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FIELDER’S CHOICES: All that’s left are memories … and a not-so-long wait till next year

A somber message greets visitors to NevadaPreps.com under the scoreboard, and it won’t change for the rest of the summer.
“There are no games today.”
I’ll have to satisfy my hunger with American Legion baseball and AAU basketball.
But before you know it, we’ll be back in the heat for two-a-days.
Here are some things to remember the year by.
Please share your thoughts. What will you remember the year in high school sports for?

Repeat champions

The sustained dominance of several repeat state champions stood out in each season.
By my count, 11 Southern Nevada teams won repeat state titles in team sports: Bishop Gorman baseball (fourth straight in Class 4A), Virgin Valley baseball (second straight in 3A), Needles baseball (second straight in 2A), Needles softball (third straight in 2A), Palo Verde boys swimming (second straight in 4A), Lake Mead boys basketball (second straight in 1A), Needles girls basketball (second straight in 2A), Centennial girls soccer (second straight in 4A), Silverado boys bowling (second straight in 4A), Moapa Valley football (second straight in 3A) and Gorman girls tennis (fourth straight in 4A).
 
Watch out, Bill Russell, John Wooden and Yogi Berra.
 
Gorman baseball is coming after your dynasties.
Not to mention Whittell girls volleyball.

Proposed realignment
Many of you did your best Carlos Zambrano impression in response to the NIAA’s proposed realignment into Divisions I, II and III.

While it’s easy to understand why folks at historic schools like Basic, Clark and Western are upset, something has to be done. The state is not big enough to support four classes — just ask the dwindling 3A.
No matter what the NIAA does, someone will have a beef.
Just be glad we still can play in these economic times.

Inspirational stories

Thank goodness for Hadrien Saperstein, LaQuan Phillips and Bethany Smith.
Their stories reminded us that profound personal courage and triumph can define the human condition through the prism of sports.
They reminded us that high school sports still can bring out the best in people.

Ugliness
We also were reminded that high school sports can bring out the worst in people, especially when adults get involved.

See soccer lawsuits, brackets in multiple sports being redrawn because of illegitimate forfeits, a missing-funds scandal, a fight in the stands at basketball, and the constant warring among posters.

Expansion
Desert Oasis was the 4A newcomer this year, and Sunrise Mountain will join the party next year.

Some argue rivalries dissipate and the talent pool is thinned out as more schools join the scene.
But the positive side of expansion is increasing the long-term competitiveness in all sports and raising Nevada’s high school sports profile nationally.

Palo Verde football

Sure, the Panthers didn’t win state — they lost 13-12 to McQueen at UNR in a game that could have been theirs.
But Darwin Rost’s team gets on the list because it captivated football fans in Southern Nevada all season.
The Panthers stomped on star-laden teams like Gorman (50-14) and Las Vegas (42-21) on the way to the state final.

Basketball thrillers

One point decided both 4A basketball state finals.
The Gorman boys beat Palo Verde by one, the Centennial girls beat Gorman by one, and free throws decided both games.
The thrills these state tournaments provided had me running around the Orleans Arena hyperventilating.

Findlay Prep
OK, the Pilots don’t play in the NIAA.

But winning the National High School Invitational, going 33-0 to finish as the consensus No. 1 team in the nation and sending Avery Bradley to the McDonald’s All-American game deserves mention.

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