The Legacy Tip-Off Classic shrunk in size this season. But what the boys basketball tournament lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality.
“If you try to expand too much,” Legacy coach and tournament organizer Jack Tarango said Tuesday, “sometimes things get watered down.”
The Tip-Off Classic, in its fourth year, opens Thursday and will feature a traditional 16-team bracket with all the games taking place at Legacy. Last year’s tournament had 20 teams participating in two brackets with games at three North Las Vegas high schools.
Part of the reason for the cutback, Tarango said, is many local teams did not receive their schedule until the summer due to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association realignment process.
“A lot of the teams that were thinking about getting in couldn’t get in because they were already scheduled games and they couldn’t move them,” Tarango said. “By the time people were all set, I didn’t feel it was right to ask for more.”
Despite the scheduling obstacles, Tarango still landed two marquee local teams in Centennial and defending Division I-A state champion Clark — along with Villa Park (Calif.) and Wasatch Academy (Utah) — to headline the event. The title game is 7 p.m. Saturday in Legacy’s main gym.
Centennial features two Division I signees in forward Garett Scheer (Air Force) and guard Darrian Traylor (UC Irvine) in addition to 6-foot-6-inch guard Troy Brown, one of the nation’s top players in the class of 2017. Clark, meanwhile, is led by its senior backcourt of Colby Jackson and Carter Olsen.
Villa Park reached California’s Southern Section Division I-AA title game last season, while Wasatch Academy is the two-time defending Utah 2A state champion and returns after winning the Financial Bracket at last year’s Tip-Off Classic. Senior guard Cody John and guard Koby McEwen, a four-star recruit by Rivals.com in the class of 2016, each average 16.7 points for Wasatch.
“It’s nice to have more of a local flair. It may not have grown in the number of teams, but it’s becoming more of a happening,” Tarango said. “There will be pretty good crowds. It’ll be festive. Teams are excited that they’re opening up their year. They may have one game in so far, but it’s a good testing ground early to see where you’re at.”
■ JONES CRACKS TOP 100 — Bishop Gorman senior tight end Alize Jones was the only player from Nevada in Rivals.com’s top 100 when the recruiting website released its latest rankings Monday.
Jones was listed No. 70 overall and is the nation’s No. 2 tight end prospect. The 6-4, 226-pound UCLA commit has 41 receptions for 930 yards and 13 touchdowns.
■ AGGIES MOVE UP — The Arbor View girls soccer team moved up four spots to No. 23 in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. The Aggies, who won their third straight Division I state title last month, are ranked No. 4 by the NSCAA in Region VI.