There are five weeks left in the regular season and there are no more crossover games in Northern 4A basketball.
All teams play only in their respective leagues, starting Tuesday. Each plays all the others twice.
On the boys side, Spanish Springs (6-0) has emerged as the team to beat, after downing Bishop Manogue, 68-61 on Friday, That win avenged an earlier loss to Manogue, at a tournament in early December when the Cougars did not have Josh Prizina. Prizina is back and healthy and one of several weapons for the Cougars. He had double-double in the win over Manogue with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Reno (4-2) seems to be the top challenger to Spanish Springs in the High Desert League. The Huskies are a much different team than last season when they won the High Desert, but are still strong inside and out, disciplined and well-coached.
Meanwhile Hug (3-3) has been a surprise this season with first-year coach Keegan Bosier, at 23, the youngest coach in the 4A. Hug hosts Reno on Tuesday in what should be a good test for both.
McQueen (3-3) also has a first-year coach in Keith Crawford. The Lancers are coming off losses to Manogue and Carson last week and are at Spanish Springs tonight. They also no longer have the 6-foot-7 Kejohn Corley.
Reed (2-4) took a close loss (56-50) to Galena on Friday and North Valleys (1-5) beat Wooster.
In the Sierra League, Bishop Manogue (5-1) and Galena (5-1) have the inside track to the title with defending champion Carson (4-2) sure to be involved.
Galena is at Carson on Tuesday for a pivotal game and Manogue hosts Douglas.
Douglas (2-4), Damonte Ranch (1-5) and Wooster (0-6) will likely be fighting for the fourth playoff spot in the Sierra.
On the girls side, Bishop Manogue (6-0) is the clear frontrunner, coming off a convincing 77-31 win over Spanish Springs (5-1) on Friday.
The Miners’ biggest concern the rest of the season is staying focused. They’ve already beaten top contenders Reno (5-1), Reed (5-1), and McQueen (5-1) and will be trying to sharpen their game for the playoffs.
Douglas is in second place on the Sierra side at 2-4.
The High Desert race should provide the most excitement with four teams at 5-1 and North Valleys close behind at 4-2.
Basketball this week:
Tuesday: (all doubleheaders) Girls at 5:15 p.m., boys at 7 p.m. Reno at Hug; McQueen at Spanish Springs; North Valleys at Reed; Douglas at Bishop Manogue; Galena at Carson; Damonte Ranch at Wooster.
Friday: (all doubleheaders) McQueen at Hug; North Valleys at Spanish Springs; Reed at Reno; Bishop Manogue at Carson; Douglas at Damonte Ranch; Wooster at Galena.
Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., Hug at Spanish Springs; Reed at McQueen; North Valleys at Reno; Bishop Manogue at Galena; Damonte Ranch at Carson; Wooster at Douglas.