With regular season play wrapped up, teams now look to secure a spot in next week’s regional round by advancing through their district tournaments. Thirty-two squads will move on, keeping alive their dream of a state championship.
DISTRICT 1 (FOUR TEAMS ADVANCE)
The Southern Peaks league was a three-horse race, with Sanford (14-5) earning the title via tiebreaker. The Indians claimed a first round bye, and will not be in action until Friday when they face the winner of the quarterfinal clash between Center (6-13) and South Park (11-6). Sanford beat Center twice during the season, 61-22 and 62-36, and the Indians also beat the Burros in their only meeting, 61-25.
The Vikings won their regular season contest with South Park, 57-48. Things were crazy in the second half of that meeting, with the Burros outscoring Center 21-8 in the third quarter, only to have the script flipped in the fourth. Center dominated the final frame, 22-9. Devin Porres had a game-high 27 points for the Vikings, hitting 12 of 15 free throws. TJ Peter paced South Park with 13 points, eight steals, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Sargent (12-7) hosts Crested Butte (5-13) in the 3 vs 6 match-up in the quarterfinals. The Farmers were in the mix for the league crown, but a 58-55 loss to Sanford last Friday dropped them to third. They went 2-0 against Crested Butte during the season, including a 49-33 victory last Saturday. Sargent also claimed a 61-55 victory over the Titans four weeks ago. The difference in that contest was an 18-8 fourth quarter edge for the Farmers
The final opening round contest has #2 Del Norte (12-7) hosting #7 Custer County (3-16). The Tigers had a shot at the league crown, but they came up short in a 39-30 loss to Sanford last Saturday. Both teams finished with one league loss, but Sanford took the title because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Tigers open district play against a squad that they beat 58-20 in mid-January. Izeah Peterson (19 points) and Kade Glover (14 points) combined for 33 in the win, while Billy Berry had eight to lead the Bobcats.
Quarterfinal games are at home sites on Tuesday, before the scene shifts to Adams State University for the final two rounds on Friday and Saturday. All four semifinalists will move on to regionals.
DISTRICT 2 (FOUR TEAMS ADVANCE)
Yuma (17-2) won the Lower Platte and earned a first round bye in the district tournament. The defending state champions were pushed in their regular season finale against 1A Haxtun, needing double overtime to beat the Bulldogs, 68-63. Yuma has five players averaging eight points or more per game, led by Jakob Chrisman at 14.4 and Clay Robinson at 10.2. They will face the winner of Tuesday’s quarterfinal game between #4 Akron (11-8) and #5 Holyoke (3-16). The Indians beat Akron 60-34, and went 2-0 against the Dragons (65-43, 59-36).
Akron used a 21-8 fourth quarter to defeat Holyoke 62-52 in their regular season meeting. Mason King led a balanced attack for the Dragons, tallying 12 points. Ethan Johnson added 10 and Slaten Burris chipped in nine. Four other players scored at least four points in the loss.
The bottom half of the bracket sees #3 Wray (10-8) hosting #6 Wiggins (5-14) with the winner advancing to face #2 Sedgwick County (11-6) in the semifinals. The Cougars beat both teams during the regular season (48-33 over Wray, 56-38 over Wiggins). Wray beat the Tigers 73-58 two weeks ago, with four players reaching double figures. Sam Uyemura led the way with 20.
After playing at home sites on Tuesday for the quarterfinals, the top four teams will play out the remainder of the bracket at Northeastern Junior College. Semifinals will be on Thursday and the placing games will be held on Saturday. All four semifinalists will advance to regionals.
DISTRICT 3 (THREE TEAMS ADVANCE)
With only five teams in the bracket, three will advance to the regional round. Mancos (13-6) is the top seed and the Bluejays will await the winner of the pigtail game between #4 Telluride (11-8) and #5 Ridgway (8-10). It was a bit of a mixed bag for Mancos against those two squads during the regular season. The Bluejays swept Ridgway, 73-47 and 79-25, and split with the Miners, losing 62-56 and winning 59-47. Mancos is led by double digit scorers Vassar Stephens (15.0 ppg), Caden Showalter (13.9 ppg), and Show Showalter (11.1 ppg).
