With the breakup of the 4A schedule, Reed and Spanish Springs have already played one High Desert League contest prior to the winter break. The Raider girls and boys swept their clashes with McQueen, while Spanish Springs was not so lucky against Reno, falling in both girls and boys action.
However, this week marks the first 3A North League games for Sparks, which has been toiling through non-league meetings and tournaments for over a month.
Local coaches just hope all this preparation helps their teams make runs toward postseason berths now that games have a little more meaning.
"I think we're starting to understand things a little bit better," SSHS girls basketball coach Christine Eckles said. "But league play is always fun. Your intensity is always a little bit better. We'll be excited for it."
The Spanish Springs girls will continue to be shorthanded as three starters serve the second week of a two-week suspension and will miss the Cougars' home game against Hug Tuesday and at North Valleys Friday.
However, the Purple and Teal is riding a three-game winning streak without those starters.
"It's been good for some other kids to step up because it gives them meaningful minutes," Eckles said. "All we can hope is that when we go through a bad situation, we can find a silver lining and get better from it. We know we're missing a big part of our team, but if it makes us better and the kids learn from it, then we'll be better off for it. We're going to overcome any challenges put in front of us."
The Spanish Springs boys are the only other local squad entering this week with more than one win in a row after taking the final two games at the Max Preps Holiday Classic in San Diego, Calif. following a couple losses to open the tourney.
It won't be easy for the Cougs to make it a three-game winning streak as they jump back into league play against an athletic Hug squad Tuesday night.
Tuesday will see the renewal of the biggest girls basketball rivalry in Northern Nevada. Reed will get its first chance to avenge last year's regional championship loss to Reno when it travels to Reno High for the teams' first meeting as new league rivals.
"The four games we got in the Bay Area and the four games we got in Clovis definitely prepared us for league," Reed girls basketball coach Sara Schopper said. "We got everything thrown at us in those tournaments, and we prepared and learned from them.
"I'm kind of glad we have Reno (today). We just got back from the Bay and we played the best teams there. I'm kind of excited to see where we're going to be. I think we'll match up pretty well."
The Reed boys should have the most difficult week, playing at defending state champion Reno Tuesday and then having to make the always-challenging trip out to Elko Friday.
The Raiders have already been struggling during the early season, racking up only five wins. Two of those victories came against the 3-11 Sparks Railroaders.
While, the Sparks boys have certainly endured their own struggles so far, the girls are off to an even worse start. Their only win came against 1A Smith Valley.
Sparks starts the league schedule on the road at Fernley Wednesday.