As the regular season reaches its conclusion this weekend, the focus shifts towards next week’s district tournaments. Each district is responsible for its own seeding process, and they vary from league finish, to straight RPI, to a mixture of both.
With teams coming from both the San Juan Basin and the Western Slope, District 1 will rely on RPI to set its bracket. As of Thursday morning, the pigtail game will feature Ouray (45th RPI) and Nucla (53rd RPI), both out of the San Juan. The two have already met twice during the regular season, with Ouray winning both, 31-22 and 40-36. The winner will advance to Friday’s semifinal round at Grand Valley High School, where they will square off with the top seed, North Park (18th RPI). Neither participant in the pigtail saw the Wildcats during the regular season.
Friday’s other semifinal game currently has De Beque (31st RPI) as the #2 seed. The Dragons will tangle with Dove Creek (33rd RPI). Both squads have two games remaining in the regular season, all against 2A foes, so there is a slight chance that the seedings could flip, but the pairing would remain the same. De Beque won the only regular season meeting with the Bulldogs, 44-40, way back on Dec. 2nd.
Only the top two finishers in this district will advance to the regional round. They will pair up with the finalists from District #8 this season.
District 2 is comprised solely of teams from the High Plains League, and as such, it will be seeded by league finish. That puts the top-ranked team in the state, Kit Carson (1st RPI) as the #1 seed. While the Wildcats and McClave (9th RPI) still have a league game remaining, and the Cards only trail by one game in the league standings, Kit Carson already owns a potential tiebreaker due to an early head-to-head victory.
The picture for the next three spots is a bit more unclear. McClave currently sits as the #2 seed, but the Cards close out the regular season at Eads (11th RPI) on Saturday. The Eagles are one game back, in third, but could create a tie with a win in the finale. They would then wind up as the #2, due to the head-to-head tiebreaker. Cheyenne Wells (27th RPI) could make things even more interesting if the Tigers could upset Kit Carson on Friday. That could create a potential three-way tie for second.
Cheraw (24th RPI) will host Granada (41st RPI) on Friday, with the winner securing the #5 seed. Cheraw has a league victory over Cheyenne Wells to its credit, while the Bobcats are looking for their first win in the High Plains.
The top three finishers from this tournament will move on to regionals. They will be part of the South Region.
This is another self-contained district, as it is made up completely of teams from the Arkansas Valley League. Holly (7th RPI) and Kim/Branson (2nd RPI) are currently tied for the top spot in the league, and Springfield (3rd RPI) could make it a three-way tie with a win over South Baca (23rd RPI) on Thursday. Holly holds the tiebreaker over Kim/Branson, due to its 39-35 victory over the Mustangs. In the event of a three-way tie, the best overall record is owned by Kim/Branson.
Should South Baca earn the win over Springfield on Thursday, the Patriots would create a tie with Wiley (22nd RPI) for fourth in the league. Wiley would still finish ahead of South Baca, thanks to a 53-43 Panther victory head-to-head. Walsh (52nd RPI) is sixth in the Ark Valley and will take the corresponding seed into the district tournament.
Like the previous district, District 3 will advance three qualifiers to the regional round. They will participate in the South Region.
While most of this district’s composition comes from the North Central League, two other leagues will also be represented. Therefore, the district seeding will be a combination of league finish for the teams from the NCL, and the RPI.
Fleming (4th RPI) won the regular season title in the North Central and the Wildcats will be the top seed in the tournament. Briggsdale (6th RPI) finished second and currently holds the edge over Heritage Christian (8th RPI) for the #2 seed.
Things start to get a bit confusing after those top three spots. Weldon Valley (15th RPI) and Prairie (28th RPI) split two hotly contested regular season games, but the Warriors’ loss at Pawnee (39th RPI) proved costly. That loss assured Prairie a higher league finish, so the Mustangs will come in as the #4 seed. That jumps them over Longmont Christian (17th RPI), who has the fifth-best RPI in the field, but will slip to the #6 seed, due to Weldon Valley being ahead in that measurement.