Telluride split the season series with Ridgway, winning 57-44 at home and losing 65-64 on the road. Byrd Williams had 14 points to lead Ridgway in the loss, but the junior came up with a career-high 22 in the second meeting. That helped the Demons overcome a 20-3 first quarter deficit.
Friday’s other semifinal will have #2 Ignacio (10-8) squaring off with #3 Dolores (10-9). The Bears opened their season by claiming a 68-65 win over Ignacio on the road, with Tristen Swagerty pumping in a career-high 36 points. The senior, who averages 17 points a game, accounted for 22 points in a 48-35 loss to the Bobcats at home. No one else had more than five in that contest.
The semifinals and Saturday’s placing games will be held at Durango High School.
DISTRICT 4 (FOUR TEAMS ADVANCE)
Tournament play is already underway in District 4, as the pigtail game between #8 Platte Canyon and #9 Denver Academy took place on Saturday. The Mustangs pulled off the minor upset, beating Platte Canyon 70-65 to improve to 4-16 on the season. The victory snapped an 11-game slide and puts the Mustangs into the second round where they will face #5 Burlington (10-9) on Tuesday. Burlington enters the contest having won three straight and six of the final seven games down the stretch. Andrew Burton is the lone Cougar in double figures, averaging just under 20 points a game. He has only been held to single digits once this season and has posted two 30-point games.
Tuesday’s second round also has #6 Lotus School (14-5) hosting #7 Front Range Christian (7-12). The teams play in different leagues, so this is their first meeting of the season. The Meteors finished fourth in the 3A/2A Confluence, while Front Range Christian tied for ninth in the 2A/1A Mile High. The Falcons have a pair of scorers averaging right around 11 points a game in Drew Lloyd and Ethan Fisher, while Lotus counters with Daniel Horra (16.6 ppg) and Daniel Dessalegn (14.2 ppg).
The fourth seed, Clear Creek, awaits the winner of the contest between Burlington and Denver Academy in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, while #3 Limon gets either Lotus School or Front Range Christian. Clear Creek beat Denver Academy 70-26 in Mile High league play, but did not face Burlington during the season. Ben Sanchez (16 points) and Ben Griffin (14 points) combined for 30 in that lopsided victory. Those two average just under seven and just over 14, respectively.
Limon will be seeing either of its potential opponents for the first time this season. The Badgers tied for second in the Union Pacific with Burlington and 1A Genoa-Hugo. They have won two straight and nine of their last 11 overall.
Receiving byes all the way into the semifinals are #1 Denver Christian (14-5) and #2 Byers (14-5). Denver Christian gets the winner of the Clear Creek quarterfinal, while the Bulldogs will see the winner from Limon’s quarterfinal. The Thunder beat both Clear Creek (58-33) and Denver Academy (81-26) in Mile High league action, but did not face Burlington. They are led by Eu Asefaw (11.9 ppg) and Jeff Amidon (10.9 ppg).
Byers won the Union Pacific and is very familiar with Limon. The Bulldogs beat the Badgers 55-39 two weeks ago, helping them nail down the league crown. Brady Shelley had 16 for the Bulldogs, and Hayden McCuen added 14. Byers also beat Front Range Christian (65-41) but did not play Lotus School.
Home sites will be utilized through the quarterfinals. Once the semifinals are reached, the games will be held at Vista Peak High School.
DISTRICT 5 (FIVE TEAMS ADVANCE)
With 11 teams in the field, District 5 is the largest and will qualify five teams for the regional round. Three pigtail games take place on Monday. In what could be the closest of the three, #8 Vail Mountain (5-13) takes on #9 Rangely (4-15). Vail Mountain finished the season with losses in three of its last four, but the Gore Rangers claimed a 45-36 victory over Rangely just prior to that streak. Becker Dienst had 16 points for Vail Mountain in that win, while Sydney Cole topped the Panthers with 10.
Seventh-seeded Hotchkiss (7-12) hosts #11 Hayden (6-13) with the winner advancing to face #2 Plateau Valley (13-6) in the quarterfinals. Hotchkiss outscored the Tigers 49-24 over the final three periods to claim a 56-32 victory in their regular season match-up. Nine different Bulldogs scored in the win, with Jacob Stucker scoring a team-high 14. Mason Brewer also had 14 for Hayden.
