Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Monday, Dec. 6, 2010 | 5:25 p.m.
There are no easy games in basketball’s Northeast Division.
That’s something the Las Vegas High team learned the hard way last year, often struggling with ball protection in losing several close contests and finishing with a 7-7 league record.
The season was full of heartbreaking close defeats, several of which were the result of turnovers and poor rebounding, Wildcats’ coach Jason Wilson said.
“It really comes down to taking care of the basketball and rebounding,” Wilson said. “We can’t turn the ball over and we have to rebound better than the other team to give ourselves a chance.”
Wilson expects the league to shape up in a similar fashion this winter.
Defending Sunrise Regional champion Canyon Springs returns three of its top players, Valley brings back virtually its entire roster and schools such as Chaparral and Desert Pines have more than their share of athletic players.
“I’m probably a little biased over here, but I would say we have the best league in town,” Wilson said.
Even though Las Vegas missed the playoffs last year and will have its hands full beating the likes of Canyon Springs and Valley, the players know they will always receive an opponent’s best effort every game.
Las Vegas is a perennial Northeast power in every sport, and the athletic department several schools in that part of town model themselves after.
“(Our school) has a reputation for winning, and everyone wants to beat a winner,” Wilson said.
Senior guard George Sanico will be Las Vegas’ primary ballhandler, and junior Phil Dunigan will also see time at the point guard spot. Dunigan, who helped the junior varsity team finish 22-3 last year, is one of three underclassman from the successful lower-level team expected to contribute.
The Wildcats’ top player is junior Hassan Henderson, a 6-foot-4 wing who is also the football team’s quarterback. Another football player, senior guard Travon Langston, will also will a leader in basketball.