2A BOYS WEEKLY ROUNDUP

With only ten days left in the regular season, our 2A boys’ basketball roundup for the week features a change of pace as we focus completely on league races and the outlook for district tournament pairings.
 

BLACK FOREST

The key game on tap this week features Ellicott on the road to Calhan on Friday.  Calhan enters the game tied with Simla (5-0) atop the league standings with Ellicott a game back in third place (3-1).
Calhan is coming off a 81-61 loss to Limon on Tuesday night where they allowed 44 first half points and trailed by 16 at intermission.  Ellicott has won five of their last with their lone loss coming against Simla in non-league play in late January (47-46).  The Thunderhawks only league loss is against fourth-place Evangelical Christian (48-41).
Simla has won six in a row since dropping a non-conference affair to Calhan.  The Cubs won their sixth straight on Tuesday in downing Miami Yoder.  They also face league rival Colorado Springs School on Saturday with a non-league game against Burlington in-between (Friday).
The race won’t be decided until Simla faces Calhan on the 14th.  If both teams win out this week, that game will be a winner-take-all for the championship.
 

LOWER PLATTE

Yuma (5-0) has a one game edge on Sedgwick County and Holyoke (both 4-1).  Haxtun (3-2) and Akron (2-2) currently share fourth.  Important games on this week’s schedule feature Akron at Sedgwick County (Thursday) and Haxtun at Yuma (Friday)
The first place Indians have a win over Sedgwick County but remain far from clinching the league championship.  In addition to facing Haxtun this week, Yuma also closes with home games against Holyoke and Akron in the final week.  Coach Dave Sheffield’s club is unbeaten against Colorado opponents (11-0) and has won nine straight overall.
Haxtun suffered a key loss to Merino (40-39) last week but with games against Yuma and Sedgwick County (next week), the Bulldogs can still make up lost ground.  The key for all league clubs is to finish in the top four to host a quarterfinal game in the district tournament.
After beating two Nebraska opponents last week, Sedgwick County returns to league action against Akron this week.  If Yuma beats Haxtun, then the Cougars clinch a top three finish by beating Akron.
The Rams could arguably be the best 7-9 team in Colorado.  They lost to Haxtun and Holyoke by five combined points last week so they’re just six points from sharing first place with Yuma.  The Rams are 5-5 since Christmas with additional losses to Highland, Limon and Yuma.
 

MILE HIGH

Highland (8-0) has a two-game lead on Heritage Christian (6-2) and those two square off on Saturday.  The Huskies host Nederland on Friday and with an expected win there, they can clinch the league championship by beating Heritage Christian the next day.
Winners of ten straight, the Huskies are up to fourth in the RPI as of Wednesday.  Their only loss to a 2A rival is against Yuma in December.
Heritage Christian is battling Dayspring Christian and Dawson (both 6-3) for the runner-up spot.  The Eagles have beaten both so they remain in good shape regardless of the outcome with Highland.  They’re coming off a solid win over Longmont Christian (70-54) on Monday night.
 

SANTA FE

Maybe the most important game statewide can be found in this conference as Crowley County takes on Fowler in Ordway on Friday.  The Chargers (12-0) can clinch the title by beating the Grizzlies (10-1) for a second time but the two could end up sharing the crown if Fowler avenges an earlier loss.
The first meeting was a tremendous contest as Crowley County gained a 41-40 decision.  Fowler jumped to a 15-8 first quarter lead but were then outscored 26-15 over the second and third quarters.
If Crowley County gains the regular season sweep, they’ll look for a perfect 19-0 regular season against Swink next Tuesday.  Fowler also plays Hoehne on Thursday and wins in both games this week secure a top two finish.  A loss in either means they will have to beat Rocky Ford next week to secure second place.
Finishing in the top two is very important in this conference as those clubs earn byes to the district semifinals and thus have already qualified for the regional round.  Teams that end up third and fourth get a first round bye but still must gain one win at districts for advancement to regionals.
 

