A busy schedule of games got started early this week, as key contests were played prior to Thursday. The weekend slate kicks things up a notch, with many of the top teams facing big challenges.
An unranked team that was receiving a lot of attention has already been the busiest squad this week. Longmont Christian (5-3), who defeated 2A #5 Heritage Christian 38-34 last Friday, could not stay unbeaten in the Mile High league as they fell to 2A Dawson 48-46 on Tuesday. That loss was followed by a 55-46 defeat in overtime on Wednesday by the top-ranked team in 1A, Cornerstone Christian (9-0). The Warriors and Bulldogs were tied at 44 apiece at the end of regulation. Nick Hoist, who led the Warriors with 20 points on Tuesday, was held scoreless by Cornerstone Christian. Lee Saunders picked up the scoring slack with a career-high 19. With Brandt Vos being limited to 11 points, Noah Rumbyrt stepped up for the Bulldogs and tossed in a team-high 13, his second career game in double figures.
The week continues for Longmont Christian with another big game, back inside the Mile High, as the Warriors visit 2A Denver Christian on Friday. A second league loss could eliminate them from title contention, as 2A #3 Highland still looms on the schedule.
As for Cornerstone Christian, the Bulldogs will host 2A Gilpin County on Saturday. They will be favored, and with big games against Belleview Christian (7-2), Mile High Academy (3-0), and #6 Front Range Baptist (4-1) in the next few weeks, staying focused on the task at hand might be the greatest challenge.
Speaking of Front Range Baptist, the Falcons will return to action on Thursday, marking their first live competition since December 13th. They will play host to Lone Star out of the YWKC league and follow that up with a home tilt against Pine Bluffs, WY on Saturday.
Second-ranked De Beque (8-0) makes its 2019 debut on the road against 2A Soroco on Friday and the Dragons will visit North Park on Saturday. The game against Soroco is profiled in the 2A report.
Cheraw (8-1) will put its six-game winning streak on the line this weekend when the fourth-ranked Wolverines host McClave and Walsh. The Wolverines opened the 2019 portion of the schedule with a convincing 62-19 victory over La Veta last Saturday. Colt Honey leads the squad at 13 points a game, followed by Josiah Vasquez (11.4 ppg) and Gabe Montoya (10.3 ppg). Kaiden Holland (8.6 ppg) gives the Wolverines a solid fourth scoring option.
McClave counters with a trio of seniors in double figures, led by Cal Garcia at 12.3 points per game. Carl McKenzie adds 11.3 points and Colin Lindo contributes a double-double of 10.6 points and 11.7 rebounds. Walsh will be looking to bounce back from a loss to Stanton County, KS on Tuesday.
The North Central will have a big one on tap for Thursday night, as #5 Peetz (6-2) visits rival Fleming. The Bulldogs own the league lead, thanks to a dominant performance against Briggsdale last Friday. They backed that up with a 72-70 victory over Merino in overtime, as Bryson Long connected on the game winner against the Rams, who will participate in the same district as the Bulldogs.
Fleming had a rough week, falling at #10 Arickaree/Woodlin 63-34 and 2A Sedgwick County 47-30. The Wildcats had won their final two games of 2018, but slipped to 2-6 with those losses. They are currently tied for third in the NCL with Prairie, and those two will meet next Saturday.
After closing out December with a lopsided loss to 2A #2 Holly in the finals of the Lamar Holiday tournament, #8 Springfield (5-2) got back in the win column last week by downing Cheyenne Wells, 54-25. Both of the losses suffered by the Longhorns this season have been against Holly. They will try to keep that trend going this weekend as they visit Kim/Branson and Granada. Beau Dukes nearly averages a double-double for the Longhorns, leading the squad with 13 points and better than nine rebounds a night. Alex Suarez is also in double figures as a scorer, pitching in 11.3 points a game.
Ninth-ranked Ouray (5-0) will not only look to remain unbeaten on the season when the Trojans host Ridgway on Saturday, but they’ll also be trying to knock the rival Demons from the logjam atop the San Juan standings. The Trojans already own a 52-35 victory over Ridgway, as they opened the season against each other. Scout Manley pumped in 17 points to lead the way for Ouray.