Centennial girls basketball coach Karen Weitz calls her first unit in practice the “Dream Team” and her second unit “Centennial’s All-Stars.”
“Pound for pound, they go against each other every day,” she said. “I just think that makes them so good.”
Best in the state, actually.
Five years and counting.
The Bulldogs became the first Class 4A girls program to win five consecutive state championships Friday night with a 78-47 victory over Bishop Gorman at Orleans Arena.
Ranked No. 4 in the nation by USA Today, Centennial (31-1) is in line to get an invitation to New York for the Geico High School Nationals tournament in April, during which the country’s best eight teams will play for the mythical national championship.
“It’s an elite program, on a national scale level,” Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association assistant director Donnie Nelson said. “They certainly will be competitive at that level, no matter who they end up facing.”
Weitz has spent the past two decades building one of the country’s best programs, rife with waves of Division I players and backed by an organizational structure that maximizes the talent.
Centennial has bulldozed local and national competition, losing only to Salesian College Prep (California) in Nike’s prestigious Tournament of Champions. The Bulldogs played that game without Arizona State commit Eboni Walker.
They were especially relentless in their dismantling of local competition, defeating valley teams by at least 31 points, starting Dec. 11 with Cimarron-Memorial.
And ending Friday night with the Gaels (23-9), who were playing for their first state championship since 2010.
Centennial again coupled its relentless, full-court pressure defense with selfless ball movement and embarked on a 17-3 run in the first quarter.
UNLV commit Melanie Isbell led the Bulldogs with 17 points. Sophomore guard and five-star prospect Taylor Bigby added 14 points, and Walker, an explosive senior forward, scored 13.
Bentleigh Hoskins scored a game-high 22 points for Gorman.
The Bulldogs flashed five fingers — as in five straight state championships — as they posed after the game at halfcourt for the final time this season before their hometown crowd.
Next stop, New York.
“Just to get cleared (for nationals) for the first time, being able to go with this team, a special team — we never look ahead, we take it one game at a time, but we know the ultimate goal,” Isbell said. “Being able to be a part of this group has just been so much fun.”
Contact reporter Sam Gordon @reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.