Important league contests can be found across the state in 2A girls basketball as the season resumes following the Christmas and New Years’ break.  Some of our featured matchups include Haxtun at Holyoke, Highland at Dayspring Christian, Simla at Peyton and four games on tap in what should be a wide-open Western Slope chase.
Friday’s contest between Haxtun and Holyoke is rematch of a December contest won by the Dragons 44-32.  The second game counts in the Lower Platte league standings and with Yuma and Wray also in the conference, neither the Bulldogs nor Dragons want to be saddled with an early loss.
In game one, Holyoke used a game high 17 points from Taeryn Trumper and a double-double from Grace Dille with 10 points and 16 rebounds to score the win.  They also shot 47 percent from the field.  Trumper leads the team in scoring overall with 16 points per game and adds seven rebounds.  Dille averages 12 points, 18 rebounds and three steals.
Haxtun picked up a strong effort from Marissa Schelling in the loss as the senior finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.  Schelling (18.7) has had to step up her scoring due to the absence of Dawson Knode.  Knode, a returning all-stater, has not suited up this year due to an off-court illness and her status for Friday’s rematch and the rest of the season remains up in the air.
McKenna Anderson, with nine points and seven rebounds, has also played well this season.  Brooklyn Davis scored six points and Naydeen Knapp added six rebounds in the first meeting with Holyoke.
Class 1A Heritage Christian is the two-time defending champion of the Mile-HIgh Conference but with their graduation losses, several teams now have thoughts of nabbing the crown.  Eight teams sport winning records heading into January and two of them collide on Friday when Highland visits Dayspring Christian in Greeley.
Highland lost to Yuma and Eaton in back-to-back games but the Huskies responded with three straight victories.  Maison Tolle leads the Huskies with 17 points and seven rebounds per game while Laramie Woods adds 10 points and six boards.  Lauren Frink provides seven points a night and has the only two three-pointers on the team.
Dayspring Christian has won four in a row since falling to Limon in their opener.  Megan Roberts has been a first-team all-state player in volleyball and will be considered for the same honors in basketball.  Through five games, the senior leads Dayspring with 21 points and 14 rebounds a game.  Brooke Shenkenberg has three double figure games in scoring and averages 11 points and eight rebounds each time out.
Simla (4-0) and Peyton (3-2) played similar December schedules and now they face off inside the Black Forest.  Both the Cubs and Panthers played and beat Kiowa and Elbert but Simla’s wins came by a much larger margin.  Pace will also be important in this one as Simla averages 60 points per game compared to 32 for Peyton.
Much of the Simla originates from a pressure defense that picks off 21 steals per game.  Jerraldawn Rector leads the Cubs with 4.5 per game but Taylor Warnecke (3.8) and Erica Rivas (3.5) combine for over seven more.  Rector is the only double figure scorer (11.8) but six others average at least four per game in the balanced attack.
Peyton dropped their final two games before Christmas falling to Colorado Springs School and Ellicott.  Shian Hanks (9.3), Kalee Lashley (7.8) and Skylar Botos (6.0) pace the Panthers offense.
Dating back to the start of the 2007-08 season, Paonia has won 94 of 100 conference games so the Eagles have been the dominant team in the Western Slope over that span.  The Eagles finished off the domination with a state championship ring last March.
Paonia though graduated several key players from the championship team and because of those losses, the door may be open for other clubs to challenge and even win the Western Slope crown.  Eight teams made it through December with winning records and a few of them meet up in the first round of league play this weekend.
The schedule includes Friday matchups between Paonia-Plateau Valley and North Park-Vail Christian and Saturday clashes involving Plateau Valley-Hotchkiss and Rangely-Soroco.
Record wise the best matchup pits North Park at Vail Christian as both teams are 6-0 on the season.  Vail Christian has played the more difficult schedule as they have two wins against 3A clubs and two others against 4A opponents.  North Park has already won two more games than the entire 2016-17 season where they finished just 4-14.
No stats have been reported for either team so we rely on the numbers from a year ago.  Devyn Johnson (14.0) and Kayla Jenkins (8.3) led North Park in scoring as sophomores a year ago.  They’ve scored at least 46 points in each of their last five wins after beating Gilpin County 37-33 in their opener.
Jessie Rait (15.2) and Marti Schmidt (10.3) both return for Vail Christian after combining for 25 points a game a year ago.  They scored 40 total points in a 67-45 win over North Park last season.  Johnson (18) and Jenkins (17) combined for 35 in the loss.
Plateau Valley posted wins over Caprock Academy, Nucla, Norwood and Ouray in December so their schedule gets quite a bit tougher against Paonia on Friday and Hotchkiss on Saturday.  Paonia is 4-2 with both losses coming to 3A opponents Delta and Olathe.  They’ve also beaten Hotchkiss 35-32.  The Bulldogs (4-3) also fell to 3A unbeaten Cedaredge (50-32) last month.
Cedar Mitchell (13.2) and Kassidy Wilkerson (12.6) lead Plateau Valley in scoring and together pull down 16 rebounds a game.  McKenna Palmer is the lone returnee that played quite a few minutes during Paonia’s title run last season and she leads the Eagles with 11 points per game.  Andi Todd adds eight points per game.  Carson Collins, with 13 points and 10 rebounds, averages a double-double for Hotchkiss while Elise Vazquez, Kaiya Firor and Shay Glaser chip in eight points apiece.
3A Moffat County is a common opponent for both Rangely and Soroco.  Rangely lost to the Bulldogs 50-41 in their opener but has won their last five.  Soroco meantime split two games with their Northwest Colorado rivals.  The two games are part of a very rugged early season slate for the Rams as they also have losses to Montrose and Cedaredge and a win over Northridge.
Chloe Veilleux (18.0) has bumped her scoring average by about three points per game this year.  She also leads the team with 17 three-pointers.  Overall, the Rams have 38 three-pointers through seven games including eight from Kayla Willie and six from Charlee Veilleux.
Katelyn Brown has been on a scoring tear for Rangely this year.  Through six games, she’s averaged 21 points per game but over the last four games, that number has jumped to 24.5.  Kassidee Brown is next in scoring with 11.8 points per game and Suzy Thacker (10.5) is a third double-figure scorer.
Since the opening loss, Rangely has posted four wins of at least 27 points with the fifth coming by 19.
Non-conference wise, the headliner across the state could be in Limon on Saturday where the unbeaten Badgers (5-0) host Denver Christian (4-2).  Both teams are in the same district so the outcome could also impact those pairings come late February.
It’s still a very young roster in Limon as Brooke Smith (5.2) is the only senior in the varsity rotation.  Five other underclassmen average at least four points per game; a group headed up by Anna Weisensee (14.2).  She also pulls down 5.2 rebounds.
Limon faces Genoa Hugo on Friday so they will get in a tune-up game before lining up against the Thunder the next night.
Denver Christian lost their season opener to 3A Resurrection Christian and their December finale to 3A Kent Denver but in-between notched four straight wins.  With six players averaging between four and ten points per game, the Thunder also present offensive balance.  Miranda Kortenhoeven (10.0) leads the list with Kara Amidon (9.0) and Jessie Koorneef (9.0) close behind.
Colorado Preps will track scores each night of the regular season and they will be posted inside our Daily Scoreboard.  Final scores can be sent to Colorado Preps by email to [email protected] or by text to 970.380.7737.