Most of the district tournaments are already underway, with the remaining few getting started on Wednesday or Thursday. A total of 24 teams will advance through this round and qualify for next weekend’s regional contests.
DISTRICT 1 (TWO TEAMS ADVANCE)
While there are six teams in District 1, it looks like three are truly in the running for the two regional spots. A loss by North Park (14-4) in its regular season finale allowed De Beque (15-3) to jump the Wildcats in the RPI and claim the top seed in the field. The Dragons will await the winner of Thursday’s pigtail between #4 Nucla (8-11) and #5 Ouray (8-9).
During the regular season, those two squads slugged it out twice in San Juan play, with Nucla taking a 41-36 victory at home in December, and the Trojans returning the favor, 42-30 on their home floor a month later. The winning team trailed at halftime in both of those games. Neither played De Beque during the season. The Dragons have won seven consecutive games, led by Faith Novess (16.5 ppg) and Jentry Largent (15.1 ppg).
As the #2 seed, North Park will face the winner of the other pigtail game, featuring #3 Dove Creek (15-4) and #6 Norwood (3-16). The Bulldogs are the hottest team in the district, winning their last 11 contests. That streak includes two dominant performances over Norwood. Dove Creek won 66-18 on the road and 70-28 at home. Grace Hatfield, who averages 23 points a game, had 34 in the first meeting and 27 in the second.
North Park did not play either squad during the regular season. The Wildcats had won seven straight games prior to their loss to Encampment (WY) last Saturday. Seniors Kayla Jenkins and Devynn Johnson both average right around 14 points a game.
Every game in the tournament is scheduled to be played at Olathe High School. The semifinals are slated for Friday, with the championship game being played on Saturday.
DISTRICT 2 (THREE TEAMS ADVANCE)
There appears to be little drama as to who will come out on top in District 2, as the two-time defending champion Kit Carson (19-0) rolls in having won 71 consecutive games and 117 of its last 119 over the past five seasons. The Wildcats have only had three games decided by fewer than 20 points and they just dispatched the #2 team in the bracket, McClave (12-7) by 30 last Friday.
First up for Kit Carson will be #4 Cheyenne Wells (9-11) who edged #5 Cheraw (8-12) 42-39 in the first round of the tournament on Tuesday. The Tigers needed a 12-8 fourth quarter to claim the win in a game that they led 11-2 after one period. Kit Carson won the regular season meeting with the Tigers 51-13. The teams combined for five points in the fourth quarter as the sportsmanship rule was in play for the entire period. Tess Hornung recorded 26 points and eight boards for the Wildcats, while Kaci Chadwick topped Cheyenne Wells with sevens points and six rebounds.
The other semifinal will have McClave squaring off against #3 Eads (12-8) who was a 49-22 winner over #6 Granada (2-17) in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday. The Eagles jumped in front 25-2 and never looked back in that elimination game. Kaylee Wilson had 23 points, marking the fifth time this season the senior scored at least 20 in a game. One of those came in a 50-46 loss to McClave in the Lamar tournament. She was held to six when the two teams met a month ago, The Cards won that game 47-36. McClave had its season-high five-game winning streak snapped in the loss to Kit Carson. The Cards have five players averaging between five and nine points a game.
All games in the tournament are held at the Lamar Community Building. Semifinals are on Thursday and the placing games will be played on Saturday.
DISTRICT 3 (THREE TEAMS ADVANCE)
Three of the five teams in District 3 got to take the night off on Tuesday, as the only game in the bracket had #4 Kim/Branson (12-7) eliminating #5 Walsh (5-15) 47-22. The two had been scheduled to play their regular season contest less than two weeks earlier, but Walsh was forced to forfeit that game.
The Mustangs will face the top seed, South Baca (17-0), in the semifinals on Friday. South Baca handed Kim/Branson a 57-25 loss three weeks back, really putting the game away with a 20-2 third period. The trio of Alison Wilson (15), Delaney Eskew (14), and Alissa Hebberd (11) combined for 40 points in the win. Tori Goode was the lone Mustang in double figures with 11.
Friday’s semifinal round will also have #2 Springfield (12-7) facing #3 Wiley (11-8). Those two met just two weeks ago with Springfield earning a 55-36 victory. That was part of a five-game skid for the Panthers, who took a 43-40 win over the Longhorns during the Lamar tournament in December.
This entire tournament takes place at Lamar Community College. The semis are on Friday and the placing games are scheduled for Saturday.
