Only two victories separate teams from next weekend's Great 8 round of the boys state basketball tournaments, ramping up the pressure for regional tournament play Friday and Saturday.
Defending state champions Sterling
(Class 3A) and Holly
(1A) are undefeated and top seeds headed into this weekend's contests. The defending 2A champion, Holyoke
, lost in the first round of district play and missed out on qualifying for regionals.
Each of the state's three smaller classifications open regional tournament play Friday, with Saturday's championship games deciding who will advance to the state quarterfinals next Thursday. With that in mind, here is a look at the fields in 3A, 2A and 1A going into this weekend:
Defending state champion:
SterlingNo. 1 seed:
The closest any team has come to the undefeated Tigers this winter was last weekend, when Resurrection Christian (Loveland)
fell to Sterling by nine points in the Patriot League district tournament. Otherwise, the defending state champion Tigers (22-0) have been virtually untouchable this season. Led by standout senior Bodie Hume
(20.1 points per game, 6.6 rebounds) and a strong supporting cast, Sterling is marching into the final 32 as the team to beat.
Two years removed from playing in the state title game, Alamosa
(18-3) is the No. 2 overall seed. The Mean Moose own victories over a handful of 4A playoff squads, but are coming off a loss to Bayfield
in the Intermountain League district tournament.
A Coal Ridge (New Castle)
team that was eliminated in the second round of the tournament by Sterling a year ago is seeded third. The Titans won the Western Slope League and their district tournament, and have won 15 consecutive games. Senior Brandon Herrera
and junior Kevin DiMarco
each average more than 15 points a game, and DiMarco also goes for 10.5 rebounds a game.
Rounding out the top four is Platte Valley (Kersey)
(18-4), which enters state on a two-game losing streak after dropping back-to-back games in district play. Junior Bryson Becker
paces the Broncos at 16.7 points and 11.5 rebounds a game. The team finished second in the challenging Patriot League.
Regions to watch:
Quadrant 3 (at The Vanguard School):
This region includes two teams that won league titles and are eager to climb into next weekend's Great 8 round. Fifth-seeded The Vanguard School (Colorado Springs)
(20-2) is enjoying the best season in school history, winning the Tri-Peaks League title and district crown. Junior Seth Fuqua
averages more than 24 points a game for the Coursers, who were bounced in the first round of state a year ago by Lutheran (Parker)
. The team opens with a 17-win DSST: Green Valley Ranch (Denver)
team that is led by senior Stanley Owusu
Speaking of Lutheran, the Metro League regular-season champion, is the No. 12 seed after falling to Faith Christian (Arvada)
in the district semifinals. The Lions (16-6) ran the table in league play before losing to the Eagles in overtime. Senior Tyler Eldred
leads the team at nearly 15 points a game, and three more players average just more than nine. Lutheran draws La Junta
(17-6) in its opener. Junior Jon Nuschy
leads La Junta with 11.4 points a game.
Quadrant 7 (at Faith Christian Academy):
Any team that overlooks Faith Christian is doing itself a great disservice. A year ago the Eagles were the No. 13 seed, but upset No. 4 Resurrection Christian and No. 1 Kent Denver before falling by one point to Sterling in the title game. Faith Christian (16-6) finished tied for third in the Metro League this season, but knocked off top-seeded Lutheran and No. 2 Kent Denver (Englewood)
to win the district tournament and earn the right to host the first two rounds, with dangerous senior Benjamin Hawkins
(19.3 ppg) leading the charge.
Faith Christian opens with a Centauri (La Jara)
(9-11) team which handed No. 2 Alamosa one of its three losses this season but enters state on a three-game losing streak.
The other side of the bracket features another Metro League power in No. 11 Kent Denver (18-4), which lost to Faith Christian just a few days ago. The Sun Devils will be seeking even more revenge after falling to the Eagles in the state semifinals last March. Juniors James Doyle
(16.8 ppg) and Coby Gold
(14.6) have guided the Sun Devils on offense all season.
