Top-ranked Kit Carson made a major statement last week, hammering Fleming in a 1 vs 2 match-up, 72-28. Kit Carson jumped out to a 27-2 first quarter lead and never let the visitors come up for air. Tess Hornung recorded a season-high 27 points in the victory. The defending state champs do not face another top 20 RPI squad the rest of the regular season.
Much of the focus this week shifts to the Southern Peaks, where two big games feature four of the top 14 RPI teams. Fifth-ranked Sangre de Cristo (14-1, 9th RPI) and Sierra Grande (11-4, 14th RPI) are tied for the top spot in the league, and while they don’t square off until next week, each has a game this week against a team with league title aspirations.
Sierra Grande is the hottest team in the league, winning eight straight heading into Thursday’s game at #10 La Veta (12-2, 13th RPI). The most impressive win during that streak was a 61-51 decision over #6 Antonito (12-3, 4th RPI). The Panthers overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to earn that victory. Nina Vigil, who averages just over 12 points a game, led all scorers with 17 in that contest.
La Veta also enters the contest on a roll, having won five straight since a 55-35 loss to Antonito. The Redskins had a five-game winning streak snapped with that loss. Trailing the league leaders by just one game, La Veta needs to earn a win to keep its league title hopes alive. The Redskins will continue to lean heavily on Kaylee Corsentino, who averages close to 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The Redskins hold a 9-3 edge over Sierra Grande in the series, but the most recent meetings have been a toss-up. The last four games have been decided by a total of 12 points, none by more than four, and are split 2-2. Sierra Grande has won two of the last three, including a 49-46 decision in last season’s district tournament. Corsentino went for 31 points in that loss, and is averaging 23.5 points against the Panthers in four career games.
Sangre de Cristo’s closing schedule will see the Thunderbirds facing all three of the top challengers for the Southern Peaks crown. After hosting Primero (3-10, 42nd RPI) on Friday, the Thunderbirds travel to Antonito on Saturday, before rounding out the regular season next weekend at Sierra Grande and home against La Veta.
After suffering their lone loss to #2 Kim/Branson (13-2, 2nd RPI) a few weeks back, the Thunderbirds have rebounded by outscoring their last two opponents 111-29. Jessica Slane still leads the six person rotation with 17 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and four assists. The junior has recorded 11 double-doubles on the season, and one triple-double. That came in a win over Center, when she posted 20 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Slane came within one rebound of recording a second triple-double against Rocky Ford. That night, she had 15 points and 10 steals to go with nine boards.
Antonito’s win over La Veta sparked what is currently a five-game winning streak for the Trojans. That will likely grow to seven straight by the time they host Sangre, with games against Aguilar and Moffat (Mountain Valley) on Thursday and Friday. Those two each have one victory and are in the bottom 16 of the RPI.
The Trojans have seen Erykah Tallman be held to single digits in four of their last six outings, and six times total this season. The senior, who is averaging 13 a game, only had that happen one time last year. Joslyn Garcia has been picking up the slack raising her output to 14.5 points a game as she has averaged 16 a night during the winning streak.
Sangre de Cristo has enjoyed much success in its meetings with the Trojans, winning 20 of the last 24 contests. Antonito swept the T-Birds last year 63-31 and 51-28, but Sangre earned a 46-45 victory in the finals of the T-Bird Shootout earlier this season. Garcia led everyone with 18 points in that game, while Slane paced Sangre with 17.
Two top contenders for the Black Forest title will clash on Friday, when Kiowa (5-9, 37th RPI) visits Elbert (5-9, 41st RPI). Both teams trail Edison (9-4, 34th RPI) in the league standings, with Elbert having already lost to the Eagles earlier this season. Kiowa is unbeaten in league play, so a victory by the Indians sets up a showdown next Friday with Edison for the crown.
Kiowa entered the week having won four of its last five games, with the lone loss coming against Genoa-Hugo (6-9, 24th RPI) two weeks ago. Esther Janes is the lone player averaging double digits in scoring, leading the team with just over 12 points a game, but she gets help from fellow senior Tawna Upchurch (9.3) and sophomore Bailea Carrothers (6.4).
Elbert is trending downward recently, having dropped its last four outings. The Bulldogs have not won since Jan. 13th, and they’ve been outscored 187-129 during that stretch. Junior Graycee Lay has been a bright spot all season for the Bulldogs, averaging close to 15 points a game. During the losing skid, she’s been better, raising that to 18 a night. Senior Allison Schieffer is coming off a career-high 17 points against Shining Mountain.
After a three-year hiatus, the series between these two resumed last year. Kiowa won that meeting 46-18, giving the Indians two straight wins over the Bulldogs. Elbert had won five straight over Kiowa between 2010 and 2013.
Front Range Baptist (11-4, 23rd RPI) leads the 5280 league, along with Cornerstone Christian (10-6, 22nd RPI) and Rocky Mountain Lutheran (4-11, 43rd RPI). All three have one league loss. Cornerstone Christian visits Rocky Mountain Lutheran on Thursday, with the winner staying in the hunt for the league crown.
Cornerstone Christian’s loss inside the 5280 came last week to Front Range Baptist, 49-45, while the Eagles lost to Belleview Christian (12-5, 29th RPI) early last month, 34-22. Rocky Mountain Lutheran still has a game with Front Range Baptist next Tuesday, so a win over the Bulldogs would make that a league championship contest.
Rocky Mountain Lutheran snapped a two-game skid on Tuesday, outlasting Beth Eden (7-10, 49th RPI) 43-41. After opening the season with nine straight losses, the Eagles have won four of their last six. Tyler Douglas, who is averaging nine points and almost five steals, turned in a career-best performance against Beth Eden. The senior tallied 21 points and nine steals in the victory.
The Bulldogs know that even with a win on Thursday, they would still need the Eagles to beat Front Range Baptist next week for them to still factor into the equation for the league championship. They enter this key game having lost two straight, including a 41-40 decision on Tuesday to Stargate.  A win by Cornerstone Christian would only be their second in the series, as the Eagles hold a 10-1 lead.
With one league loss already on their slate, the Otis Bulldogs (6-9, 39th RPI) will visit Idalia (8-7, 18th RPI) on Friday, looking to stay alive for the YWKC title. Otis lost to Arickaree/Woodlin 51-34 last week and enters the weekend with three straight losses. Five of their nine losses have come against top 20 RPI teams, including two in 2A.
Idalia had its two-game winning streak ended by #4 Briggsdale (14-2, 7th RPI) on Tuesday, 60-45. The Wolves fell behind 25-2 after one period and never really got back into the game. Crystal Cordova scored a career-high 17 points for Idalia, and the senior also registered five steals.
The Wolves are tied with Arickaree/Woodlin (10-5, 20th RPI) for the lead in the YWKC, and just beat the Indian-Mustangs 32-29 two weeks ago in a non-league contest. Those two will meet next Tuesday. If Idalia beats Otis, that meeting will be for the league title. An Otis victory on Friday would have the Bulldogs needing Idalia to beat Arickaree/Woodlin to create a three-way tie for the honor. Idalia won the regular season game with Otis last year, 42-38, but the Bulldogs earned a 39-27 victory in the district tournament.