DISTRICT 4 (THREE TEAMS ADVANCE)
No pigtail or play-in games are needed in District 4, as a straight eight-team bracket is utilized. They get play started on Wednesday with quarterfinal action.
Briggsdale (18-1) shared the North Central crown with Fleming (16-3) and earned the top seed with a higher RPI and better overall record. The Falcons have won four straight games since their loss to Fleming, with three coming by 14 points or fewer. The lone blowout came against their quarterfinal opponent, #8 Peetz (1-17), 65-28. Briggsdale also won the earlier meeting 64-27. Peetz made news this season when the Bulldogs snapped a 34-game losing streak by beating Caliche. They have dropped five straight games since that victory.
The winner advances to meet either #4 Merino (10-9) or #5 Weldon Valley (10-9) in the semifinals. The Rams and Warriors did not play during the regular season. Merino enters having dropped six of its last eight games, while the Warriors are 5-3 during that same stretch. Weldon Valley is led by seniors Kirsten Wood (13.4 ppg) and Ruby Valle (12.4 ppg). Merino counters with junior Hannah Pejsa-Stagner (8.6 ppg) and senior Lydia Pejsa-Stagner (6,9 ppg),
Fleming opens quarterfinal play against #7 Caliche (3-16), having won 14 of its last 15. Conversely, the Buffs have dropped 11 straight. The Wildcats beat Caliche 65-25 back in early December, with Kendyl Kirkwood turning in a triple-double. The sophomore recorded 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 steals. She also handed out six assists. Fleming had five players score nine or more points in that game, with three in double figures.
The last of the quarterfinal games on Wednesday pits #3 Longmont Christian (14-5) against #6 Prairie (9-10). The Warriors are led by Florida College signee Whitney Echols, who averages close to 18 points a game, to go along with five steals and better than four steals. Longmont Christian had won 10 consecutive games before dropping a pair last week to close out the regular season. Prairie has welcomed legendary coach Maggie Kilmer back to the bench this season and she leads a team that has alternated losses and wins over the last month of the season, posting a 3-4 record during that period.
Northeastern Junior College hosts every game in the tournament, with semifinals slated for Friday and the placing games on Saturday.
DISTRICT 5 (THREE TEAMS ADVANCE)
It didn’t take long for drama to come into play in the District 5 tournament. Third-seeded Arickaree/Woodlin (11-8) bounced #6 Otis (7-13) 32-31 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Trailing by two with just 1.9 seconds to play, the Indian-Mustangs rebounded a missed free throw by Otis and quickly moved the ball ahead to Micah Koolstra, who let a shot go from close to 50 feet away. The ball banked in, sending the home crowd into a frenzy. It should have come as no surprise that the two squads would go down to the wire, as they played an overtime contest just a few weeks back. Arickaree/Woodlin won that game 41-37.
Their opponent in the semifinal on the bottom half of the bracket will be Lone Star (14-2), who ousted #7 Flagler/Hi-Plains (4-16) on Tuesday, 52-27. The stage could be set for another nail-biter, as the Longhorns and Indian-Mustangs needed overtime to decide their regular season affair before Christmas. Arickaree/Woodlin squandered a 14-point halftime advantage in that meeting, finally securing a 59-57 victory in the bonus session. Koolstra was one of three A/W players in double figures that night, scoring 23 points. Abbi Miller and Jerica Salser each added 13. Michaela Kuntz matched the Arickaree senior with 23 points of her own to pace Lone Star.
Top-seeded Haxtun (15-5) received a forfeit from its quarterfinal opponent, Bethune (6-14), who did not have enough healthy players to challenge the Bulldogs. Haxtun closed the regular season with losses in four of its last eight games. The Bulldogs have one of the most dynamic players in the classification in Dawson Knode, who averages 17 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 4.3 steals a game. The senior has recorded nine double-doubles, three triple-doubles, and one quadruple-double this season. One of those triple-doubles also included nine assists.
Facing the Bulldogs in the semifinals will be #4 Idalia (9-11). The Wolves took care of #5 Stratton/Liberty (7-13) in the quarters, 41-29. It was the second victory for Idalia over the Knighted Eagles in a matter of days, as the two squared off last Thursday. The Wolves also won that meeting, 51-30. Maddisen Hoyda hit a pair of threes on Tuesday, helping her finish with a team-high 13 points for Idalia. Idalia and Haxtun did not play during the regular season.