Kent Denver opens with Jefferson (Edgewater)
(17-5), which finished fourth in the Frontier League. Senior Nehemiah Baustian
has been one of 3A's top scoring threats this season.MaxPreps Colorado Class 3A state bracketClass 2A
Defending state champion:
HolyokeNo. 1 Seed: Crowley County (Ordway)Overview:
After falling in the regional title game last season, Crowley County went out and simply took care of business this season. The Chargers (21-0) handled their business night in and night out, rolling through league play and even posting a victory over 3A's No. 5 seed The Vanguard. Senior Bradley Carnes-Clabey
averages a double-double at 15.7 points and 10.2 rebounds, and Crowley County averages more than 37 boards a game.Yuma
(20-2) won only eight games a year ago and didn't make it out of district play, but the Indians regrouped this season. Yuma is the No. 2 seed, and its only losses came to out-of-state teams. It was also one of only three teams to defeat No. 3 Highland (Ault)
(18-3). The Huskies' other two losses (all three defeats came in consecutive games) were to 3A programs, and Highland has won 16 games in a row. Three players average more than 12 points a game, led by sophomore Tate Bessire
at 17.7 points.Byers
(17-4) is the No. 4 seed. Senior Austin Davis
averages nearly 18 points a game for the Bulldogs.
Region to watch:
Region 8 (at Sanford High School)
, fresh off a District 1 title after edging top-seeded Del Norte
52-42, received the chance to host a regional tournament. The Indians won three 2A championships in a row from 2014-16, and made the quarterfinals a year ago as the No. 8 seed.
Sanford (17-5) dropped only one league game this winter to Del Norte, but defeated the Tigers in the final two meetings between the teams. The Indians open with No. 25 Mancos
(15-6), which lost to Ignacio
in the District 2 title game. Sophomore Caden Showalter
averages more than 16 points and nearly 14 rebounds a game to go along with more than three blocks.Sedgwick County (Julesburg)
(19-3) was the top overall seed a year ago and reached the 2A title game before falling to Holyoke by three points. Two of the Cougars' three losses this season came to No. 2 seed Yuma
– once in league play, and one in the District 2 title game.Rocky Ford
(14-8) is the No. 24 seed after finishing fourth in District 6. Junior Christopher Gonzales
leads the Meloneers at nearly 15 points a game.
MaxPreps Colorado Class 2A regional bracketsClass 1A
Defending state champion:
HollyNo. 1 Seed:
Defending state champion Holly (21-0) ran the table through the regular season and District 3. The Wildcats present a balanced lineup with four players averaging at least eight points a game, and the team averages more than 34 rebounds and nearly 15 assists and 10 steals a game. Senior Jesse Gomez
leads the team with 13.1 points and 6.9 rebounds a game.Heritage Christian (Fort Collins)
(18-4) is the top seed in Region 2 after handing Peetz
its only loss of the season in the District 4 title game, 63-62. Junior Josiah Bowsher
averages nearly 15 points a game for the Eagles.
Region to watch:
Region 2 (at Brush High School)
The aforementioned game between Heritage Christian and Peetz switched things up a bit in Region 2. Peetz (21-1) had not had an opponent finish within 10 points of the Bulldogs this season before Heritage Christian withstood a fourth-quarter rally in the district title game. Senior Logan Sircy
leads Peetz as the No. 2 seed in the region, where it will meet Otis
or Deer Trail
for the right to go to state. Otis (13-8) lost to Peetz by 12 points in the second game of the season.
Heritage Christian faces either Arickaree/Woodlin
in the first bracket. Arickaree/Woodlin (16-6) defeated Otis 65-61 to win District 4; Elbert was the runner-up in District 7.
The third bracket features Longmont Christian
(16-6) as the No. 3 seed, where the Warriors face the winner of Genoa-Hugo/Karval
for the right to go to state. Longmont Christian has two players scoring more than 20 points a game in sophomore Dominic Puchino
and senior Michael Voigt
. Genoa-Hugo/Karval (14-8) won District 7, and senior Caid Smith
averages 16.5 points a game.
MaxPreps Colorado Class 1A regional brackets