After a week that went as expected, at least at the top of the rankings, there was no movement in the top six spots this week. Those top six teams have a combined three losses. North Park made its return to the poll after upsetting De Beque, and Fleming made a small move up to #7. One team in position to make some noise this week is #10 Cotopaxi, as the Pirates play two big league games, including one against a ranked opponent.
One of four teams tied atop the Southern Peaks, Cotopaxi (9-1) squares off with two of the other top squads. First, the Pirates host #4 Sangre de Cristo (7-1) on Friday, with the Thunderbirds coming in on consecutive 70-plus point outings. Sangre scored 72 against Rocky Ford and followed that up with 75 against Creede last Thursday. If not for a weather postponement, there is a good chance that they would have made it three straight against Aguilar.
While Cotopaxi has not reached that scoring plateau, the Pirates have topped 60 three times, and have only been held under 45 twice. Koylynn Gulliford leads the team this season with 13.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and nearly three blocks a game. Fellow sophomore Shaelee Coleman also kicks in 13 points a night. The T-birds respond with a talented sophomore of their own, as Kylee Christensen paces them with 14.4 points per game. Senior Jessica Slane adds more than 11 points and almost seven boards. Sangre de Cristo has won the last five meetings in the series.
Saturday night, the Pirates will have a shot at revenge, as they visit the team who ended their season last year. La Veta (7-3) defeated Cotopaxi 50-45 in the district tournament last year, but they would drop their next two games and join the Pirates as spectators for the remainder of the postseason. The Redskins have won their last two games, snapping what had been a two-game skid. The last of those losses was a 31-29 defeat by Cheraw in overtime. Kaylee Corsentino is the clear leader for La Veta, averaging close to 22 points and more than 12 rebounds a game. No one else scores more than six points a night. The Redskins will look to make it 11 straight wins over Cotopaxi in the series.
Prairie (6-5) is an unranked team that has two huge match-ups this week, hosting #2 Briggsdale (10-0) on Friday and visiting #7 Fleming (8-2) on Saturday. This is the first season for the Mustangs under Maggie Kilmer, who led the program to a state title in 2001. The Mustangs have been led by Makayla Baker at close to 11 points, four assists and four steals a game. Cierra Hove adds better than eight points and eight rebounds, and Bobbie Schriener contributes eight points and six rebounds.
Briggsdale already owns a victory over the Mustangs, defeating them 52-29 in the championship of the Prairie tournament. That was the 11th straight victory for the Falcons in the series, and the 32nd in the last 39 meetings. Shelby Hoffman, who averages 15 points a game for the Falcons, went for 20 in that contest. The sophomore has reached that figure three times this season.
Fleming has won six straight since a nine-point loss to Briggsdale in mid-December, and the Wildcats have scored 50 or more points in each of the last five. Sophomore Kendyl Kirkwood has been a dominant force for the Wildcats, averaging close to 18 points, 14 rebounds, and four steals. Jenna Lengfelder, the lone senior on the roster, chips in 14 points and five steals, while freshman Whitney Chintala gives the team nine points, six assists, and four steals. They have won seven consecutive games against Prairie and 20 of the last 25.
Eighth-ranked De Beque (8-2) will try to get back on track after having its seven-game winning streak snapped by #9 North Park (7-2). The Dragons travel to 2A #9 Meeker on Friday and a win creates a multi team tie atop the standings in the Western Slope. The Cowboys currently own sole possession of the lead, but six teams are one game back. That game is previewed in the Class 2A report.
Fresh off that 45-39 win, North Park made it three straight wins on Tuesday by taking down 2A Hayden, 46-31. The Wildcats travel to 2A Soroco on Saturday, needing a win to stay in the mix for the league crown. Soroco had been ranked 10th in 2A last week, but a loss to De Beque caused the Rams to fall out of the poll this week. After reaching the state tournament last year, North Park has seen both of its losses this year come against ranked opponents. The Wildcats opened the season with a 34-33 defeat by #6 Genoa-Hugo, and two weeks ago, they were downed by Meeker, 57-24.>