Spots #7 and #8 are currently occupied by Caliche (38th RPI) and Pawnee. Those two meet on Saturday and the winner will likely earn the better seed. The loser is likely to fall into Monday’s pigtail game against Peetz (54th RPI). The Bulldogs are winless on the season, with only a game against Weldon Valley still on the schedule.
The entire tournament takes place at Northeastern Junior College throughout next week. The top three finishers will advance to North Regional play.
While only five of the seven teams in this district are still members of the YWKC, every program has ties to the league. The two “outsiders” from the Union Pacific are co-ops that involve a former member of the league. Those two played almost every team in the field, so the bracket will be set by the league finish.
Arickaree/Woodlin (14th RPI) earned the league title on Tuesday night with a 27-12 victory over Idalia (20th RPI). That win gave them a first round bye, so the Indian-Mustangs will only need one more victory to advance to regionals. Idalia will host the first round games, before the tournament shifts to Wray High School next weekend.
Barring an upset loss to Bethune (50th RPI) on Friday, Flagler/Hi-Plains (30th RPI) will be the #3 seed. Otis (40th RPI) slots in at #4, with Stratton/Liberty (51st RPI) at #5. The Knighted Eagles are ahead of Bethune due to a 38-33 victory over the Bobcats, their lone win on the season. Bethune checks in at #6 and Lone Star (no RPI) is seventh.
The top three finishers will move on to the North Region.
With all members of the field coming from the Southern Peaks, seeding will be determined by league finish. That won’t be established until the end of play on Saturday, as much is still to be decided. Sierra Grande (12th RPI) holds the lead in the league standings at 9-0 and the Panthers can wrap up the title with a win over Sangre de Cristo (10th RPI) on Friday. In that event, Antonito (5th RPI) would finish second, with Sangre third and La Veta (13th RPI) fourth.
However, a win by Sangre de Cristo creates a three-way tie atop the standings with them, Sierra Grande, and Antonito. La Veta is locked in at #4, and the winner of Friday’s game between Cotopaxi (19th RPI) and Primero (43rd RPI) becomes the #5. The loser of that contest slips to #6.
Creede (35th RPI) currently sits seventh, but the outcome of this weekend’s games could see the Miners potentially slide as many as three spots. Centennial (37th RPI), Manzanola (57th RPI), Moffat (44th RPI) and Aguilar (49th RPI) currently round out the standings.
The top three finishers in this district will join the South Region, along with District #2 and District #3. Three teams will advance from that region to the state bracket.
With a combination of teams from the Black Forest and Union Pacific leagues, District 7 will seed its bracket using the RPI. This puts Genoa-Hugo (25th RPI) on the top line, ahead of Kiowa (32nd RPI) and Edison (36th RPI) who will battle for the Black Forest league championship this week . Both teams are unbeaten in league play.
Elbert (47th RPI) holds a very slim lead over Deer Trail (48th RPI) for the #4 slot, so there is the potential of a flip in that pair. Pikes Peak Christian (55th RPI) is looking at a first round meeting with Edison, while Hanover (58th RPI) would see Kiowa in the opening round. Colorado D & B (59th RPI) rounds out the field.
The top three finishers from this district will compete in the North Region. They will join Districts 4 and 5 in that tournament.
There is a rotation of which district will pair up with District 1 for regionals. This year, it is District 8 competing for two spots. Front Range Baptist (16th RPI) and Cornerstone Christian (21st RPI) are tied atop the league standings, each with one loss. The edge goes to Front Range Baptist, who won the head-to-head meeting 49-45.
While those two are locks for the top two seeds, there is a logjam behind them. Belleview Christian (26th RPI), Denver Jewish Day (29th RPI), and Rocky Mountain Lutheran (42nd RPI) are all 3-3 in the league. They split their head-to-head meetings, so they will need to go to the next level of tiebreakers. If that is overall record, Belleview Christian easily takes the #3 seed. Denver Jewish Day would be fourth, and Rocky Mountain Lutheran, fifth. Shining Mountain (34th RPI) is sixth, and Beth Eden Baptist (46th RPI) is seventh.
Again, only the top two qualifiers will advance to the West Regional. From there, only two will punch their ticket to the state tournament.>