Following a tumultuous week on the hardwood, this week’s rankings have a much different look. While the same teams comprise the top three, only one is in the same spot as a week ago, and three new squads joined the poll. And, the group of teams receiving votes actually has more names in it than the rankings.
De Beque (10-0) continued its hot start to the season and the Dragons were rewarded with the top spot in the rankings this week, jumping over Cornerstone Christian (11-0). The Dragons face a pair of 2A teams this weekend, beginning with Friday’s trip to Meeker (4-4). The Cowboys had their brief two-game winning streak snapped last week and they have a game on Thursday against a quality out of state opponent, Little Snake River (WY). De Beque is part of a three-way tie for the lead in the Western Slope, with Meeker one game back.
The Cowboys have five players averaging at least five points a game, but only Ryan Phelan (10.5 ppg) is in double figures. De Beque, who is averaging close to 68 points a game, counters with a trio in double figures. Sophomore Brennan Rigsby leads that group with 21 points and 8.5 rebounds. Fellow sophomore Wes Ryan adds 17.5 points, while senior Dillon Baumgardner chips in close to 11 points. The Dragons will also host winless Caprock Academy on Saturday.
Sangre de Cristo (6-1) is one of four teams with a share of the lead in the Southern Peaks. The Thunderbirds will visit Cotopaxi (5-4) who already has two league losses. That game is on Friday, and thanks to last Friday’s weather postponement, it will be the first action for Sangre since last Thursday.
The Thunderbirds have a very talented trio of scorers who account for 42 of the team’s 54 points per game. Cole Christensen leads the way at 16.6 points, followed by Jake Slane at 14.4, and Manuel Lopez at 10.9. Cotopaxi leans heavily on Chance Gulliford, who tallies 24 points and better than 16 rebounds a game. Sangre de Cristo has won the last six meetings, including a 52-50 decision in districts last season. Gulliford led all scorers with 25 points, while Christensen (17) and Lopez (12) each had double figures for the Thunderbirds.
One of the newcomers to the poll, Walsh (5-3) enters at #8. That comes on the heels of a week in which the Eagles fell to an out of state opponent and then dispatched previously fourth-ranked Cheraw (9-2) 68-54. The Eagles built a 20-point halftime lead, thanks in part to a 21-8 first period. That snapped what had been a seven-game winning streak for the Wolverines.
Walsh faces two important Ark Valley contests this weekend, starting with a home game against Wiley (5-5) on Friday. The Panthers ride a two-game skid into Thursday’s game at Cheraw, so the clash with the Eagles could have a must win feel for them. Wiley has four players scoring eight or more points a night, led by Lawrence Lucero at close to 17.
The Eagles will have a short turnaround, as they visit South Baca (5-4) on Saturday. South Baca recently snapped a three-game skid with a win over Wiley last Saturday. That was backed up with a two-point victory at Cheyenne Wells on Tuesday in the make-up of last Friday’s game that was postponed because of weather. The Patriots will also host Granada on Friday.
Ninth-ranked Ouray (5-1) suffered its first loss of the campaign last Saturday to rival 2A Ridgway. The loss not only kept the Trojans from sweeping the season series with their rivals, but it knocked them out of a tie for first place in the San Juan. Now, they must defeat 2A Mancos (6-4) on the road on Friday to keep any realistic shot at a league crown alive.
Scout Manley, Ouray’s leading scorer at nearly 14 points a game, did not play in the loss to Ridgway, pushing the scoring load to Jackson Leo and Zach Briggs, who each had a dozen. On the season, Leo averages 11 a game, and Briggs is deeper on the chart at just over five a night. Mancos, who took two games from the Trojans last season, has won two straight since a three-game skid prior to the break. Vassar Stephens (13.8 ppg), Caden Showalter (11.0 ppg), and Show Showalter (10.0 ppg) provide most of the scoring for the Bluejays.