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4A/3A boys state roundup: Sierra Vista advances to 1st title game

Updated February 21, 2024 - 11:15 pm

RENO — For the first time in school history, the Sierra Vista boys basketball team will play for a state championship.

The Mountain Lions, the No. 2 seed from the Southern Region, pulled out a 52-49 victory against North No. 1 Reno High in the Class 4A state semifinals Wednesday at Lawlor Events Center.

Sierra Vista (22-9) will play Northern No. 2 seed Damonte Ranch, a 72-58 winner over Southern champion Somerset-Losee late Wednesday, in the state championship game at 9 p.m. Thursday.

The Mountain Lions built an 11-point lead in the third quarter, thanks to a dominant performance on the glass. Reno (23-6) was able to chip away at the deficit throughout the fourth quarter, eventually taking a 49-48 lead with 1:45 to go.

Junior guard EJ Dacuma drove for a basket to put Sierra Vista back in front, and he hit two free throws to extend the lead.

Reno missed a tying 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Sierra Vista coach Joseph Bedowitz credited guard play for the victory.

“Obviously, we have (7-foot-1-inch Xavion Staton) in the middle, which is a great defensive deterrent, but it has really been our guard play that has pushed us on the offensive end,” Bedowitz said. “They get downhill, and there’s nobody that can really stay in front of them.”

Dacuma and senior Khamari Taylor slashed their way through the paint all evening, finishing with 16 points each.

Now, Sierra Vista gets to spend a night dreaming about a state title.

“This means everything to the kids,” Bedowitz said. “We knew we had the pieces to do it, we just had to put the puzzle together, and we did.”

— No. 2N Damonte Ranch 72, No. 1S Somerset-Losee 58: At Lawlor Events Center, the Mustangs (26-4) stayed a step ahead of the Lions (24-4) in the other 4A state semifinal.

Damonte Ranch led 36-25 at halftime. Somerset-Losee junior Roderick Johnson drilled a 3-pointer get the Lions within 38-36, but the Mustangs immediately responded with a 3 of their own.

Somserset-Losee fell behind by double digits again, then got within 52-44 in the fourth quarter before the Mustangs put the game away.

Johnson scored 22 points, including six 3-pointers, and junior Tristan Howell added 15 points for the Lions.

Class 3A

— No. 2S Democracy Prep 63, No. 1N Fernley 60: At Lawlor Events Center, sophomore Tai Coleman scored 20 points, and fellow sophomore Josiah Stroughter added 16 to help the Blue Knights (18-7) hold off the Vaqueros (26-3) in a 3A state semifinal.

Democracy Prep will face Southern champion Mater East for the state championship at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

After Fernley rallied from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to tie the game at 58, Democracy Prep sophomore Jamarion Taylor drove to the rim and converted a three-point play to put the Blue Knights in front 61-58 with under two minutes remaining.

Democracy Prep locked down on defense the rest of the way, with Fernley’s final basket coming with only 4.3 seconds left.

A coast-to-coast layup from Charles Williams put the Blue Knights in front 47-33 in the third quarter, but the Vaqueros trimmed the lead to 47-40 by the end of the frame.

— No. 1S Mater East 59, No. 2N Elko 37: At Lawlor Events Center, Lonnie Bass Jr. scored 16 points, and the Knights (16-6) held the Indians (18-10) to 13 points in the second half to turn the 3A state semifinal into a rout.

Mater East led only 27-24 at halftime but put on a defensive clinic in the third quarter, with several steals leading to easy fast-break opportunities. Kendon Jones scored all of his 11 points in the quarter to help the Knights pull away.

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