1A TEAM CAPSULES (BOYS)

As the sixth seed in districts and fifth in regionals, Merino has taken a hard path to the 1A state tournament but they join seven other clubs in the quarterfinals on Thursday. PHOTO BY HEIDE KRISE

A new champion will be crowned in 1A boys, as last year’s title team, Peetz, was eliminated in the regional finals by Haxtun. Those Bulldogs are the #4 seed and find themselves in the same half of the bracket as #1 De Beque, considered by many as the prohibitive favorite to claim the top hardware this year. Those two squads, along with the rest of the field, are profiled below.

Individual statistics quoted below are courtesy of MaxPreps. Teams are listed in bracket order.

 

#1 DE BEQUE DRAGONS (22-0)

COACH: Jake Higuera

STATE TITLES: 1998

LEAGUE: Won Western Slope title (12-0), won District 1 title

REGIONALS: Beat Genoa-Hugo/Karval 78-34

STREAK: Won 22 straight and 25 of last 27

RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 0-0

Wins: None

Losses: None

TEAM NOTES: 36 wins over the last two seasons, 33 combined in previous 12 – first appearance since 2004 – only unbeaten team in the class – outscored opponents by 680 points on the season – only one game decided by single digits (64-60 over Vail Christian) – next closest game was 13-point win over Plateau Valley

NAME PTS REBS ASSTS STEALS 3-POINT
Brennan Rigsby 22.5 8.8 3.2 2.6 91
Wes Ryan 19.2 6.4 3.0 2.0 24
Dillon Bumgardner 9.4 6.8 1.0 1.0 7
Jaden Jordan 5.4 3.6 3.7 2.7 12
Nando Candeleria 4.8 2.9 2.5 1.7 10
Garrett Jenkins 4.2 5.9 0.9 1.2 1

 

#8 PRAIRIE MUSTANGS (17-7)

COACH: Amber Whitlock

STATE TITLES: None

LEAGUE: Tied for North Central title with Peetz (7-1), 2nd in District 4

REGIONALS: Beat Arickaree/Woodlin 73-65 and Mile High Academy 62-48

STREAK: Won 2 straight and 10 of 12

RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 0-2

Wins: None

Losses: Merino (2)

TEAM NOTES: Program includes players from Pawnee (could not field own team) – won two games on buzzer beaters – first appearance since 2015 (0-2), first winning season since then – 16 combined wins over last three seasons – outscored opponents by 317 points on the season – 4-5 in games decided by single digits

NAME PTS REBS ASSTS STEALS 3-POINT
Devin Littlefield 16.9 4.2 3.1 1.4 24
Jade Cass 10.2 8.4 3.4 1.4 2
Logan Cacciola 8.7 5.0 1.8 2.2 25
Trey Moore 5.8 2.7 1.4 1.3 15
Mitch Dollerschell 4.9 3.7 2.1 1.1 12
Andy Long 4.6 2.8 1.5 1.0 13
Wyatt Schnug 4.1 5.1 1.1 0.3

 

#4 HAXTUN BULLDOGS (16-7)

COACH: Grant Edwards

STATE TITLES: 2005

LEAGUE: Tied for 3rd Lower Platte (5-3), won District 5 title

REGIONALS: Beat Peetz 62-50

STREAK: Won 4 straight and 7 of 8

RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 2-2

Wins: Merino, Kit Carson

Losses: Yuma, Merino

TEAM NOTES: Lost to Yuma 68-63 in 2OT – first appearance since winning title in 2005 – most wins since 2012-13 (17) – outscored opponents by 299 points on the season – 4-5 in games decided by single digits – 0-3 in OT games

Full team statistics not entered on MaxPreps.

 

#5 EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN EAGLES (19-3)

COACH: Bob Wingett

STATE TITLES: 2005, 2004

LEAGUE: Won Black Forest title (6-0), won District 7 title

REGIONALS: Beat Ouray 48-25

STREAK: Won 14 straight and 14 of 15

RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 0-0

Wins: None

Losses: None

TEAM NOTES: First appearance in 1A – first appearance since 2007 (1-2) – only one loss to 1A team (52-28 Cornerstone Christian) – outscored opponents by 387 points on the season – 2-0 in games decided by single digits

Full team statistics not entered on MaxPreps.

