One coach jokingly said he forgot where he’s supposed to stand during games and another says this season is going to be kind of like starting from scratch.
The high school basketball season is underway in Nevada and full speed ahead, mostly.
The 2020-21 winter high school sports, basketball and wrestling, were cancelled in Nevada, due to the pandemic.
And this season, some teams are not being allowed to travel outside of Washoe County, until COVID-19 testing procedures are clarified in some other counties.
But in the North 5A, boys and teams played last week and again on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday, Bishop Manogue beat Carson (72-46), Spanish Springs beat Galena (71-50), Douglas beat Reno and Damonte Ranch got past McQueen (79-71).
“It’s pretty special being back on the court,” Damonte Ranch coach Brian Voyles said. “We’ve talked about not taking anything for granted.”
Reed has five players with varsity experience and coach Keegan Bosier said they are doing a good job providing leadership.
“It’s exciting to be back,” Bosier said. “The kids love it. You can tell they’re a little out of shape and they’re still working on some things. They haven’t played high school basketball in two years.”
He said most teams are unknowns, especially in these first few weeks of the season.
Spanish Springs is the defending North large-school champion, beating Reed in the final in Febuary 2020.
Bishop Manogue should be among the top contenders for the league title this season. Coach Bill Ballinger has height, only one player is under 6 feet tall, to go along with some experience, thanks to playing a club schedule over the summer and fall.
He said parity should be the rule in the nine-team North 5A league this season.
“There’s as much parity as I’ve ever seen,” Ballinger said.
After the Wild West Shootout, the Miners will travel to a high-caliber tournament in California.
“I always want to play the best I can possibly play,” Ballinger said.
Reno coach Matt Ochs said he told his staff he was nervous before the Huskies game last Saturday against Hug.
“I felt rusty. i wasn’t sure where to stand, or what to do,” Ochs joked. “It’s such a blessing to be back.”
Reno has one player with significant varsity experience, Grayson Grinsell, and six sophomores.
“There are going to be games that are kind of chaotic,” Ochs said. “We told our parents that it’s going to be kind of a fun, crazy, wild ride. The good thing is they’re coachable and they play really hard.”
After league games Tuesday, most schools are playing in tournaments next week, then return to league play in mid-December.
League play will be 16 games, with each team facing the others twice, home and away.
The Wild West Shootout is Thursday-Saturday at Bishop Manogue and features some strong teams, including defending state champion Bishop Gorman.
Games Thursday are: 2 p.m,, Jesuit vs. Douglas; 3:45 p.m., Bishop Gorman vs. Folsom; 5:30 p.m., Foothill vs. Bishop Manogue and at 7:15 p.m., Spanish Springs vs. Vacaville.
Games continue Friday at 2 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. with winners bracket semifinals at 5:30 and 7:15 p.m.
On Saturday, games are at 10 and 11:45 a.m. with the championship at 1:30 p.m. The consolation championship is set for 3:15 p.m.
The Wild West Shootout raises money for The Sierra Kids Foundation, an autism treatment program in Northern Nevada, and helps families and kids of all ages.
Gorman is playing for its 10th straight state championship this season.
Bishop Manogue coach Bill Ballinger expects his team to be among the contenders. The Miners club team played in several tournaments outside of Nevada over the summer and fall and gained valuable experience.
Bishop Manogue rolled over Carson on Tuesday; Reno beat Douglas; Damonte Ranch beat McQueen and Galena beat Spanish Springs.
Damonte Ranch girls coach Erica Mckenzie said everything feels brand new about this season.
“We’ve been talking about it a lot in the program. It’s because we didn’t have a season in 2020-21,” she said. “We’re excited, we have a great group of kids.”
She has three players with varsity experience, all juniors.
Damonte Ranch plays in the Cardinal Newman tournament on Thursday, against Archbishop Mitty, which is coming off an 81-7 win over Santa Cruz.
In Washoe County, there are tournament games at Sparks, Reno and Spanish Springs this Thursday-Saturday.
The Brickhouse Classic at Sparks High School is Thursday-Saturday and teams include: Sparks; Hug; North Valleys; Excel Christian; Coral Academy of Science; Truckee; White Pine and Moapa Valley.
At 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Truckee plays Coral Academy; at 4:45 p.m., Sparks plays White Pine; at 6:15 p.m. North Valleys plays Excel and at 7:45 p.m., Hug plays Moapa Valley.
On Thursday, at Reno, Galena plays Fernley (3 p.m.); Douglas plays Elko (4:30 p.m.); Carson plays Lassen (6 p.m.); and Reno plays Faith Lutheran (7:30 p.m.)
There are also games at Spanish Springs starting at 3 p.m. Thursday. McQueen plays Springs at 4:30 p.m., and Spanish Springs plays Spring Cree at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Tournaments games continue Friday at both Reno and Spanish Springs, starting at 3 p.m.. On Saturday, at Reno, Carson plays Spring Creek at 9 a.m., Douglas plays Faith Lutheran at 10:30 a.m., Galena plays Elko at noon and Reno plays Lassen at 1:30 p.m.
Games also start at Spanish Springs at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Jim Krajewski covers high school and youth sports for the Reno Gazette Journal. Follow him on Twitter @RGJPreps. Support his work by subscribing to RGJ.com.