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Arbor View relishes first state tournament berth

Updated February 26, 2019 - 7:38 pm

Arbor View’s boys basketball team had to deal with a difficult 49-46 loss to Desert Pines in the Mountain Region championship game on Saturday.

But senior guard Tyre Williams thinks it might have actually worked in the Aggies’ favor as they prepare for the Class 4A state tournament.

“It was a tough loss, but I honestly think it was a better scenario for us,” Williams said.

Arbor View (22-8) got an extra day off, and the Aggies have the added advantage of playing a home game when they host Spanish Springs (23-5) in a quarterfinal at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday. Desert Pines (23-7), which lost to Bishop Gorman in the Southern Nevada championship game on Monday, plays Clark (23-5) in the other quarterfinal at 8:15 p.m.

“It’s good having a last home game, knowing we have a home crowd, home energy,” Williams said. “We’re undefeated at home, so hopefully that takes a part in it.”

Arbor View was scheduled to host Wednesday’s games long before the Aggies qualified for their first state tournament. But the players aren’t downplaying the importance of home-court advantage.

“We get to show off one more time before the season is over for our fans, our school,” said junior point guard Donovan Yap. “We’re going to go out there and win it for them (Wednesday).”

Yap leads the Aggies in scoring at 15.2 points, but he’s far from a one-man band. Senior guard Favor Chukwukelu (13.3 points), Williams (12.6 points) and junior guard Larry Holmes (11.5 points) also are strong scoring options for Arbor View.

“Each night we never know who’s going to step up and maybe go for 20,” Arbor View coach Dustin Clayton said. “It can be anybody on a given night to step up for us on the scoring end of it.”

The Aggies feature four essentially interchangeable ballhandlers orbiting around 6-foot-8-inch, 255-pound junior center Jaylon Lee.

“Jaylon has really played great the last month,” Clayton said. “It’s finally clicked and kicked in and he’s been going hard. His stats really don’t show a whole crazy lot as far as points and stuff, but he’s got double-digit rebounds, he’s got blocks, he’s taking charges, he’s diving on the floor. He’s just been huge.”

A win over Spanish Springs would set up a showdown with seven-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman (26-4) in Thursday’s semifinals at Orleans Arena.

“It’s a big opportunity,” Yap said. “It shows a lot of the work, the progress we’ve been putting in throughout the year and how we’ve developed as a team.

“It’s just a good opportunity for us to go get a ring.”

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4597. Follow @DamonSeiters on Twitter.

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