In case they needed any more incentive, the Reno boys have it, as they will be be big underdogs going into the state basketball tournament.
The Huskies will face Bishop Gorman, again, in the semifinals of the 4A state tournament, which starts Thursday at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.
Reno (22-6) plays Gorman at 4:45 p.m. Thursday.
Gorman has won 18 Nevada state championships, including the past five consecutive. The Gaels beat Reno at state last year, 70-39, in a semifinal. When Reno won the North title in 2014, Gorman won their semifinal, 68-27, that year.
The Huskies have been hot lately though, as they beat defending champion Carson in the Northern 4A Regional quarterfinal last week, then beat Sierra League top seed Galena, on a last-second 3-pointer by Drew Rippingham. The Huskies downed Bishop Manogue, 62-51 for the Northern 4A title with a balanced attack.
Reno hit 21-of-30 free throws in the win over Manogue.
Reno senior Kyle Rose said the Huskies are not going to Las Vegas just for the trip.
“We’ve got to approach it like we have a chance of winning it,” Rose said.
He said the team has to forget about last year and not be happy just to get to state.
“We have to have a different mindset. We’re better prepared this,”he said. “We’re a really close-knit group.”
He said the Huskies came out a little flat after halftime against Gorman last year and that cost them.
Reno coach Matt Ochs said the Las Vegas teams are large and athletic.
Ochs said getting his players minds’ right will be one of his main jobs.
“Part of our jobs as coaches is just to convince them that they can compete,” Ochs said. “We can compete if we get off to a good start.”
Gorman (20-9) beat Clark, 64-51 for the Sunset Region 4A title on Saturday.
Bishop Gorman junior Jamal Bey scored all 15 of his points after halftime in that game. Chuck O’Bannon led Gorman with 26 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.
Ochs, who played basketball for Reed and went to state with the Raiders against Clark, said the Huskies can’t worry about who they are playing.
“They need to realize that once the ball goes up, it’s just a basketball game,” Ochs said.
The other 4A semifinal pits Clark (26-4) against Coronado (18-9) at 8:15 p.m.
“I’m excited for the opportunity. I’m glad I get to go down with this group of guys,” Rose said.
The last time a boys team from the Northern 4A won a game in the state tournament was Hug in 2012.
For those going to Las Vegas for the tournament, admission prices at Cox Pavilion at UNLV will be $12 for adults, $6 for students, $4 for seniors (62+) and free for children (8-under), those prices include a facility fee.
Cox Pavilion has 2,500 seats for basketball.
Class 4A Boys State Tournament
Thursday, At Cox Pavilion
Reno (22-6) vs. Bishop Gorman (20-9), 4:45 p.m.
Clark (26-4) vs. Coronado (18-9), 8:15 p.m.
Friday, At Cox Pavilion
Championship, 8:10 p.m.