SAN JUAN

With Ignacio in the drivers’ seat again, the race is for spots two through four.  Mancos, Telluride and Ouray are tied for second with three league losses with Dolores in fifth with four losses.  Ouray drops into the 1A ranks for the post-season so they won’t factor into the district tournament seeding.  And teams want to finish in the second and third positions to avoid a semifinal date with Ignacio.
Telluride has two important games this week as they meet Ignacio on Friday and Dolores on Saturday.  Dolores beat Telluride 48-35 in the first meeting and a second win gives them a leg up in a likely tiebreaker scenario.  Mancos and Telluride split two regular season matchups.  Mancos and Dolores have a second date on the 16th.
Ignacio scored an important non-league win over 4A Durango on Tuesday.  That will help the Bobcats in the RPI race where they currently stand 14th.  It was also an emotional win for Coach Chris Valdez who learned before the game that his father had passed away.  Colorado Preps sends condolences to Coach Valdez and the entire Ignacio basketball community.
 

SOUTHERN PEAKS

We think the league games between the leaders are finished so the district pairings, at least at the top, may already be set.  Del Norte (4-0) leads Sanford by one game and Sargent by two.  The first-place Tigers host Sargent this Friday and go to Sanford next week but we believe both games are non-conference matchups.  Del Norte won the first two meetings with each opponent and stands in good shape for the top district seed.
Del Norte topped Sargent 49-24 in the first meeting with Sargent.  They also go to Rocky Ford for a good non-league test on Saturday.  Sargent snapped a three-game winning streak with a loss to 3A Lamar last Saturday.
 

UNION PACIFIC

Matching the important of the Crowley County-Fowler contest, is a highly anticipated matchup between Limon and Byers on Friday night.  Quite a bit is riding on the outcome as the winner lands the conference championship and most likely the top overall district tournament seed.  Limon is also second in RPI points and battling Crowley County for the number one statewide playoff seed.  The difference between the two is .023 points but the Chargers do own a head-to-head victory over Limon.  Byers is 10th in RPI points on Wednesday.
Pace will be furious between Byers and Limon.  Both teams like to press defensively and push tempo offensively.  And since each club can go 9-10 deep or farther into the roster, fatigue should not be an issue.
Limon averages 63 points per game but has scored at least 77 in each of their last three games.  They’re coming off an 81-61 win over Calhan where they netted 44 points by intermission.  Byers has won seven of eight and totaled at least 70 points in their last five wins.  They topped Deer Trail 75-57 on Tuesday.
 

WESTERN SLOPE

The race became a bit more crowded last week when Vail Christian scored a win over Rangely.  It was the first league loss for the Panthers and dropped them into a tie with Meeker and Paonia in first place.  Vail Christian stayed one game back in fourth place (8-2) with Hotchkiss fifth (6-3).
The only game thus far between the three league leaders occurred last month when Rangely topped Meeker.  Paonia has games remaining with both Rangely and Meeker so they control their own future.  Wins in both will give them the league championship regardless of what happens elsewhere.
Paonia goes to Meeker this Friday and then entertains Rangely next week.  Rangely should remain tied with the Paonia-Meeker winner in first as they’ll be favored against Caprock Academy and West Grand this week.  If Paonia beats Meeker and Rangely wins both games, their head-to-head meeting next week will become a winner-take-all for the championship.
Should Meeker beat Paonia and also knock off DeBeque on Saturday and Soroco next week, the Cowboys then land the championship if Paonia then beats Rangely.  Even if Meeker wins out, Rangely is the league champion by winning out since they have the win over Meeker.
Since they do not have a game remaining against any of the league leaders, it will be difficult for Vail Christian to move up in the standings.  The Saints could get to third if they finish tied with Paonia since they beat the Eagles last week.  Vail Christian also has a key game left with Hotchkiss on the 16th and that game will also impact fourth and fifth place.
 
Playoff Note:  We also need to mention that CHSAA has reversed a decision concerning RPI standings updates in the playoffs.  Late last week, a memo was sent to schools indicating the RPI standings would NOT be updated through the playoffs and that numbers posted at the end of the regular season would be final.  Another memo sent to schools today (Wednesday) indicates a reversal and that RPI standings will be updated through district and regional tournaments.  This was the case a year ago.  RPI standings are used to seed district, regional and state tournament brackets. 
 

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