It took a final possession and rattled-home 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining to crown a champion of last season’s Legacy Tip-Off Classic boys basketball tournament.
“It was a super game — almost epic,” Legacy coach and tournament director Jack Tarango said. “Just back and forth. Great championship game.”
Even with six fewer teams participating this year, including defending champion Wasatch Academy (Utah), Tarango is hopeful this year’s version provides a similarly electrifying experience for fans and players in the tournament’s sixth year.
The 14-team Tip-Off Classic, featuring nine local teams, begins at 4 p.m. Thursday. The championship game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday. All games will be at Legacy High.
“You always want tournaments to succeed,” Tarango said. “You’re looking for good matchups and a quality championship game. Last year was a dynamite game. It came down to the buzzer.”
Centennial, which lost 65-61 to Wasatch in last season’s final, and Clark highlight the local teams in this year’s field. Both return several Division I prospects and could meet for the tournament title.
“If it’s Clark and Centennial, it again could come down to the final possession of the game,” Tarango said. “But I do think some of the other teams are going to step up and play hard.”
The Bulldogs are led by senior Troy Brown, a recent Oregon signee who racked up 33 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort in the title game last season. The 6-foot-7-inch point guard — ranked the nation’s 18th overall prospect on ESPN.com — will be the tournament’s top player and will be joined by teammates Darian Scott (a Missouri State commit) and Isaiah Banks.
The Chargers won the past three Division I-A state titles and return 10 lettermen. Sophomore guard Sedrick Hammonds, who has scholarship offers from Arizona State, Creighton, Fresno State, UNR, Utah State and Wyoming, will lead a youthful yet experienced Clark roster.
Coral Academy, Green Valley, Legacy, Mojave, Shadow Ridge, Silverado and Valley round out the local teams. The five nonlocal schools in the field are Canyon View (Utah), Clovis East (California), Knight (California), Lutheran (Colorado) and Robert Bateman (British Columbia).
“I’m expecting good basketball games,” Tarango said. “The bracket will sort of play itself out, where you’ll get good matchups. Whoever it is in the championship, it will be a quality game. …
“I’m looking forward to a good tournament. Hopefully, the city of Las Vegas shows itself and checks out some good basketball.”
MARTELL FINALIST FOR NATIONAL AWARD
Bishop Gorman senior quarterback Tate Martell was named a finalist for the 2017 U.S. Army Player of the Year Award, given annually to “the nation’s most outstanding high school senior football player.”
Martell was one of six finalists and was the only player from Nevada.
The winner will be announced during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Awards Show on Jan. 6 in San Antonio.
Centennial senior Jacob Austin to Adams State (Colorado) for men’s lacrosse.
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at email@example.com or 702-383-0430. Follow @af_ferguson on Twitter.