After playing at local sites in the quarterfinals, the semifinalists will head to Wray High School for the weekend. The semifinals will be played on Friday and the placing games are on Saturday.
DISTRICT 6 (THREE TEAMS ADVANCE)
Top-seeded Sangre de Cristo (18-2) was the class of the Southern Peaks league this season, posting a 10-0 mark and outscoring the league by more than 450 points in those contests. The Thunderbirds continued that domination with a 57-16 victory over #8 Creede (7-12) in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Creede had earned the opportunity to face Sangre by beating #9 Manzanola (3-15) 35-24 in a pigtail game. The T-birds will square off with #4 La Veta (11-9) in the semifinals.
La Veta has been without the services of talented senior Kaylee Corsentino, who tore her PCL midway through the season, but the Redskins find themselves one victory away from another trip to the regional round. They took care of #5 Antonito (8-10) 48-38 in the quarters. The Redskins will be looking for a better result than their previous meeting with Sangre this season, a 58-23 loss. Jessica Slane led a trio of T-birds in double figures with 16 points.
The semifinal in the bottom half of the draw has #2 Cotopaxi (18-2) squaring off with #3 Sierra Grande (12-8). The Pirates had an easy go of things in the quarterfinals against #7 Centennial (5-14), beating the Rams 64-30. Cotopaxi led 42-16 at the half. Sierra Grande had a tougher time against #6 Mountain Valley/Moffat. The Panthers trailed by one at the half and then put together a 30-14 second half to earn the victory, 45-30.
During the regular season, Cotopaxi collected a 34-20 victory over the Panthers, thanks in large part to a 12-3 fourth quarter advantage. Abby Corona led Sierra Grande with eight points, while Koylynn Gulliford recorded 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Pirates.
With the opening rounds out of the way, the scene shifts to Adams State University for the remaining rounds. The semifinals are on Thursday with the placing games taking place on Saturday.
DISTRICT 7 (TWO TEAMS ADVANCE)
Two quarterfinals will be played on Wednesday at home sites as District 7 gets things tipped off. With #1 Genoa-Hugo/Karval (16-3) and #2 Elbert (15-3) receiving byes into the semifinals, the other four teams will slug it out for the opportunity to face them.
Fourth-seeded Cripple Creek-Victor (8-9) hooks up with #5 Edison (9-10) for the right to face the top seed. The Pioneers beat Edison twice during the season, once in December (30-19) and again earlier this month (46-43). Hope Davies, who averages just under 26 points a game for CC-V, pumped in 29 in the most recent game between the two. Genoa-Hugo/Karval beat Edison 57-30 during the regular season, but the Pirates did not face the Pioneers. Dixi Lockhart had 13 points for the Pirates in that win over Edison, and Glorya Carr, Brylee Miller, and Ryely Smartt each added a dozen.
Kiowa (8-11) is the #3 seed and the Indians will host #6 Evangelical Christian (5-14) for the right to meet Elbert. Kiowa picked up a 45-32 victory over the Eagles two weeks ago, using a 23-13 second half to gain the final separation. ECA nearly upset Elbert during the regular season, falling 32-30 after the Bulldogs outscored them 11-9 in the final frame. The Indians just faced Elbert last weekend and they were handed a 63-40 defeat.
The quarterfinal games will be held at home sites and then the remaining games will utilize the Colorado Springs Auditorium for the weekend.
DISTRICT 8 (THREE TEAMS ADVANCE)
The teams in District 8 got a jump on the rest of the classification and they are ready for the placing round that will take place on Saturday at Legacy High School. The championship game will feature #1 Shining Mountain (16-5) and #2 Belleview Christian (18-3), while the third place game has #3 Cornerstone Christian (9-12) going against #4 Front Range Baptist (11-9).
Shining Mountain beat the Bruins 42-36 on Jan. 17th, handing them their lone league loss. Belleview Christian held an 18-17 halftime lead, but that quickly evaporated as the Lions outscored them 25-18 in the second half. The Bruins’ Brooke Long posted a double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds to lead all players in both categories. Frances Hilliard led Shining Mountain with 11 points.
Cornerstone Christian went on the road and claimed a 42-34 victory over Front Range Baptist on Jan. 29th. After building a 28-10 halftime advantage, the Bulldogs were outscored by 10 in the second half, but held on for the victory. Bryn Durrill led the Bulldogs with 21 points. The sophomore averages close to 18 on the season. Savana Kascak added 16. Brook Sutton was the lone Falcon in double figures with 11 points.