Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer take a look around Las Vegas high school basketball by talking about each of the four divisions. They also break down their early impressions of the area's top programs, Bishop Gorman and Canyon Springs.
This win comes with some bragging rights.
Curtis Stewart scored 19 of his 25 points in the first half Thursday night to help the Eldorado High basketball team build an early double-digit advantage and hold off a late charge by visiting Las Vegas for a 64-58 win.
While it’s just the second week of the season, the league victory will surely be beneficial for the undefeated Sun Devils (6-0) come February in what is expected to be a tight Northeast Division race.
For the players, however, the win was more significant than the impact on the standings. It was the opponent on the opposite end of the gym that made the post-game celebration at midcourt that much sweeter.
The schools are located roughly a mile apart in northeast Las Vegas, near Sunrise Mountain. The players likely attended the same middle school and have a long history of athletic competition against and with each other.
The neighborhood rivalry is similar to that of Basic-Foothill in Henderson, or Bishop Gorman-Palo Verde in Summerlin. It’s just this rivalry doesn’t receive as much publicity.
The athletes from both teams often play pickup games against each other at Lewis Family Park, meaning the next time they gather, the Sun Devils’ players will have a leg-up on the friendly trash talk.
“We have that familiarity with each other,” said Eldorado’s Markeith Floyd, whose seven points included a pair of momentum changing 3-pointers. “We know what they are going to do, and they know what we are going to do. We just go hard at each other and compete.”
Early in the first half Thursday, it was Eldorado and Mitchell doing most of the competing. Mitchell, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, was virtually impossible in scoring a variety of ways.
The Sun Devils were the aggressor offensively in driving the ball to the lane, and with Las Vegas struggling to find a rhythm offensively, the Sun Devils were opportunistic in opening a double-digit lead last in the first quarter.
Eldorado closed the quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 20-12 advantage and never trail again.
Las Vegas, which entered with an identical 5-0 record, tried to rally late in the second quarter. Eldorado, however, never relinquished the lead, and Floyd drained a 3-pointer right before halftime for a 40-29 advantage.
“We didn’t execute in the first half,” Las Vegas coach Jason Wilson said. “It was a lot of standing around and doing nothing.”
Las Vegas made things interesting in the fourth quarter, receiving an offensive rebound and basket from Hassan Henderson with 1:30 remaining to trim the deficit to 60-58. The Wildcats made up a 10-point deficit in less than four minutes but failed to score the remainder of the game.
“We settled down and ran some things in the second half, but that first half killed us. It was a circus out there,” Wilson said.
Eldorado, which was plagued by missed foul shots late, showed in the win they could be a major player in the tough Northeast. Four teams entered play Thursday with 5-0 records, including defending Sunrise champion Canyon Springs and a talented Valley squad some feel will win the league.
As witnessed Thursday night, the Sun Devils will likely also be major players in the Northeast before it is all said and done.
“We’ll see if we can continue this the next game. We still have a lot to work on,” Eldorado coach Mike Uzan said.
Henderson and Travon Langston each had 14 points for Las Vegas.
The Eldorado is one of the oldest casinos in the Las Vegas Valley, opening in downtown Henderson in 1962.
The casino features table games, slot machines, a sports book, a keno lounge and a bingo parlor. Table games include 3 Card Poker, $2 minimum; blackjack with Royal Math 21, $2 minimum, and 10-cent roulette. There are 439 reel, keno and video poker machines, including several coin games. .
Dining options at Eldorado include Mariana's Mexican restaurant and The Cafe, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner — including a $2.99 spaghetti dinner.