FIELDER'S VOICES: "The most wonderful time of the year": league play

On the radio the other day, an old guy was singing something about how this was “the most wonderful time of the year.”

He must have been referring to the winter sports season in Southern Nevada.

Sadly, a million basketball tournaments calling themselves “(Fill in the Blank) Holiday Classic” have come and gone.

But as some teams have already played 17 games (Cimarron-Memorial boys and Pahrump Valley girls), now is when the fun really gets rolling: league play.

Though most teams have already squeezed in one or two league games, Tuesday’s slate of league action gives reason to up the intensity from here on out.

For players, coaches, referees, scoreboard operators, cheerleaders, fans, bands, student sections, the scribes at, myself and, you guessed it, my homies Eric and Skeet.

And I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop salivating over the spring season closing in, either.

It’s time to put down that chemistry book (dude, why didn’t you drop that class?) and start watching some chemistry on the hardwood.

Here is what we’ve learned from the holiday tournament circuit:

TWO JUGGERNAUTS — It’s quickly becoming obvious that two girls teams are separating themselves from the rest of Southern Nevada.

Centennial is 14-2, Bishop Gorman 8-3.

Centennial has two active Division II signees, Gorman one Division I signee.

Centennial won consecutive Class 4A state titles from 2002-05, Gorman from 2006-08.

Call HBO.

When these teams meet in the Sunset Region title game — which looks like a foregone conclusion — it should be on pay per view.

PALO IS LEGIT — It’s beginning to look a lot like football season.

That is, the Panthers are winning.

Palo Verde’s boys are off to an 8-2 start and reached the title game of the 32-team Las Vegas Prep Championship.

The Panthers lost 71-62 to Serra of Gardena, Calif., in the final, but hey, those guys play in one of SoCal’s stronger leagues, the Del Rey.

SILVERADO DANGEROUS — Silverado’s boys are 13-2 and have already won two tournaments — the National Invitational at Durango and the Pahrump Valley Cage Classic.

Sure, there have been a few cupcakes along the way, but the Skyhawks should easily get to 20 wins before the playoffs begin. Book it: They will surpass last season’s Sunrise Region quarterfinals finish.

MURDERERS’ ROW — How would you like to be a Northwest League boys basketball coach right about now?

You’d be staring at a schedule littered with land mines such as Cheyenne, Palo Verde and Mojave. All three have Division I signees and/or prospects, and have combined for a 26-6 record out of the gate.

TRINITY RISING — The Trinity boys opened the season on a dreadful 0-3 start but have won six of their past nine games heading into their Class 1A Southern League opener Jan. 8 at Pahranagat Valley.

And it’s not just Budweiser Hawkins doing the scoring anymore. Forward Avery Harden and point guard Gage Neuwohner, both sophomores, have come on strong in recent weeks.

TOUGH SCHEDULES — Give credit to the Faith Lutheran and Lake Mead boys for playing tougher schedules than some 4A programs have faced so far.

Faith Lutheran is far better than its 5-11 record. Consider the Crusaders have losses to Silverado, Gorman, Bishop Manogue, Dominguez (Calif.) and Thunder Ridge (Colo.).

At Henderson International’s Rock Holiday Classic, Lake Mead had an impressive win over South Miami Senior in between losses to Ransom Everglades (Fla.) and South Eugene (Ore.).

Both programs are sure to once again be formidable in the 3A and 1A postseasons.

MONDAY TREATS — Two girls matchups Monday carry a lot of intrigue — Centennial at Legacy and Faith Lutheran at Green Valley, both at 5 p.m.

Same goes for the boys teams, who square off at 6:30.

Also, the Boulder City boys visit Basic at 6:30 in a rematch of the Lake Mead Holiday Classic title game, which Basic won 58-43.