How are your final exams going?
For me, I think I’m almost done filling out my Sunset and Sunrise region playoff brackets on the scratch paper next to my Scantron.
Were you on your feet at the Orleans Arena when Alexis Byrd’s last-second free throws gave Centennial a 59-58 win over Bishop Gorman in the state title game?
Well, be ready to wait until late February for more drama. You’re not likely to see any during the regular season for either of those teams, who will probably run the table in league play.
That makes these girls basketball picks easier for me. So bubble in these picks for girls hoops:
Northwest League
The pick: Centennial
The Bulldogs only beat Mojave by 24 and Shadow Ridge by 41? I guess that counts as a down year on Centennial Parkway.
Runner-up: Legacy
The Longhorns could easily flip-flop with my next pick, though …
Don’t sleep on: Cheyenne
Where did these girls come from? From 8-16 last year to 9-2 this season.
Southwest League
The pick: Gorman
Aaryn Ellenberg is probably the most talented player in the state. And scary enough, the Gaels will be playing with a chip on their shoulders all season long.
Runner-up: Sierra Vista
The Mountain Lions would be competing for a league title if they were in, say, the Northeast. But they’ll still make a good postseason run.
Don’t sleep on: Bonanza
Alice Pitts is a track star, and it shows as she runs by people on the basketball court.
Northeast League
The pick: Canyon Springs
It’s hard not to go with the only team with a winning record.
Runner-up: Desert Pines
Might not be a rebuilding year for the Jags after all; they’ve won four in a row.
Don’t sleep on: Las Vegas
The Wildcats’ loss to Canyon Springs by one point — as well as two losses to Desert Pines by a combined 10 — show they’ll be in the hunt until the end.

Southeast League
The pick: Green Valley
Clearly the third-best team in Southern Nevada, and the best in the Southeast, too.
Runner-up: Liberty
Key games will be Jan. 21 and Feb. 9 against Silverado.
Don’t sleep on: Silverado
Shea Collins and the rest of the Skyhawks should be heard from come playoff time.
Class 3A Southern League
The pick: Boulder City
I know, the Eagles got blown out at Virgin Valley last week. Consider it an aberration.
Runner-up: Virgin Valley
The talented Bulldogs might regroup from their puzzling 4-11 start.
Don’t sleep on: Moapa Valley
Have shown potential, but it’ll be hard to beat the other two in this league.
Class 2A Southern League
The pick: Needles
Everyone is back and even better for the defending state champs, who are likely to meet nemesis Lincoln County in the big game once again.
Runner-up: Lincoln County
Like the Lynx boys, this is a fun group to watch when leading scorer Marissa Smerek has a hot hand.
Don’t sleep on: White Pine
All three of these teams might be better than anything in 3A. Alex Hall and Samantha Hibbs make for a dynamic duo.
Class 1A Southern League
The pick: Lake Mead
With most their volleyball players out, the Eagles are loaded with athletes.
Runner-up: Pahranagat Valley
The Panthers are a physical group that won’t be pushed around.
Don’t sleep on: Beatty
Kaci Schroeder will carry the Hornets to plenty of big wins this season.

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