By Barry Wong
Later in its season schedule, Las Vegas has a five-game stretch where the Wildcats face Clark, Valley, Desert Pines, Santa Monica (Calif.) and Canyon Springs. That gauntlet has the potential to shape the team’s season.
This week, Las Vegas is preparing for stretches like that at the Tarkanian Classic.
“There’s no bad teams in the tournament,” Vegas head coach Jason Wilson said. “You have to show up every night.”
The Wildcats topped Orem (Utah) 63-54 to advance to the Premier Division semifinals. Junior Tyler Bey led the Wildcats with 15 points. Senior P.J. Savoy added 14, while senior Will Loche had 12.
“We’ve set some pretty high expectations for ourselves,” Wilson said. “In order to meet those goals, we have to play against good teams to figure out what we have to do against good teams down the road.”
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF LAS VEGAS AND BISHOP GORMAN’S WINS
Those good teams are of course Valley and Canyon Springs in their league, Centennial in their region and the state champions Bishop Gorman. It’s still unknown of Arizona-bound Ray Smith will be back playing by the postseason, so the Wildcats are continuing to use these early games to redefine roles.
“When Ray went down, we kind of said we have to move on. Bad things happen to good people,” Wilson said. “You’re going to have to accept it (your role), and you’re going to have to excel at it in order for us to meet our goals.”
So far, Las Vegas is off to a 7-0 start. The Wildcats will face Logan (Utah) at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. The winner advances to the championship game set for 2:20 p.m. on Saturday.
In the platinum division, Bishop Gorman topped Overland (Colo.) 72-59. The Gaels will face Putnam City West (Okla.) on Friday at 7 p.m. at Orleans Arena, while Clark fell to a red-hot Lone Peak (Utah) team 93-76.