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December 20, 2014

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HS BASKETBALL:

Sierra Vista boys using holiday tourney to gain experience

Sierra Vista vs. Lynwood, Calif.

High School Game of the Week: Sierra Vista vs. Lynwood, Calif.

The Sierra Vista High basketball team needed this game.

While its 82-69 victory against Lynwood High of California in the Sierra Vista Invitational was important, it was the simple fact the Mountain Lions were playing a game that was more significant.

Large-school classification teams in the Las Vegas Valley such as Sierra Vista are limited to 18 regular season games and two tournaments, meaning there aren’t many opportunities before the start of league competition to solidify a lineup and get players experience.

Making matters worse Sierra Vista is its nine-team Southwest Division. With each team required to play the others twice, that leaves just two open dates on the schedule.

So, Sierra Vista had one tune-up with a non-league game at Coronado before playing an athletic squad Western last week in its second league game. Sierra Vista’s inexperienced showed in an 87-80 loss.

With several new players on the roster, the outcome could have been different if they had more court time together. That’s what makes this week so important.

“It seems like we are going one step backward to go two steps forward,” Sierra Vista coach Kent Johnson said. “We not as close as I’d like us to be, but we are getting there. It’s a matter of repetition.”

The Mountain Lions (7-1 overall, 2-1 Southwest) have won all three of their tournament games, topping Mojave 87-65 on Monday and winning a pair of games Tuesday.

In the first win against Lynwood, Arbor View transfer Maiscei Grier had a game-high 28 points and Viko Noma’aea added 25. The game was tied at 38-all at halftime, but Sierra Vista was able to pull away in the second half.

Now, the Mountain Lions need those kind of performances to carry over into league play.

“We definitely a work in progress,” Johnson said.

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