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4A basketball title chase includes extra competition this season

More Southern Nevada high school basketball teams had a chance to win a state title the last two seasons with the Southern-only 4A classification.

This year, they have some added company to go through.

The 4A state tournament begins Wednesday at UNR’s Lawlor Events Center. Northern Nevada basketball teams in 5A decided to drop to 4A during last year’s realignment process and will compete with 4A Southern teams for the state title.

“It should make good basketball with those guys moving down to 4A,” Somerset-Losee boys basketball coach Darrius Banks said. “Damonte Ranch, we watched them, we watched Reno High. They’re pretty solid basketball teams. It should be fun.”

Somerset-Losee (24-3) won the Southern Region boys title to earn a No. 1 seed. It will face Damonte Ranch (25-4), the No. 2 seed from the North, in a state semifinal at 8:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Somerset-Losee outdueled Sierra Vista 85-80 on Friday for the Southern Region title. Sierra Vista (21-9) faces Northern champion Reno High (23-5) at 5:20 p.m. in the other state semifinal. The state title game is at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Somerset-Losee won last year’s 3A title. The Lions graduated just one senior from last season’s team and their rotation goes 12 players deep.

“We’re just excited to get a chance to prove that we belong and that it wasn’t flukish that we won last year because smaller basketball doesn’t get the same respect. … I’m just excited for us charter schools to show that we can compete with some of those larger schools too,” Banks said.

In the girls tournament, Canyon Springs finished second in the Desert League. It went on to win the Southern Region title over Sky League champion Legacy 59-57 on Friday.

“I don’t think anybody really expected us to do anything this year,” Canyon Springs coach Christopher Walker said. “We’ve exceeded others’ expectations.”

Canyon Springs (22-8) takes on the North’s No. 2 seed, Spanish Springs (18-11), at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a state semifinal. Legacy (20-10) will face Northern champion Bishop Manogue (24-1) in the other state semifinal at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday.

The state title game is 7:20 p.m. Thursday.

“It’s an amazing feeling. … This is the first time in the school’s history that we’ve won (a region title),” Walker said. “It’s been a really positive experience, especially (after) not making the playoffs the last few years.”

Walker said playing in the Desert League, with five teams that finished with a winning record, helped prepare his team for its postseason run.

“I knew that we faced pretty good competition,” Walker said. “It taught us that we had to be consistent going down the stretch knowing that any team could beat you.”

Banks said being in a lot of “tight” games with other 4A Southern teams has helped the Lions play “better at this time of the year.”

“Having championship pedigree, playing in these big games for the last two and a half years, it got us ready for this type of playoff basketball,” Banks said. “We don’t flinch. We get down 10 points in the third or fourth quarter and we find a way to get it done. It’s the most important thing, finding a way to win.”

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on X.

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