While the regular season wraps up this weekend, the action is just beginning to heat up. District tournaments will narrow the field from 59 teams to 22 by the end of next week. Each district has its own procedures for setting its brackets, and those will be included in this week’s breakdown.
District 1 is a combination of teams from the Western Slope and San Juan Basin. Since they don’t all face each other during the regular season, the district will use RPI to seed its field. With five teams, there will be a pigtail game prior to the semifinals. That game will have two squads from the San Juan squaring off for the third time this season.
Dove Creek (51st RPI) will look to make it a three-game sweep of Nucla (56th RPI), as the Bulldogs took the earlier meetings, 59-38 and 58-43. The winner will move on to face the #1 seed, De Beque (14th RPI) in a semifinal next Friday. The Dragons took two lopsided victories over Dove Creek in December, outscoring the Bulldogs 143-35 in the two games. They did not play Nucla in the regular season.
The other semifinal will have North Park (37th RPI) squaring off with Ouray (38th RPI). Who wears their light uniforms is still up in the air, as their positions could switch over the weekend. Ouray faces a tough 2A Ignacio team on Friday while the Wildcats play 2A Plateau Valley, who is 16 spots behind Ignacio in the RPI.
The winners of Friday’s semifinals will both advance to the West Regional. They will still play a championship game to determine the seeding for that regional.
The six teams in the High Plains League will be seeded in order of league finish for the District 2 tournament. Cheyenne Wells (8th RPI) will visit Kit Carson (10th RPI) on Friday, with the league title and #1 seed at stake. The teams are a combined 29-5 on the season, with three of the losses coming against the defending state champion, Holly.
While McClave (28th RPI) currently holds the third spot, the Cardinals need a win over Eads (44th RPI) on Friday to lock it up. A win by the Eagles and a Cheraw (21st RPI) loss to Granada (50th RPI) would create a three-way tie for that third seed. If form holds, McClave is third, Cheraw comes in at #4, Eads would be #5, and Granada is sixth.
This is a district that will qualify three teams to the South Regional.
Holly (1st RPI) wrapped up its regular season earlier in the week and the Wildcats will be the #1 seed in the District 3 tournament. They earned an Arkansas Valley title in the process, outscoring league foes 325-170. South Baca (12th RPI) hosts Springfield (41st RPI) on Thursday, and win or lose, the Patriots will be the #2 seed. A loss would drop them into a tie for second with Walsh (24th RPI), but they own the tiebreaker over the Eagles.
Walsh is locked into the third spot, with Kim/Branson (30th RPI) fourth, and Wiley (18th RPI) fifth. A Springfield victory over South Baca would give them a tie with Wiley, but the Panthers already own the tiebreaker.
The top three finishers from this district will participate in the South Region.
One of the more interesting seeding procedures can be found in District 4. While the six members of the North Central League will be positioned according to their league finish, three teams from others leagues are slotted according to their RPI.
Peetz (3rd RPI) is the top-ranked team in the state in the final CHSAANow.com rankings, one point ahead of Holly. The Bulldogs currently hold a slim lead over Heritage Christian (5th RPI) from the Mile High League. Both teams face low RPI squads in their regular season finale, so Peetz should be able to hold on for the top seed.
Longmont Christian (7th RPI), also from the Mile High, is a lock as the #3, as there is a large gap between the Warriors and both Caliche (23rd RPI) and Fleming (26th RPI). Fleming finished its regular season at 7-3 in the NCL, while Caliche, out of the Lower Platte, still has a pair of games on the schedule, so there is a possibility that the pair could flip.
Prairie (34th RPI) can grab a share of second place in the league with a win over Briggsdale (36th RPI) on Friday. The Mustangs enter the game 6-3 in the league, with a split against Fleming. The Wildcats earn the higher seed in the event of a tie, due to a better overall record. Briggsdale falls into a tie with Pawnee (42nd RPI) with a loss to Prairie and the tiebreaker would be the best overall record. That is very close right now. The Falcons can secure the #7 and avoid the pigtail game by beating Prairie. Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, that pigtail looks to be Pawnee and Weldon Valley (55th RPI).
The three top qualifiers from District 4 will head to the North Region. Three teams from that regional will advance to the state tournament.
