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FIELDER’S CHOICES: Camped out at Cox for state basketball tournaments

I’ve been sleeping in a tent near Cox Pavilion for the past two nights.

Don’t worry, nothing tragic happened.

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association boys and girls state basketball tournaments tip off Thursday, and I decided to camp out to make sure I got in since the “multipurpose venue” on the campus of UNLV only holds about 2,500 for basketball.

The drawback of playing in a “multipurpose venue” that small is that some fans might get turned away by the fire marshal. On the other hand, it should make for a raucous environment over the next three days.

And no offense to anyone at Orleans Arena, the tournament’s former home in odd-numbered years, but I’m looking forward to finally having a packed house for the finals.

Just in case I don’t get a ticket for the games, here are my tournament predictions.

BOYS

CLASS 4A

Championship — Bishop Gorman over Clark

I was thiiiiis close to picking the upset. The Chargers won the past three Division I-A (now Class 3A) state titles and went 1-2 against Gorman this season. If Clark’s 3-point shooters get hot and the crowd gets into it, game on.

But with Chuck O’Bannon, Jamal Bey and Christian Popoola leading the way, the Gaels should have enough offensive firepower to win their sixth straight state title.

CLASS 3A

Championship — Desert Pines over Elko

The Jaguars are untouchable if they play like they did last week in the Southern Region tournament. The only questions are whether they’ll see Cheyenne for the fourth time this season, and how many people will be offended by the Elko Indians’ war chant.

CLASS 2A

Championship — Adelson School over Pershing County

In all seriousness, it’s difficult to predict how the Lions will respond to playing on Shabbat. I think it actually could be an advantage.

CLASS 1A

Championship — Pahranagat Valley over Spring Mountain

Culen Highbe, a 6-foot-9-inch junior, powers the Panthers to their first title since 2013.

GIRLS

CLASS 4A

Championship — Centennial over Bishop Manogue

The two-time defending champion Bulldogs are more of a sure thing than Denzel Washington winning Best Actor at the Oscars on Sunday. But I’m eager to see Centennial’s post players battle Liberty junior Dre’una Edwards in the semfinals.

Foothill draws a motivated Manogue team, which has lost in the state semifinals three straight years.

CLASS 3A

Championship — Churchill County over Moapa Valley

The Greenwave gave Spring Valley fits in last year’s state semifinals and haven’t lost to a team from Nevada this season. The last time Moapa Valley made the state tournament (2003), I was still learning how to walk.

CLASS 2A

Championship — Agassi Prep over Pershing County

Talk about a tough road. The Stars have to get past two-time defending state champion White Pine just to reach the title game.

CLASS 1A

Championship — Eureka over Owyhee

The Vandals are 2-1 against the Braves this season, including an 18-point win in the Northern Region title game.

Contact Fielder at Fielder@nevadapreps.com. Follow @FielderNVP on Twitter.

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