BOYS BASKETBALL: Weekend Preview
The basketball season doesn’t fully resume until next week but while the schedule is limited a bit this weekend, there are some attractive and important matchups on tap. The games grabbing the most attention right now are the Friday battle between Arapahoe and Mountain Vista in 5A and the Saturday clash between D’Evelyn and Valor Christian in Class 4A.
Mountain Vista (9-0) and Arapahoe (8-0) are the only remaining unbeaten teams left in the big school ranks. The Golden Eagles made a huge statement by hammering Columbine 81-59 on December 18th but otherwise many of their wins are against 4A opponents. The senior trio of Jake Pemberton (17.0), Elijah Valdez (15.8) and Mitch Carter (12.1) pace a balanced attacks. Arapahoe has much more basketball tradition and plays a more methodical pace as they prefer a game in the 50 or 60’s most of the time. The Warriors have scored quality wins against Chatfield (69-61) and Dakota Ridge (65-61). Mitch Albyn (14.0) is the top scorer for the Warriors.
D’Evelyn (8-0) closed December in exciting fashion downing defending state champion Lewis Palmer on the road 73-68. That win followed up a hard fought 82-81 decision over Thomas Jefferson six days earlier so against Valor Christian on Saturday, they’re shooting for a third consecutive high-quality win. Offense is the strength of the Jags as they’ve scored at least 72 points in every game this year led by Luke Stratman and his 29 points per game. The senior dropped in 30 agaisnt Thomas Jefferson and then netted 36 against Lewis Palmer. Valor Christian competed against a 5A heavy December schedule with losses to Columbine and Doherty the only blemishes on their schedule. The Eagles have also beaten Ralston Valley, Arvada West, Rangeview, Castle View and Chaparral this year.
Elsewhere in Class 4A on Saturday, Frederick plays the first of two important Tri Valley league teams against Windsor. The two were considered the leading candidates to land the conference crown at the start of the season but both were inconsistent through December. Each sits one game above five hundred entering conference play. Mead could also be a factor in the league chase. They begin league action against Skyline on Friday.
In Class 5A, the Jeffco league schedule continues with four games on tap Thursday and four more on Saturday. Dakota Ridge, Arvada West and Chatfield are already 2-0 in league play. Chatfield s 7-1 overall and meets Pomona Thursday and Bear Creek Saturday. Arvada West has just one game this week visiting Bear Creek on Thursday. Dakota Ridge heads to Standley Lake on Saturday.
League play also picks up in Class 3A Tri Peaks with games on the schedule in both the East and West divisions. In the East, James Irwin already has the early division lead with three wins in three games but they’re off this week. La Junta and St Mary’s play what could eventually be an important game in the league standings on Friday. The Tigers are 4-3 including a second place finish at their own tournament while the Pirates are 2-3 overall. Senior Daniel Padrnos (14.6) is the only double figure scorer for the Pirates. Over in the west, the first league games of the season take place with games on Friday and Saturday.
Colorado Springs Christian (4-2) and Classical Academy (3-2) are the only two teams above five hundred heading into January. CS Christian played well in a 43-32 win over 5-time defending 3A champion Faith Christian on December 12th but were then thumped by Widefield 67-34 in the final game before the holidays. They remain the conference favorites and open play at home against Salida on Friday and then head across town for a meeting with Manitou Springs next Tuesday. Senior Drew Wilbur leads the Lions with nearly 14 points a game. Classical Academy opened with losses to St Mary’s and Peak to Peak before winning their final three. They open with Florence on Friday. The Titans are getting 11 points apiece from Ben Hooten and Justice Sutton.
The best game in 3A likely pits Holy Family on the road to Eaton on Friday. Both teams have state tournament aspirations and while Holy Family has the better record (5-1), the Reds have played a stronger schedule. Eaton (4-2) also plays Machebeuf and Faith Christian next week before opening Patriot action against Strasburg. The Reds beat both Peak to Peak and Jefferson Academy before Christmas but were taken out by Kent Denver (52-35) in their final December contest. Holy Family also suffered a quality loss in their final game before Christmas in a 60-48 loss to Broomfield. Before that were wins against Grand Valley, Alamosa, Manitou Springs, Academy and Wheat Ridge. The Tigers are getting 15 points a game from junior David Sommers and a dozen from classmate Ryan Willis.
There’s a very limited small school schedule on tap this week but a few quality teams resume action this week. Defending 2A state champion Denver Christian goes to Longmont Christian on Friday and unbeaten Haxtun faces Creek Valley NE on the road the same night. A good rivalry between Stratton and Burlington resumes on Saturday while 1A power Shining Mountain also entertains Holyoke that afternoon. In the Southeast, there’s an interesting matchup between Wiley and Crowley County on Saturday. Wiley has just two wins but both came in the Lamar Holiday Tournament where they lost in the finals to unbeaten McClave by just one point. Crowley County is 5-1 overall and right now is expected to battle Rocky Ford for the 2A Santa Fe Championship.