YWKC League champion Otis (20th RPI) locked up the top seed in District 5 and with it, a first round bye. That puts the Bulldogs in a position where they only need to win one game to get to the regional round. While they get the first part of next week off, runner-up Arickaree/Woodlin (31st RPI) will be busy hosting the first round. The Indian-Mustangs will face the #7 seed in the field, which looks to be Bethune (58th RPI).
Two key games still remain on the schedule this weekend, with Idalia (47th RPI) visiting Stratton/Liberty (32nd RPI) on Friday and Flagler/Hi-Plains (35th RPI) hosting Bethune on Saturday. Those games will determine seeds three through six. Lone Star (no RPI) rejoined the league mid-cycle and was not able to play everyone in the field. The Longhorns currently sit sixth.
The semifinal and placing rounds will be held next weekend at Wray High School. From there, three teams will qualify for the North Region.
League finish will determine the seeding in District 6, with all of the participants coming from the Southern Peaks League. Sierra Grande (9th RPI) heads into the final weekend of the regular season as the league leader, and the Panthers can lock up the title and #1 seed with a win at home against Sangre de Cristo (6th RPI) on Friday. The Thunderbirds can earn those awards with a victory and one more on Saturday against La Veta (48th RPI). However, one loss on the weekend drops them into a tie for second, and two losses into a potential tie for fourth with Cotopaxi (22nd RPI).
Creede (2nd RPI) sits third with only a game against Centennial (33rd RPI) remaining inside the league. The Miners already own a lopsided victory over the Rams this season, so they seem to be a good bet to finish as a top three seed. Right on their heels is Primero (13th RPI), who closes out the season against Cotopaxi. A win by Primero secures a top four seed for the Bulldogs, while Cotopaxi can jump ahead of Primero with a victory.
Manzanola (25th RPI), Antonito (43rd RPI), and La Veta are slugging it out for sixth, with Centennial right behind them. Aguilar (49th RPI) and Moffat (27th RPI) are both looking for their first league win, and the loser of their game this weekend will finish 11th, with the winner coming in 10th.
The three qualifiers from this district will join the teams from districts 2 and 3 in the South Region. From those nine teams, three will earn a trip to state.
With teams from two different leagues, many of which did not play each other, District 7 will utilize RPI to fill its bracket. Genoa-Hugo (17th RPI) is the easy choice at #1, as the Pirates sit 23 spots above anyone else in the field. Elbert (40th RPI), champion of the Black Forest, will most likely be the #2, as the Bulldogs lead Kiowa (46th RPI) by a sizeable margin. Both have one game against a good RPI team and one against a low RPI squad.
The rest of the seeds are too close to call right now. Deer Trail (52nd RPI), Colorado D & B (53rd RPI), Pikes Peak Christian (54th RPI), Edison (57th RPI), and Hanover (59th RPI) are all closely grouped. D & B enters the final weekend with seven victories, only two fewer than their last six seasons, combined. The Bulldogs had not won more than three games in a single season during that stretch.
This district’s three qualifiers join those from District 4 and District 5 in the North Region. As is the case in the South Region, three of the nine teams in that region will make the state tournament.
Fierce competition will be the order of the day in the District 8 tournament. Five of the eight teams are inside the top 20 of the RPI and they will be battling it out for just two regional spots. Front Range Baptist (4th RPI) earned the regular season title in the 5280 and claimed the top seed with that honor. The Falcons have only lost two games to in-state opponents, one in league play to Denver Waldorf (19th RPI).
Shining Mountain (11th RPI) and Cornerstone Christian (15th RPI) finished in a tie for second, but CCA won the tiebreaker after beating the Lions 56-24 in the regular season. That puts Shining Mountain in at the three spot. Denver Jewish Day (29th RPI) and Denver Waldorf also finished in a tie, with Denver Jewish Day owning the breaker, a 56-49 victory over the Spartans. Those two will meet in the first round.
Rocky Mountain Lutheran (16th RPI) as the sixth seed has the potential to be a tough first round opponent for Shining Mountain. The Eagles dropped the regular season contest 38-31. Beth Eden Baptist (39th RPI) draws Cornerstone Christian in the opening round, while Belleview Christian (45th RPI) is the first round competition for Front Range Baptist.
The two finalists from this district will crossover with District 1 in the West Region. Only the two winners from that region will advance to state.