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Hoops season full of intrigue

Were you one of the Centennial kids who stormed the court Friday night at the Orleans Arena?

If you were, the NevadaPreps.com guys wanted me to pass along a special thank you for knocking out the power lines to their laptops.

In all seriousness, how much fun was this past weekend?

Could you ever imagine the Bishop Gorman boys would win by one point, the Gorman girls would lose by one, and free throws would decide both games?

As a fan not associated with any of the schools in the Class 4A finals, I say the games were a dream come true.

And don’t overlook Saturday’s fun, either.

The 2A finals had the arena rocking with the Needles (Calif.) girls holding on for a seven-point win over Lincoln County and Needles’ boys edging Agassi Prep by three.

It hasn’t hit me yet that basketball season is over, but it’s time to reflect.

And remember, share your thoughts. But keep them clean and constructive, OK?

All the whining about officiating, name-calling and bashing of high school kids saddens me. Let’s try to be better than that.

Here are my top 10 story lines of the season:


1. One-point title games.

Sure, juicier and more controversial stories are on the list.

But when I’m 65 years old sitting around the Orleans Arena for the 2057 NIAA Class 6A finals, this is what I’ll be telling my grandkids about.


2. Dominance of Centennial and Gorman girls.

There was plenty of doubt about who would win the state title game, but there never was any about what two teams would be playing in it.

Centennial was 14-0 in the Northwest League, winning games by an average of 49.8 points. Gorman was 16-0 in the Southwest, winning by an average of 44.3 points.

3. Absentgate rocks the Sunrise Region.

Because kids were skipping class (thank goodness I’m not a ballplayer and don’t have to worry about it), myriad forfeits were dealt to playoff teams hours before the Sunrise playoffs were set to begin.

Desert Pines’ boys forfeited three league games and Eldorado one, which moved Eldorado into the regular-season Northeast League title. (Heck of a way to win it, huh?)

In a roundabout way, Eldorado proved it was worthy by ending Desert Pines’ season in the Sunrise semifinals.

Eldorado’s girls forfeited seven league wins, falling from the third seed to out of the playoffs entirely.

4. Mia Bell’s dominance.

The valley had plenty of good girls players this season, but one stood out from the rest game in, game out.

Durango senior guard and UNLV signee Mia Bell averaged 26.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists. She had games of 52 and 48 points, hit buzzer-beaters and did just about everything possible for the Trailblazers.


5. Brawl at Bonanza.

Five Sierra Vista boys players and three from Bonanza were suspended for their roles in a brawl late in the teams’ Southwest game at Bonanza on Jan. 23.

All but one of the Sierra Vista players (five games) were forced to sit out one game.

The incident, which occurred following a foul late in the fourth quarter, apparently sparked a separate altercation in the stands.

Sad, sad, sad.


6. Boulder City’s Cinderella run.

After a 13-16 regular season, Boulder City’s boys won the 3A state title.

And they did it by ending Faith Lutheran’s quest for a fifth consecutive and final 3A state championship.


7. Local teams play Findlay Prep.

More than in years past, local teams got their shot at Findlay Prep.

Centennial, Desert Pines, Green Valley, Canyon Springs, Lake Mead, Foothill and Gorman were on the Pilots’ schedule this season.

Findlay crushed all challengers, but the matchups created intrigue.


8. Underclassmen talent in 2A.

This league arguably is richer in talent — boys and girls — than either the 3A or 1A.

Consider Lincoln County’s Dantley Walker, Mountain View’s Justyn Anderson and Agassi Prep’s Quincy Brown all are sophomores.

On the girls side, West Wendover junior Danika Sharp already has committed to UNR, and Lincoln County junior Marissa Smerek could play at the college level.


9. Intrigue in 1A.

Here are fun things to ponder in the offseason:

–Lake Mead will have Landon Littlefield and De’Quan Thompson back to go for a third straight state title next season.

–Henderson International soon could become a power. The Wolverines picked up junior big man Rob Sampson, the shot-blocking son of former NBA All-Star Ralph Sampson, in midseason and have eight freshmen around which to build. Watch out, Eagles.

–If you scoff at 1A ball, I recommend reading Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney’s column on the Lund girls team. A moving portrait of what high school sports should be about.


10. You guys!

That’s right, you all get credit for turning out in droves to comment on so many stories.

I wish the comments weren’t always so negative, but the idea that high school roundball can stir such passion is telling.


See you on the diamond soon. Whenever you see a fielder’s choice, I hope you’ll think warm thoughts of me.

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