 

#2 SANGRE DE CRISTO THUNDERBIRDS (21-1)

COACH: Ryan Mortensen

STATE TITLES: 2001

LEAGUE: Won Southern Peaks title (9-0), won District 6 title

REGIONALS: Beat Kim/Branson 69-42

STREAK: Won 16 straight

RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 0-0

Wins: None

Losses: None

TEAM NOTES: 2nd consecutive 20+ win season, third in five years – second straight appearance (1-2 last year) – 3rd place in 2015 – outscored opponents by 639 points on the season – 2-1 in games decided by single digits

NAME PTS REBS ASSTS STEALS 3-POINT
Cole Christensen 17.9 5.5 5.2 3.3 28
Jake Slane 16.3 5.0 1.9 1.9 9
Manuel Lopez 11.1 3.6 3.1 1.3 39
Jared Sinclair 7.4 1.6 1.6 3.0 9
Kevin Enriquez 5.6 3.7 2.1 1.2 13

 

#7 KIT CARSON WILDCATS (15-9)

COACH: Damon Dechant

STATE TITLES: 2007, 2004

LEAGUE: 3rd in High Plains (3-2), 3rd in District 2

REGIONALS: Beat Creede 73-70 and Springfield 41-35

STREAK: Won 3 straight and 5 of 6

RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 0-4

Wins: None

Losses: Limon, Walsh, Holly, Haxtun

TEAM NOTES: First appearance since 2017 (3rd place) – sixth consecutive winning season – coach was a senior (Player of the Year) on last title team – outscored opponents by 78 points on the season – 8-3 in games decided by single digits

NAME PTS REBS ASSTS STEALS 3-POINT
Jayden McCombs-Farmer 12.9 6.4 2.7 3.0 26
Sullivan Farmer 9.4 3.4 1.0 1.4 42
Cordell Farmer 8.5 4.3 1.9 1.8 15
Brayden Bogenhagen 7.5 2.7 0.8 0.7 56
TJ Conaway 6.3 6.3 0.8 1.4 1
Chris Bryan 5.1 4.8 0.8 1.6 10

 

#3 WALSH EAGLES (18-5)

COACH: Josh Wittler

STATE TITLES: 1972, 1971. 1968

LEAGUE: Won Ark Valley title (4-0), 2nd in District 3

REGIONALS: Beat Sierra Grande 48-35 and Cheraw 57-53 (OT)

STREAK: Won 2 straight and 12 of 13

RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 1-1

Wins: Kit Carson

Losses: Holly

TEAM NOTES: First appearance since 2012 (3rd Place) – most wins in a season since that year (23) – won 3rd place in 2011 – four losses to out of state opponents – outscored opponents by 266 points on the season – 4-1 in games decided by single digits

Full team statistics not entered on MaxPreps.

 

#6 MERINO RAMS (14-10)

COACH: Chase Debus

STATE TITLES: 1980, 1979, 1978, 1977, 1976, 1970, 1969

LEAGUE: 6th in Lower Platte (2-3), won District 4

REGIONALS: Beat Stratton/Liberty 60-56 and Front Range Baptist 61-54

STREAK: Won 8 straight and 10 of 12

RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 3-3

Wins: Haxtun, Prairie (2)

Losses: Haxtun, Yuma, Limon

TEAM NOTES: Tied for sixth-most state championships (7) – finished second in 1999 – took third in last appearance (2003, 2A) – outscored opponents by 42 points on the season – 7-4 in games decided by single digits

Full team statistics not entered on MaxPreps.

 


Kerry Sherman

Kerry Sherman

Kerry Sherman is a lifelong resident of eastern Colorado. He started covering high school sports in 1991, focusing on the smaller classifications. He has also coached boys basketball at Woodlin, Otis & Weldon Valley. In his spare time, Kerry substitute teaches at area schools. He and his wife, Colleen, live on the family farm near Anton, along with their three Corgi mutts, Selene, Caesar & Helios.
Kerry Sherman
About Kerry Sherman 112 Articles
Kerry Sherman is a lifelong resident of eastern Colorado. He started covering high school sports in 1991, focusing on the smaller classifications. He has also coached boys basketball at Woodlin, Otis & Weldon Valley. In his spare time, Kerry substitute teaches at area schools. He and his wife, Colleen, live on the family farm near Anton, along with their three Corgi mutts, Selene, Caesar & Helios.

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