If one thing is certain after two rounds of the Class 5A boys state basketball tournament, it's that a state championship is there for the taking.
Eighth-seeded Poudre (Fort Collins)
accomplished something no other team has been able to the past three years: oust three-time champion and top-seeded Regis Jesuit (Aurora)
, on the Raiders' home floor no less. That must have been some bus ride back to Fort Collins for coach Steve Hawes and the Impalas.
And how's this for a twist? The last time a 5A No. 1 seed lost in the second round was 2008. Eighth-seeded Regis Jesuit knocked out a certain school from Fort Collins named Poudre. The score was 57-52.
While Poudre's 57-54 victory Friday certainly was the highlight of a frantic second round, it wasn't the only outcome that should have state followers excited for the rest of the tournament. Of the 16 remaining teams, a case now could be made for any one of them to raise the trophy March 10 in Boulder.
Yes, Poudre, Legend (Parker)
and Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch)
were the only lower-seeded teams to win Friday, but a handful of others nearly turned the brackets upside down.
Top-seeded Chaparral (Parker)
needed a buzzer-beater to escape an upset bid by Dakota Ridge (Littleton)
(check out the final shot here
). Ralston Valley (Arvada)
and Columbine (Littleton)
, No. 2 seeds from the Jefferson County League, sweated out three-point victories in advancing. No. 3 Fruita Monument
needed overtime to eliminate Lincoln (Denver)
Also factor in that top-seeded Arapahoe (Centennial)
, although impressive against Grand Junction in Round 2, is without injured leading scorer Tim Haas, who reportedly is out for the duration.
I talked to an official from the Colorado High School Activities Association as the results were streaming in Friday and he couldn't have been more thrilled about all the competitive games. He knew interest in the tourney would be high from this point. The Sweet 16, indeed.
Let's not overlook, though, the impressive run by Regis Jesuit the past three seasons. The Raiders became only the second team to win back-to-back-to-back big-school titles, joining Manual, which won three in a row from 1948-50. Regis Jesuit went 77-8 during those championship seasons and finished 20-4 this year (or 97-12 the past four seasons).
Like last year, three No. 1 seeds eventually could make their way to Boulder for the Final Four, but after Friday it's apparent they are going to have to work for it more than in seasons past. And that's good for Class 5A basketball.MaxPreps Colorado Class 5A boys state basketball brackets