Updated February 27, 2020 - 10:31 pm
RENO — Desert Oasis senior forward Desi-Rae Young and her teammates have been waiting a year for a rematch against powerhouse Centennial.
They earned it Thursday.
The Diamondbacks held off Spanish Springs for a 56-48 victory in the Class 4A state basketball semifinals at Lawlor Events Center and will play the Bulldogs at 7:20 p.m Friday for the title. Desert Oasis played Centennial in the state semifinals last season and led after a quarter before losing by 31 points.
“I truly believe if anybody is going to beat them, it’s going to be us. I’d hoped we’d have the opportunity,” Desert Oasis coach Laurie Evans-Gygax said. “This is what we’ve been working for all season.”
The Diamondbacks (24-2) qualified for the state tournament last season for the first time in program history. They returned a bulk of their rotation, including UNLV recruit Young, and used the regular season as a tool to improve in anticipation of a rematch with the Bulldogs.
Young injured her left knee in the first quarter Thursday, but returned to score a game-high 18 points. Eliyjah Pricebrooks scored 13 and Isabella Jaramillo 12 for the Diamondbacks, who led 20-16 at halftime.
Spanish Springs (23-5) had chances to tie the score in the fourth quarter, but the Diamondbacks refused to fold and now have another chance at Centennial.
“They rebound really good. They’re really strong,” Young said of the Bulldogs. “But this year’s different. We’re really strong, and we have good offense, too.”
Centennial 62, Spring Valley 37 — Centennial seniors Aishah Brown, Daejah Phillips and Jade Thomas are seeking their fourth consecutive 4A state title. Senior transfer Teionni McDaniel is seeking her first.
The school is seeking its sixth straight title. Winning never gets old for the Bulldogs.
Centennial coasted to a 62-37 victory over Spring Valley, giving the seniors a chance to cap their careers with another championship.
“These seniors, they want to get four in a row. I get new kids that want to get their first ring,” Bulldogs coach Karen Weitz said. “We’ve done this before. We’ve been here. It’s all about the kids and the school at this point.”
Said Thomas: “It’s a special feeling. A little bittersweet. I just want to end with a bang.”
Centennial (23-6) used its superior length, speed and depth to overwhelm Spring Valley (25-7), which concluded a memorable season with its first state tournament appearance as a Class 4A program.
Bulldogs junior and Oregon commit Taylor Bigby had 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists in front of Ducks assistant coach Xavier Lopez.