Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009 | 6:06 p.m.
Despite a last-minute delay and change of opponent from Canyon Springs to Desert Pines, the Silverado boys basketball team is ready for the challenge of navigating through the eight-team Sunrise Regional playoffs.
After forfeiting three games because of using ineligible players, Desert Pines — the former No. 1 seed in the Northeast Division — was dropped to the No. 3 seed on Tuesday to leave the tournament bracket in flux.
Eldorado became the new No. 1 seed and will face Coronado; Canyon Springs moved up to No. 2 spot to host Liberty and Silverado must now prepare for Desert Pines. The Las Vegas High at Foothill game is the only game to remain unchanged.
All boys games were moved to Wednesday to give teams time to prepare for their new opponents. Silverado guard Ali Sabra said the Skyhawks won't be bothered by the shake-up.
"We're prepared," Sabra said. "To get to the end you have to beat the best teams anyway. If (Desert Pines) is really any good we would have had to play them anyway."
Desert Pines began an internal investigation on Friday as to the use of an ineligible player in wins against Canyon Springs on Dec. 20, Chaparral on Jan. 6 and Las Vegas on Jan. 8. The forfeit of those three games dropped the Jaguars to an 8-4 record and third place in the division behind Eldorado (9-3) and Canyon Springs (8-3).
Donnie Nelson, assistant director of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, the governing body for prep sports in Nevada, said last minute-changes to the tournament bracket are rare, but an extra day of practice should even the playing field for the six teams that now face new opponents.
"We determined that six of the eight teams (in the Sunrise Region) were put at a disadvantage by having to play new opponents on very short notice," Nelson said. "In order to keep the integrity of the bracket, we had to allow those teams time to prepare."
While Silverado senior shooting guard Wade Collie agreed with Sabra that the 'Hawks will be ready to go on Wednesday, he was happy to have the extra day to recover and refocus.
"It was weird to be preparing for a game and then hear we have practice," Collie said. "It won't bother us any. In fact, it will actually help us. We can get back in the gym and make sure we're ready to go. No matter who we play, we want to play smart, play hard and play together."