Centennial girls basketball coach Karen Weitz appeared relieved Monday night. Relieved that the monotony of the regular season — and region tournament — is a thing of the past.
Relieved that the Class 4A state tournament begins later this week.
“I think we’re ready,” she said. “I think they’re ready to go.”
Sounds like an understatement.
The Mountain Region champion Bulldogs coasted to an 86-51 victory over Desert Region champion Bishop Gorman on Monday in the Southern Nevada championship game at Valley HighSchool. In turn, Centennial (29-1) earned a bye into the Class 4A state semifinals, which begin Thursday at Orleans Arena.
Tournament quarterfinal play starts Wednesday at Arbor View, and the Gaels (21-8) will play Mountain Region runner-up Canyon Springs.
“We have 15 kids that get after it every single day, and no matter what the teams are and no matter how we mix them up, they’re competitive,” Weitz said. “That’s our strength. It’s hard for other teams to match because they don’t have that head-to-head competition that we can put on every day.”
No, they don’t.
The Bulldogs — equipped with a starting lineup full of Division I players and multiple Division I reserves — spent the regular season dominating local and national competition en route to the No. 5 national ranking from USA Today. They overwhelmed Gorman on Monday with their ball movement and defensive pressure and led by double figures for the majority of the 32 minutes.
Sophomore guard Taylor Bigby had 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals for the Bulldogs. Aishah Brown and Melanie Isbell added 13 points apiece.
Bentleigh Hoskins led the Gaels with 15 points.
Time now to win.
Or go home.
“We’re super excited (for state),” Bigby said. “Especially because nobody wants to see us win, but our parents and our coaches. All we’ve got is us.”