On both the boys and girls side of the Division I North, the Rail City’s cross-town rivals Reed and Spanish Springs are set for a clash in their season finales with a lot on the line for each team's playoff hopes.
The first game of the Friday slate at Spanish Springs High pits the Lady Cougars against Reed. While SSHS is locked into the High Desert League’s third seed, setting up a rematch of last year’s first-round 41-36 road loss versus Carson, the course for the Raiders to defend their 2011-2012 state championship can take a detour depending on Friday night’s outcome.
A win by the Raiders would ensure RHS the HDL’s top seed, setting up a matchup at home against the No. 4 team out of the Sierra League (currently Wooster, with Damonte Ranch and Galena still alive). However, a loss by the Raiders and a win by Reno at home against McQueen would drop RHS into a tie with the Huskies. In that case, Reno would own the tiebreaker with a pair of victories over Spanish Springs, the next best common opponent in the HDL, thus making Reno No. 1 and Reed No. 2.
“For the playoffs, we definitely want the No. 1 seed,” Reed coach Sara Schopper-Ramirez said. “If we get the No. 1 seed, then we’ll play either Carson or Spanish Springs, if we make it to the second round. That puts us in the opposite bracket of Manogue, which has gotten a lot stronger toward the end of the year. They’re playing with a lot of confidence and so is Reno, so hopefully we can make it to the final game and let Manogue and Reno beat up on each other before then. If that happens, anything is possible.
“If we have to go through Manogue first, their confidence is so high right now because they beat Reno and the last time we played them we had Gabby Williams, I think they’d be really pumped to play us. Of course anyone would want the top seed, but that is definitely the best scenario for us. We can’t look too far ahead though.”
While the Reed girls are hoping to lock up a No. 1 seed, the Raider boys will be shooting for the HDL’s second slot against Spanish Springs. The No. 2 seed would grant RHS a home game against the SL’s third squad. The Cougars could also grab the second slot with a victory. Spanish Springs is still in with a loss, but would enter as the four seed.
Should the Cougars come out victorious over Reed, a Reno victory against McQueen would force a three-way tie. Based on the head-to-head competition between the trio of squads, SSHS would take No. 2 with a sweep of Reno and a split with Reed. From there, Reno would seize the third seed due to its sweep of the Raiders, putting Reed into a road contest at Sierra No. 1 Douglas. A Reed loss and McQueen win would lock the Raiders at No. 3.
“I think everybody would prefer to play at home as opposed to playing on the road,” Reed coach Dustin Hall said. “We put ourselves in a position where we control our own destiny and we have an opportunity to get a win and get home-court advantage for the first round. It’s not life or death though. You’re going to have to beat good teams no matter where you play them or when you play them. We obviously would prefer to be the two seed just to get the home playoff game, but it’s not like we’re putting all of our eggs in that basket and if we don’t get that it’s a failure.
For the SSHS boys, they will either be No. 2 or No. 4. A loss combined with a Lancers win over Reno would create a three-way knot. In this case, McQueen would take third and the Cougs would fall to No. 4. A Cougars' loss combined with a Reno win would also leave Spanish Springs with the No. 4 seed.
At Sparks High, although the Lady Railroaders are out of the running for the postseason, the boys will be vying for the Division I-A North’s No. 3 or No. 4 spot at South Tahoe Friday.
If the Railroaders top the Vikings Friday and do not slip up in their regular season finale against Incline Saturday, Sparks will grab the third seed. A loss at South Tahoe though would slide SHS into fourth.
“Regardless of the three or four spot, either way we’re going to play two good teams in Lowry and Elko,” Sparks coach Dan Schreiber said. “The game plan is obviously a little different for each, but I think we can play with both teams. It’s just a matter of how it plays out the next two games.
“I think it’s been kind of a culminating thing from way back when. We’re going into it with a 10-game win streak and there’s a lot of momentum going in. We’ve really come a long way since the beginning of the year. I’m kind of looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.”