Reno High adopted the belief this week that to be the best it must beat the best.
But what if the Huskies already were the best team in the state?
They certainly were Thursday night in beating perceived favorite Centennial, 53-44, in the girls Division I semifinals at the Orleans Arena.
Unfazed by an early-season loss to the Bulldogs and in a hostile environment where its student section was outmanned 200 to eight, the Huskies knocked off Centennial for a second straight year to get to the state championship.
"Our girls believe in themselves," Reno coach Shane Foster said. "That right there is the best team, coming in, everyone said."
Now, Reno will look to finish what it did not last year in a final loss to rival Reed. The Huskies will face Bishop Gorman at 6 p.m. tonight at the Orleans Arena. Gorman twice beat Centennial during the regular season but lost handily to the Bulldogs in last week's regional final.
"One game at a time," senior Gigi Hascheff said. "Just because this game is over and we won doesn't mean (today) is going to be a breeze. We have to come out to the same mentality, the same intensity, to get a state championship."
The Huskies (26-3) will need the balanced attack they produced in the semifinals.
Mallory McGwire shrugged off a scoreless first quarter to finish with a game-high 14 points and nine rebounds. Savannah Schulze knocked down timely jumpers, including three 3-pointers, and had 11 points.
Shalen Shaw added 10 points and Morgan McGwire had eight and 11 rebounds as Reno outrebounded Centennial, 31-24.
"Everybody contributed," Hascheff said. "It was a team effort. There was no 'one.'"
The Huskies also will need Hascheff -- who did not take a shot in the first half and had just six points -- who was the difference between her team beginning the trek back to Reno today or playing for its first state title since 2001.
"She still had a huge effect on the game," Foster said. "She does so much more than score. Everyone wants to look in the paper and see who scores but being able to handle that pressure, distribute the ball and make sure we take good shots are a point guard's responsibility and she does that."
After Schulze sank back-to-back 3s that give Reno an 18-11 lead midway through the second quarter, Hascheff picked up her third foul and went to the bench. Centennial, which won six of the 10 state titles before last year, went on a 10-2 run with Hascheff sidelined to take a 21-