At least four teams have a legitimate chance at landing the Black Forest championship and one of the games that will help decide the champion is Friday as Simla entertains Evangelical Christian.  Simla shares the conference lead with Calhan and Evangelical Christian is tied with Ellicott in third just one game back.
ECA’s league loss came at the hands of Calhan last week (64-60) so the Eagles may be in a must win situation as they challenge the other league leader.  A loss drops them two games back with losses to the teams ahead of them in the standings.  A win keeps them very much alive for the title as Simla also has a game remaining with Calhan on their schedule.
Justin Holt had a big game in the Calhan loss; scoring 20 points with nine rebounds.  He also connected on three treys.  Bradley Hartsock added 13 and Oscar Zhou 10.  Braydan Hekkers chipped in nine rebounds as well.
The loss ended a four-game winning streak for the Eagles and they’ve won two straight since including a 50-37 win at Colorado Springs School earlier this week.
Simla has recovered from a mid-season slump where they suffered consecutive losses to Byers, Rye and Calhan.  The slide ended with a late rally to beat Limon 64-63 in overtime where they came back from ten down in the fourth quarter.  If the Cubs make a run to the state tournament, that comeback could end up being the turning point for their season.
Joel George scored 32 points in the win and it pushed his season average to 13.5 points per game.  He followed up with 14 again Ellicott and 27 against Fountain Valley.
Cole Mitchell (10.6 pts) is another key offensive contributor and Gunner Rapp (9.2) is closing in on double figures.
The games with Calhan and Ellicott came in non-league play and they have games remaining with both clubs.  They meet the Bulldogs on the 14th and Thunderhawks on the 16th so they have plenty of work left even if they grab the win this week.
Ignacio is very close to winning another San Juan championship and can virtually do so on Thursday when they host Dolores.  The Bobcats are one-two in the conference but are separated by two games.  An Ignacio win leaves Dolores battling Telluride and Mancos for spots two through four in the district tournament.  And all three teams want to stay away from the fourth position to avoid a semifinal meeting with the probable league champions.
The Bobcats won the first meeting 69-45 in December and outscored the Bears 44-21 over the first and third quarters.  Coach Chris Valdez’s club shot 58 percent from the field (29-50) and placed five in double figures.  Lawrence Ruffin-Valdez led the list with 19 points and Johnny Valdez had 16.  Ocean Hunter (12,) Cole McCaw (11) and Kai Roubideaux (10) also had effective nights.
Dolores was led by Tristen Swagerty with 20.  He was 9-17 from the field but the rest of the team hit just 9 of 32 attempts.
Limon looks to keep a share of the Union Pacific lead by beating Stratton/Liberty on Friday and Burlington on Saturday.  The Badgers are 3-0 in league play and two wins sets up a huge showdown for the conference crown with Byers on the 9th.
Earning a league championship would be very important to the development of a very young Limon squad that often features two freshmen in the starting lineup.  Camden Smithburg (12.8) and Kory Tacha (10.3) are the two youngsters and in addition to nearly 23 points, they also contribute over ten rebounds an outing.  Tacha adds 2.6 assists and Smithburg 2.8 steals.
Cannan Bennett is the leading scorer (13.1) and provides leadership.   The junior also averages nearly seven rebounds, three assists and three steals each night.  He fouled out late in the loss to Simla and that hurt the Badgers down the stretch.
Burlington topped Flagler/Hi Plains last week and has split their last six games overall.  Their best in-state win came against Calhan (74-64) back in December.  Jonah Hanson poured in 28 points to pace the Cougars.  Andrew Burton scored 15 and Traevon Holmes 13.  The Cougars league loss came against Byers (72-51) and another loss this week likely eliminates them from the league title.
Byers below out Kiowa on Wednesday and has a very interesting challenge with 3A Strasburg on Saturday.  The Bulldogs are seventh in RPI ands sit 12-2 overall after the Wednesday blowout of Kiowa.
Crowley County is a second highly ranked team with a tough non-league date this Saturday when they meet Vanguard.  The Coursers are ranked fourth in 3A and sit unbeaten inside the Tri Peaks conference.  Guard play is their strength as the trio of Seth Fuqua (26.6), Dominique Clifford (11.9) and Carter Milroy (9.8) pace the Coursers in scoring.
