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Girls basketball playoff preview: Centennial faces stiff competition

Centennial’s girls basketball team has rolled to a state championship in recent seasons, facing few hurdles along the way.

This is not one of those years.

The Bulldogs, who have won eight straight state titles, are in for a fight this season. They were defeated 50-46 by Democracy Prep on Jan. 30 for their first loss to a Nevada team since 2015.

The playoffs begin Saturday with four Class 4A Southern Region first-round games. The 5A playoffs begin with the state quarterfinals Thursday.

Here’s a look ahead at the postseason:

Class 5A

League champion: Centennial.

Favorite: Centennial.

Centennial won the head-to-head tiebreaker over Bishop Gorman for the No. 1 seed. But Centennial, Bishop Gorman and Democracy Prep can argue they deserve to be the favorite.

The 5A title race is as open as it’s been in a long time. The Bulldogs’ experience in important playoff games gives them a slight edge.

Dark horse: Liberty.

The Patriots defeated Democracy Prep one day after the Blue Knights’ upset of Centennial. Liberty’s Satsuki Bradley is one of the area’s top guards, and forward Daisha Peavy is a force inside.

Potential first-round upset: No. 5 Liberty over No. 4 Shadow Ridge.

Shadow Ridge stunned Liberty 46-44 on the road Jan. 18 on a tough shooting night for the Patriots. Liberty has too many offensive threats to have another performance like that.

Class 4A

League champions: Foothill (Desert), Sierra Vista (Mountain), Legacy (Sky)

Co-favorites: Sierra Vista and Legacy.

Both teams were perfect in their respective leagues. Sierra Vista is riding an 11-game winning streak. Legacy has won its last nine.

Dark horse: Cimarron-Memorial

Sierra Vista’s toughest league games were against Cimarron-Memorial. The Spartans lost 69-67 in overtime last month and 48-44 on Feb. 5.

Potential first-round upset: No. 4M Western over No. 2D Canyon Springs.

Western earned the final playoff spot on a tiebreaker from the tougher Mountain division.

Class 3A

League champions: Moapa Valley (Desert), Pahrump Valley (Mountain)

Favorite: Moapa Valley.

Both league winners were two of the favorites entering the season. Moapa Valley defeated Pahrump Valley twice this year in a pair of tight games.

Dark horse: None.

Moapa Valley and Pahrump Valley should roll to the region title game and qualify for the state tournament.

Potential first-round upset: None.

Virgin Valley and Coral Academy should win their opening-round playoff games along with Moapa Valley and Pahrump Valley.

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

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