SMALL SCHOOLS: 2A Southern League has plenty of depth, talent

There doesn’t appear to be a clear favorite to win the Class 2A Southern League boys basketball title this season.

What is clear, however, is that the league is as deep and talented as it’s ever been.

“The way I see it is six strong programs trying to fight for four (playoff) spots,” Mountain View coach Ray LeBoeuf said. “From a fan’s perspective, that’s going to be fun to watch.”

Agassi Prep, Lincoln County, Mountain View, Needles and The Meadows all figure to be competitive. Throw in Lake Mead, which moved up to 2A after finishing second in the state in 1A last year, and the eight-team league figures to be a race to the finish.

“I’ve been at The Meadows for 10 years, and usually there’s one or two dominant (2A) teams,” Mustangs coach Gary Hannig said. “This year, it goes to about six. It’s going to be a battle just to get in the playoffs.”

Guard play should be the strength for most teams in the league.

Lincoln County returns last year’s 2A State Most Valuable Player in senior guard Dantley Walker, who averaged 32.5 points and 9.6 assists per game.

But Walker is the only starter the Lynx bring back from a team that reached the 2A state title game, so the door could be open for another team to make a run.

Needles returns three starters from a team that reached the state semifinals, including junior guard Michael Hills, who was a first-team all-state pick.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Senior guard Justyn Anderson is back to lead Mountain View after averaging 26.3 points last season. Meanwhile, The Meadows has a trio of dangerous perimeter shooters in Garrett Gosse, Austin Brown and Max Newman.

Lake Mead’s only returning starter, sophomore point guard L.J. Yamzon, helped the Eagles reach the 1A state final last year.

“The guard play is really solid in this league. Everyone has great players returning,” Hannig said.

Agassi Prep’s focus should be in the paint, led by senior post player Quincy Brown, yet another returning first-team all-state selection.

After playing in a 1A league last season in which only four of the 11 teams finished above .500, Lake Mead coach Jeff Newton is anxious to coach in the loaded 2A.

“The beauty of the 2A league is the competitiveness,” Newton said. “There’s not as much separation of talent from top to bottom. It’s a challenge every night.”

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