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July 28, 2014

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high school basketball:

Elijah Smith guides Foothill past Green Valley

Senior guard scores 40 points as Falcons avenge last year’s postseason defeat

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Leila Navidi

Chris Echols of Foothill goes up for a basket during their boys basketball game at Basic High School in Henderson on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.

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The playoff pod

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Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer fill out their brackets for the Sunset and Sunrise regional tournaments.

Elijah Smith poured in 40 points to lead Foothill to an 89-69 victory over Green Valley on Tuesday in the first round of the Sunrise Regional tournament.

“He played under control and ran the ball team the way the point should run it,” Foothill coach Kevin Soares said of Smith. “This is going to give him a lot of confidence. This will give him an idea on how to keep the ball club under control.”

The Falcons led by five after the first quarter, before running away with the game in the second. Foothill built a 16-point halftime lead and never looked back.

“We held them at bay for the rest of the way,” Soares said.

It was a little bit of revenge for the Falcons, who were bounced last year in the Sunrise Regional championship by the Gators.

Soares said his team — especially the returners — wanted to win this game, solely on avenging last season’s defeat.

The Falcons had already defeated the Gators twice this season (68-51 on Dec. 12 and 76-42 on Jan. 3), but winning in the state playoffs only makes things a little sweeter.

“This is a huge statement game,” Soares said.

The Falcons (23-5) draw Valley, which won its first-round game against Basic 81-60, in the Sunrise region semifinal at Green Valley on Thursday.

“We have pieces (to make a run),” Soares said. “As long as our team keeps playing the way we’re playing (at the moment), we’ll definitely make a run at state.”

Troy Cooper led Green Valley with 25 points, while Tyler Roberts finished with 22.

Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or [email protected]. Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos.

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