West Grand (9-10) is the #6 seed and the Mustangs will host #11 Caprock Academy (3-16) in the pigtail round. The winner moves on to face #3 Paonia (12-7) in the quarters. West Grand used a 22-8 second quarter to pull away from the Eagles two weeks ago, taking a 58-34 victory at home. Austin Stauffer had 17 for the Mustangs.
The winner of the pigtail between Vail Mountain and Rangely will face #1 Vail Christian (13-6) on Tuesday. The Saints have won two straight and 11 of their last 13. That includes wins over both Rangely (57-34) and Vail Mountain (78-61). Alec Moritz, who averages 16.5 points a game, had 16 against the Panthers and 29 against the Gore Rangers.
The lone quarterfinal that was already set has #4 Soroco (10-9) hosting #5 Meeker (9-10). It will be just under two weeks since the Rams claimed a 68-61 win over the Cowboys, giving them the home court advantage for this round. Grant Redmond, who averages 17 points and 11 rebounds, tallied 24 and 17 in that victory. Meeker’s Andy Kracht had a career-high 22 points in the losing effort.
Paonia already owns victories over both of its potential quarterfinal opponents. The Eagles beat Caprock Academy 62-16 behind 16 points from David Lozano, who also scored 16 in a 48-41 win over West Grand. Stauffer had 20 points in that loss for the Mustangs. Plateau Valley is in a similar situation. The Cowboys downed Hayden (65-32) and Hotchkiss (53-29). Trevor Brown led the Cowboys with 21 points against the Tigers and 15 against the Bulldogs.
Pigtails and quarterfinals will be held at home sites. Consolation semifinals (Thursday), semifinals (Friday), and placing games (Saturday) all take place at De Beque High School.
DISTRICT 6 (FOUR TEAMS ADVANCE)
Pigtail games were required to help set the final bracket in District 6 and those have already been played. Hoehne (10-10) defeated Las Animas (1-19) 67-48 last Saturday to earn the right to face Holly in the quarterfinals, while Rye (7-13) took care of Swink (2-18) 55-44 to earn a date with Fowler in the quarters.
Holly (19-0) is in its first season of 2A and the Wildcats have not missed a beat. Brigden Parker leads the team at better than 15 points a night, while Jarett Rushton (13.0 ppg) and Michael Rushton (11.5 ppg) give the team three players in double figures. That trio combined for 39 points in a 63-37 victory over Hoehne earlier this season. Federico Orozco put up 20 for the Farmers. He averages 17.6 a night.
Fourth seeded John Mall (13-6) hosts #5 Crowley County (9-10) looking for a sweep of the Chargers. The Panthers took a 49-40 victory over Crowley County way back in early December, as Jaziah Sandoval tallied a game-high 15 points. Kevin Suarez had 12 points and 15 boards in the loss.
Rocky Ford (12-7) is the third seed and the Meloneers will host Swallows Charter Academy (10-9) in the quarterfinals. Rocky Ford trailed 10-3 after the first quarter in their regular season meeting with the Spartans, but they rallied to win 48-41. Devon Jones had 22 points in the losing effort. Christopher Gonzales leads the Meloneers at close to 18 points a game, while Jones tops Swallows Charter at close to 13.
Fowler (16-3) rides an 11-game winning streak into its match-up with Rye. The Grizzlies have not lost since a 14-point defeat by Holly on Jan. 5th. The current streak includes a 67-38 victory over Rye, in which Fowler led 22-2 after one period and 45-16 at the half. Val Leone erupted for a career-high 31 points in the win. His previous best was 23. Kreed Rahl led the Thunderbolts with 11. Fowler also posted a 62-42 victory over the T-bolts back in December.
Quarterfinals will be played at home sites on Tuesday. The semifinals move to La Junta High School on Thursday and the placing games will be there on Friday.
DISTRICT 7 (FOUR TEAMS ADVANCE)
The pigtail round in District 7 will take place on Tuesday with only one game on tap. Eighth-seeded Loveland Classical (12-5) will host #9 Union Colony Prep (3-15) with a quarterfinal date against #1 Highland (18-1) on the line. Union Colony enters on a five-game skid, while the Lions have won their last five games.
