Stepping down as Canyon Springs’ boys basketball coach was no easy decision for Daryl Branham, but he couldn’t have picked a better time to do it.
Branham resigned in April to spend more time with his family, less than two months after he guided the Pioneers to the Class 4A state championship. It was the first state title in any sport for Canyon Springs, which opened in 2004.
“If there’s a way to go out, I guess that would be the way,” Branham said.
Branham’s replacement will be his longtime assistant, UNLV great Freddie Banks.
Banks has served on Branham’s staff since Canyon Springs opened. He expressed excitement at being able to help youngsters reach college as students first, athletes second.
“It’s very exciting. It was an honor to learn from (Branham),” Banks said. “I’m looking forward to doing the right things for the kids.”
Banks said he will continue to run Canyon Springs’ up-tempo system that led to a 29-2 season last year.
“I’m going to do the same thing that me and coach Branham did,” Banks said. “It’s going to be a lot of pressure ball, a lot of fast breaking.”
WRESTLING CHANGES — High school wrestling will look different across the country next season, and local coaches are ready for the changes.
The National Federation of State High School Associations approved an upward slide of all weight classes in April, creating the first wholesale shift of divisions since 1988.
The 103-pound weight class is no more. Matches next year will be contested at 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and heavyweight.
“I like the idea. I think it’s going to be easier to find kids in some of those weights,” Shadow Ridge coach Gus Gledhill said.
Last year’s upper weight classes were spread from 171 to 189 to 215. Gledhill called closing the gaps a healthy move.
RECENT COMMITMENTS — Seniors who recently made Division I college commitments include Foothill boys soccer player Christian Volesky (Denver), Boulder City boys swimmer Drew Peterson (Rider) and Centennial boys distance runner Kyle Merritt (Boise State).
Bishop Gorman boys basketball guard Ryan Parks signed with Warner Pacific College in Portland, Ore. Gorman girls forward Chelsie Pitt signed with the College of Southern Idaho, and Legacy girls guard Shakita Cox signed with Eastern Arizona College.
ALL-STAR WEEKEND — The Las Vegas Area High School Senior All-Star Game in boys basketball will be played Saturday at Mountain View.
An exhibition featuring extra seniors will be played at 2 p.m., followed by the all-star game at 4. Additionally, a Skills and Drills session will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at Rancho.
Rosters for the all-star game are loaded with seven Class 4A all-state selections, including Boise State signee Michael Thompson of Canyon Springs.