Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 | 12:30 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer discuss their way through the Sunrise and Sunset playoff brackets. They disagree on the early rounds, but come to a consensus on who will advance to the state championship.
Although the Gaels scored a 17-point victory over Palo Verde in the semifinals Thursday, no one on the team was happy about the way they played. Gorman felt its defense was lackluster, which allowed Palo Verde to stay in the game for too long.
Gorman more than shored up its mistakes against Sierra Vista and cruised to an 84-66 victory.
“We were frustrated last night,” Bishop Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “Tonight, I think we did a much better job. Tonight, we were a lot more patient on offense against their zone and it really paid off.”
Gorman captured its third straight Sunset title and clinched a spot in the state tournament next week at the Orleans Arena. Sierra Vista is relegated to a play-in game against Eldorado Tuesday at Del Sol High for the final spot in state.
Unlike their previous two meetings with the Gaels, the Mountain Lions never led or threatened Friday. Gorman grabbed three times more rebounds than Sierra Vista and had a 50-28 halftime lead.
“We played better,” junior guard Rosco Allen said. “We really got our game face back on.”
As usual, junior guard Shabazz Muhammad was at the forefront of the effort. Muhammad had one of the best halves of his high school career to start the game.
He scored 27 of his 31 points in the opening 16 minutes and once again made it clear no one on the court was quite on his level.
“We’ve seen him do pretty incredible things, but we could tell before the game that he was ready to go,” Rice said. “He was frustrated last night as well. He would hardly even look at any of the coaches before the game, so we just knew he was in the zone and ready to go.”
The same could be said for Allen, who was responsible for the Gaels early 10-4 advantage. Allen scored seven of Gorman’s first 10 points and was also a presence on the defensive end.
He finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.
“It’s pretty impressive what he does,” Rice said. “I think sometimes he doesn’t get the credit he deserves on this team.”
Sierra Vista’s Viko Noma’aea and Maiscei Grier combined for 41 points but shot a low percentage. The Mountain Lions also got limited chances for second-chance points with the Gaels Ronnie Stanley and Ben Carter combining for 16 rebounds inside.
That’s another area Gorman didn’t excel in against Palo Verde but improved in the championship game.
“We’re one more step away from state,” Allen said. “We got a good win and it gives us motivation to keep going.”