchup. The Bulldogs (27-1) are No. 2 in the state rankings and led by Courtney Hayes
, Ashley Klemz
and Shannon Brown
. Centennial had no problems in two meetings with Legacy (21-6), but didn't face Sierra Vista (20-6) and its high-scoring guard Jeanette Jackson
Should Centennial and Gorman meet in the final, a rematch in the state tournament is possible since the loser is expected to win the play-in game against the runner-up from the Sunrise Region.Predicted winner: Centennial
David Schoen works at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and is a former Associate Sports Editor and Turn2 columnist for the Oakland (Calif.) Tribune. You can reach him at ByDavid1@aol.com.