Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017 | 12:23 p.m.
Don’t be surprised if Las Vegas is home to another national champion high school sports team.
The Centennial High girls basketball team is ranked No. 1 today by ESPN.com, moving up one spot after former top-ranked team, St. Paul IV of Washington D.C., lost last week and Centennial won its third straight Nevada large-school state championship. The final rankings will be released in March.
Centennial beat Bishop Manogue of Reno 97-52 for the state championship and its 57th straight win against Nevada opponents. The Bishop Gorman High football team has won the past three national championships.
“That is pretty awesome,” Centennial coach Karen Weitz said. “What I am most proud about is our state is getting recognition. We’ve always had good players here.”
Centennial’s program firmly established itself as a national brand last season when it received an apparel sponsorship with Nike. That helped the program gain entry into marquee tournaments throughout the season, leading to victories against notable programs such as Christ the King of New York and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Maryland. In mid-January, they grabbed a signature win in a 70-46 blowout victory over No. 2 Clovis West High of California.
Centennial's two defeat came by seven points to St. Paul IV and to Clovis West.
“You always want to be the best in the country. You always hope it would happen,” Weitz said. “It’s about having the right players and the right timing.”
Weitz said Centennial received an invitational to play in the Dick’s Sporting Goods 2017 High School National Tournament, but Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association rules prohibit teams from competing in after-the-season events. It’s billed as the national championship tournament.
Regardless, Centennial’s body of work — a 30-2 record and 10 wins against national opponents — could be enough to keep them in the top spot.
“Give credit to our kids. They made the commitment to play the best and be the best,” Weitz said.