Highland dominated the Timberwolves in Mile High action, 81-23. Tate Bessire recorded 24 points and 10 steals for the Huskies, who forced 32 turnovers in the game. The Huskies did not face Loveland Classical during the season, as the Lions only played a handful of games against CHSAA member schools.
The other quarterfinal in the top half of the draw has #4 Gilpin County (8-11) facing #5 Lyons (6-13). The hosts have dropped two straight games, while the Lions also enter with a loss in their last outing. Gilpin County won the regular season contest between the two, earning a 52-45 decision in early January. Will Lorenz led a trio of Eagles in double figures with a game-high 18 points. Noah Lindberg added 12 and Alex Wilhelm chipped in 11. Colton Jonjak-Plahn had 15 to lead the Lions and Tristan Chavez added 14.
Dayspring Christian (12-7) plays host to #6 Twin Peaks Charter (6-13), and the Eagles will be attempting to sweep the Timberwolves this season. Dayspring Christian won the regular season contest 54-37, with Christian Still scoring a game-high 17 points. The sophomore averages just a shade under 17 a game. Nathan Wanninger recorded a double-double of 13 points and 13 boards for Twin Peaks Charter.
As the #2 seed, Heritage Christian (15-4) drew #7 Dawson School (8-11) in the quarterfinals. While the Eagles are new to 2A this season, they’re no strangers to the rest of the Mile High league. They won their final five games of the regular season and nine of their last 11 overall. The Eagles took a 64-58 victory over the Mustangs during that run. Both teams had four players reach double figures in scoring in that contest. Heritage Christian’s Seth Bruxvoort led all scorers with 19. Josiah Bowsher (14), Austin Brown (13), and Jaden Johnson (10) were the others to do so for the Eagles. Phil Geraghty had 16 to pace the Mustangs, while Brandon Day, Riley Burridge, and Coby Grant-Krenz each added 11.
Wednesday’s quarterfinals will be held at home sites. The semifinals on Friday and placing games on Saturday take place at Frederick High School.
DISTRICT 8 (FOUR TEAMS ADVANCE)
District 8 jumps right to quarterfinal action on Tuesday, with home sites being utilized. Simla (13-6) shared the Black Forest title with Peyton (12-7) and Dolores Huerta Prep (14-5), but the Cubs got the nod for the top seed due to a higher RPI. That gives them a date with Fountain Valley (2-15). Simla had no troubles with the Danes in their regular season contest, jumping out to a 43-8 halftime lead on the way to a 75-32 victory. Joel George and Gaige Ashmore each had 15 points for the Cubs, who also got 10 points apiece from Brad Mazerall and Cole Mitchell. Luke Sperber scored 16 for Fountain Valley.
The 4 vs 5 match-up has Thomas MacLaren School (7-10) hosting Colorado Springs School (11-8). The Highlanders edged CSS 60-59 in the regular season, needing an 18-10 fourth quarter to complete the comeback victory. Thomas MacLaren is just 5-5 in its last 10 games, while the Kodiaks have put together the same mark over that period.
A three-point loss to Dolores Huerta Prep two weeks ago kept Peyton from winning the league title. That 53-50 defeat also dropped the Panthers to the #3 seed. They face Calhan (4-15) for the second time in a matter of days, as the Panthers picked up a 49-39 victory over the Bulldogs last Saturday. Rod Gregg tallied 18 points and 12 rebounds in that road triumph for Peyton. He’s averaging around nine points and eight rebounds a game on the season.
For Dolores Huerta Prep, this season has continued the trend of a program on the rise. After bottoming out in 2015-16 (1-19), the Scorpions have won 10, 12, and now 14 games, and counting. The Scorpions will host Miami-Yoder (2-15), a team they have already beaten 77-46 this year. In that game, Xavier Gomez led four players in double figures, striking for 20 points. Charles Winston added 17, while Angel Salinas and Curtis Martinez chipped in 14 and 12, respectively.
After the completion of the quarterfinals, the tournament shifts to the Colorado Springs Auditorium. The district will play its semifinals on Friday and the placing games on Saturday