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4A state: Sierra Vista boys stand tall, claim 1st state title

Updated February 23, 2024 - 3:00 pm

RENO — The moment never seemed to bother Sierra Vista, despite playing in the first state title game in program history.

The Mountain Lions are leaving Reno as Class 4A boys basketball state champions after a 57-47 win over Damonte Ranch late Thursday at Lawlor Events Center.

While the game was close in the opening half, Sierra Vista (23-9), the South’s No. 2 seed, never trailed.

A 32-27 halftime lead turned into a 47-38 lead after three quarters, giving the Mountain Lions room to work with.

Damonte Ranch (26-5), the North’s No. 2 seed, cut the deficit to 51-45 with 3:01 to go, but Sierra Vista’s stifling defense continued to step up in big moments.

Xavion Staton, a 7-foot-1-inch junior center, scored all 11 of his points in the first half, but his paint presence in the second half was utterly dominant.

Staton had back-to-back blocks to turn Sierra Vista’s five-point edge into nine to end the third quarter. He added three more blocks in the fourth to seal the title.

“We were talking, communicating and making sure we had each other’s backs,” Staton said. “We prepared for this for our whole lives.”

Junior guard EJ Dacuma, who had a team-high 17 points, echoed Staton’s thoughts.

“Defense was the main goal. Defense is definitely why we won today,” Dacuma said.

As the Mountain Lions enjoyed their title, Dacuma said they were always confident in their ability to reach the pinnacle.

“In the beginning of the season, we knew we’d be here,” he said.

Sierra Vista’s interior defense, alongside aggressive guard play, kept Damonte Ranch off-balance all evening.

“It was amazing. We had a game plan coming in,” Sierra Vista coach Joseph Bedowitz said. “We knew their offense was predicated on coming down the lane, and we knew we had to do whatever we could to keep them in front.”

Senior guard Khamari Taylor had nine points for Sierra Vista, and junior forward Darius Ruffin added seven.

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