Before lining up on Saturday, the Chargers also tangle with Hoehne on Thursday night and need a win to keep sole possession of the Santa Fe lead.  Crowley is 14-0 on the season and ten of those wins are against conference rivals including a 56-38 win over the Farmers on January 12th.
Fowler is one game back of Crowley County and nearly upset the Chargers (41-40) in their first meeting.  The Grizzlies have just one game on tap this week as they host Swallows Charter on Thursday night.  They open the game with a two-game edge on Rocky Ford in the race for second.  The rematch with Crowley County is on the 9th.
Western Slope leading Rangely (7-0) could get tested twice this week as they meet Hotchkiss on Friday and Vail Christian Saturday.  Hotchkiss (6-1) is only one game back and is tied with Meeker and Paonia in second place. Vail Christian (6-2) is alone in fifth and can stay in the title chase by beating the first place Panthers.
Kobe Broome was instrumental for Rangely as they beat Vail Mountain (55-51) and Plateau Valley (56-48) last week.  Broome fired in eight three-pointers and totaled 38 points in the two wins.  He also added seven steals against Vail Mountain.  Patrick Scoggins was in double figures in both games; 15 against Vail Mountain and 12 against Plateau Valley.  He also provided ten rebounds and four steals in the first game.
Hotchkiss also meets Meeker on Saturday so it’s an equally important weekend for the Bulldogs.  They have a remaining game with Vail Christian on the 16th so the Bulldogs could have the most difficult finishing stretch of the contenders.
Jonathon Gonzalez (11.8) is the top scorer.  He’s followed by Sam Rodriguez (11.6) who has combined for 27 points in the last two wins over Paonia and Vail Mountain.  Braxton Trujillo (8.3) and Eli Sawatzky (7.4) can also provide points.  Trujillo poured in a season high 26 points in a loss to Cedaredge and has 49 points over the last six games.  Sawatzky has reached double figures three times including 10 in the crucial win over Paonia.
Meeker could head into the Hotchkiss battle riding a six-game winning streak.  They’ve won their last four and also face Little Snake River WY on Thursday and Caprock Academy on Friday.
Paonia stayed a game back with their 73-64 win over Vail Mountain on Tuesday.  It was their third straight win and tenth overall.  Next up are home games with North Park and West Grand on Friday and Saturday.  Meeker is on the schedule next week and Rangely in the following week.
With Yuma and Sedgwick County expected to finish 1-2 in the Lower Platte, games this week focus more on district tournament positioning.  Akron is involved in two key games as the Rams meet Haxtun on Friday and Holyoke the next day.  The Rams (2-0) are tied with Yuma atop the standings but still have the brunt of their schedule ahead of them starting this week.  Sedgwick County, Holyoke and Haxtun have one league loss in what’s still a very crowded upper division.
Akron snapped a three-game slide by beating Wiggins 59-40 last week and also topped Merino 44-29 in league action.  Haxtun has won four in a row since a loss to Holyoke.  The Dragons will be favored against Wiggins before meeting Akron.  They scored a nice win over Merino last week (44-38) behind 14 points from Arturo Dominguez and 10 from Anthony Beltran.
Yuma of course has momentum from league wins over Sedgwick County (43-37) and Wray (58-39) last week.  They host Merino on Friday and then meet Caliche on Saturday.  Sedgwick County is not involved in league action this week but still has a very important conference meeting with Haxtun on the 16th.
Highland is 18-0 in the Mile-High conference over the past two years.  Their latest win came on Tuesday as the Huskies outscored Union Colony Prep 75-58.  The victory pushed the Huskies to 7-0 in league play and two games up on Dayspring Christian and Heritage Christian.
Dayspring Christian scored a hard fought 65-63 win over Longmont Christian on Tuesday.  They go to Lyons on Friday.  Dylan Losh led the Eagles with 18 points and Christian Still added 14.  Dominic Puchino poured in 36 for Longmont Christian.
Heritage Christian downed Front Range Christian 65-59 earlier this week in their only conference game on the schedule.  They host Briggsdale on Saturday.