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FIELDER’S CHOICES: Look for Bishop Gorman, Centennial to repeat at state

This is it. The moment you’ve all been waiting for.

I’m finally going to graduate.

Probably.

Maybe.

We’ll see.

Don’t worry, though. Even if I do pass the Nevada High School Proficiency Exams and walk down the aisle in June, my little brother starts high school in the fall.

Yep, another Fielder is in the pipeline. Our family is kind of like the Dread Pirate Roberts.

And, even better, I’m training him. So he’ll be sure to point out the Tall Poppy Syndrome that exists in Nevada prep sports and the hypocracy of fans celebrating powerhouse public school programs that were built on transfers while simultaneously accusing Bishop Gorman of wrongdoing.

Hiyaaaaa!!! That oughta tweak some local sports radio talk show hosts.

But before all that can happen, there’s some basketball to discuss. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association boys and girls state tournaments are in Reno this week, and I took a break from writing my book about the 2015 football season (“The Year of the Butt Punt”) to make the trip north and check out all the action.

Of course, I saw the weather report and the highs are supposed to be in the 60s all weekend. February is never that warm in the Biggest Little City in the World, so I might ditch out on the hoops and enjoy the sunshine.

Just in case I decide to go fishing or hang out downtown, here are my tournament predictions.

BOYS

DIVISION I

Championship — Bishop Gorman over Coronado

Just for fun, go back and look at Gorman’s roster from the 2010-11 season, which was the last time the Gaels didn’t win the large-school state title. Gorman had one NBA player, one projected top-10 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and five other players who went on to earn Division I basketball scholarships.

I suppose if that team can lose at Lawlor Events Center, then this year’s Gorman team featuring a McDonald’s All American (Zach Collins), one of the top scorers in the class of 2017 (Charles O’Bannon) and a grip of potential D-I players could, too.

Not likely, though.

The Carson-Coronado semifinal should be interesting at least. The Cougars were able to speed up Silverado and Eldorado in the Sunrise Region tournament, but Carson will slow the game to a crawl. That will put the onus on the Cougars to execute their halfcourt offense, and their size inside should be an advantage in that type of game.

DIVISION I-A

Championship — Desert Pines over Clark

Last season, I picked Elko to beat Clark in the final. What the heck was I thinking?

The Chargers have won two straight state titles, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that defense travels well. Desert Pines will have to make shots against Clark’s 2-3 zone, which isn’t easy in an unfamiliar arena setting.

The Jaguars are the most talented team in the tournament — Trevon Abdullah gets to play in his future home at UNR — and I like what Desert Pines point guard Capri Uzan said after his team’s victory over Clark in the Southern Region final: “They’re a young team. We were in their shoes last year. They had a bunch of older guys. So now it’s our turn.”

Truth.

DIVISION III

Championship — Yerington over The Meadows

We are guaranteed to have the Mustangs in the state final, since The Meadows takes on Pershing County in one semifinal.

But Yerington, which hasn’t won a state title since 1989, will have plenty of motivation after losing to The Meadows in the state semifinals a season ago.

DIVISION IV

Championship — Adelson School over Word of Life

The Eagles have topped the Lions twice this season, so I think the third time’s the charm. The teams were tied with 29.8 seconds to go in the league tournament final, and a couple more positive plays could mean Adelson’s first state title.

GIRLS

DIVISION I

Championship — Centennial over Bishop Manogue

The real state title game took place last week in the Sunset Region final when Centennial pulled away in the final two minutes to defeat Bishop Gorman. It’s a shame this is an even year and Southern Nevada only gets two teams in the state tournament because I’d pay to see the rematch.

The Bulldogs are the defending state champs and arguably the best girls team in Nevada history. Reno couldn’t keep up when the teams met in December, and Bishop Manogue didn’t play the kind of schedule it takes to prepare for Centennial.

If Manogue beat Narbonne (California) 16 years ago when Ebony Hoffman was there, I’d be more impressed.

DIVISION I-A

Championship — Spring Valley over Faith Lutheran

Spring Valley and Churchill County probably should be meeting in the final, but the Greenwave (26-1) lost to Lowry in the Northern Region title game, so we get that game Friday instead of Saturday. Many observers believe Churchill County, which features freshmen cousins Leilani and Leta Otuafi, can win. But Spring Valley has sophomores Essence Booker and Kayla Harris. Advantage, Grizzlies.

I wasn’t sure who to pick in the other semifinal until I saw that Faith Lutheran and Lowry have a common opponent in Douglas. The Buckaroos lost 43-39, while Faith Lutheran beat Douglas by 29 points. That’s all I need.

DIVISION III

Championship — White Pine over Agassi Prep

White Pine is the defending state champion and the most battle-tested team in the tournament. Agassi Prep is 1-2 against the Bobcats this season.

DIVISION IV

Championship — McDermitt over Round Mountain

It’s tough picking against Pahranagat Valley, the two-time defending state champion. But if there was ever a year to do so, this is it.

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

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