After winning just eight games last season, Hayden is already 7-1 this year. They face Rangely this week in a key early game inside the 2A/1A Western Slope. PHOTO BY DWIGHT SIVERSON

Rocky Ford made the biggest splash in December as their overtime win over top ranked Limon before the break took them from outside the rankings to second in the 2A poll this week.  The Meloneers have a chance to make another splash this week as they host 1A #2 Sangre De Cristo.  The head-to-head battle is first up in our weekly 2A girls’ basketball weekly report.

This will be the first game for Rocky Ford since vaulting into the top 10 rankings so it will be curious to see how they respond.  Sangre De Cristo is a returning state tournament team from Class 1A so their roster is already familiar with playing in big games.

Both teams have a game under their belt after Christmas and neither team was pushed that hard.  Rocky Ford moved past Center 48-27 as ten players got into the scoring column; led by Abi Snyder with 12.  14 players scored for Sangre De Cristo as they rolled Creede 76-15.  Kylee Christensen tallied 13 and Tori Ford and Ashley Mortensen 10 apiece.

The clubs are a combined 13-0 on the season so one club will suffer their first loss of the season but the game will benefit both come March.

Eight of the 12 teams in the Western Slope head to the weekend with winning records so that league chase could be exciting from start to finish. Meeker is the defending champion as the Cowboys won all 11 league games last year to win the league chase by two games over three other clubs.

Three games set for this weekend will begin the sorting out process and Meeker (5-2) is involved in one of them.  The Cowboys host West Grand (5-1) on Friday and the other two involve Rangely (5-1) at Hayden (7-1) and Soroco (6-3) at West Grand (5-1) on Saturday.

Meeker opened January with a 59-43 win over Little Snake River WY (59-43) last week.  Sophomore Sarah Kracht nailed four three-pointers and led the Cowboys with 21 points.  Senior Julia Dinwiddie added 16 points and 10 rebounds.  The Cowboys also face North Park on Saturday.

West Grand is coming off a loss to North Park last week but it was a non-league game so it won’t impact the conference standings.  They meet again in late February.  Senior Emma DeSanti (14.8) and freshman Allie Daly (10.5) are the top two scorers.

Hayden won just eight games last season and has not reached double figures in wins since 2011-12 so their 7-1 start is a surprise.  They’ve played just one in-state team as they beat North Park (49-25) in league play right before Christmas.  The Saturday home game with Rangely will be their first since that win.

Alex Camilletti (14.5) and Hailee Smith (7.0) led the way against North Park with 13 and 12 points respectively.  They also pull down an average of 15 rebounds a game.  Another contributor is freshman Emma Seagraves with 8.3 points and 9.8 rebounds.

Rangely Senior Hannah Wilkie leads the Panthers with 12.0 points per game and is second with 8.5 rebounds per game. Her efforts have helped the Panthers to a 5-1 start as they enter league play against Hayden this Saturday. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MATT SCOGGIN

Rangely’s only loss was a narrow 40-37 decision to 3A Cedaredge.  They’ve not played since December 20th when they beat Plateau Valley for a non-conference win.  Four players represent most of their offense; Hannah Wilkie averages 12 and Mary Scoggins 10 with Kacie Lapp and Adelynn Halcomb both right at seven.  All but Wilkie are underclassmen so the Panthers may be a year ahead of schedule with their 5-1 start.

Soroco has won their last five but one of their three losses came by 30 points to Meeker at the White River Shootout in December.  They blew past South Park 70-19 in their first game of the new decade last week.  The Rams have already attempted 175 three-pointers and made 44.  Kaydence Bruner (12) tops the list with Jayden Ellis and Makinley Parker next in line with nine apiece.

Paonia and Hotchkiss also face off this week but it’s a non-conference game.  The Eagles and Bulldogs battle Friday in the first round of the Delta County Shootout.  The winner gets either Delta or Cedaredge in the finals on Saturday.

Paonia (3-2) lost their last two games in December.  They feature eight players scoring at least three points a game but none more than nine.  Hotchkiss (5-0) scored a quality win over DeBeque (52-45) in a non-league decison last month.  Else Vazquez leads the Bulldogs with 11.8 points per game.

5th ranked Sanford (3-3) has already played four games against quality 3A clubs and number five comes up Saturday against Pagosa Springs.  The Pirates have two losses but they’re against #1 St Mary’s and #2 Lutheran so they will be tough out.

Despite their 500 record, the Indians are a very good club that will be a factor in the post-season chase.  The roster is deep and includes several players who can many different positions on the court.  Makenzie Peterson is the top scorer (10.4) but six others average between two and seven.  Normally a fundamentally sound club, the Indians have turned it over nearly 19 times per game so they look to reduce that number in the second half.

Byers (5-1) and Peyton (4-1) are a couple of teams looking to dent the 2A rankings next week.  And each gets a strong challenge from quality 1A teams this week.   Both teams face Elbert with Byers up first on Thursday followed by Peyton on Friday.  Then the Panthers battle Genoa Hugo on Saturday.

Byers has won four straight since dropping a 51-21 decision to 3A Grand Valley.  The Bulldogs feature two players averaging double figures; Devon Harris (11.5) and Sam Linnebur (10.8).

Peyton played well against 3A Vanguard before Christmas before coming up short 53-40.  The Coursers are in the 3A Top 10 this week.  The Panthers are senior laden as classmates Kayleigh Manning (16.8), Shelby Miller (13.0) and Annika Deanda (10.8) are the top three scorers.  Junior Paige Gowen is next with 9.2 points.

The Panthers look to battle Simla and Colorado Springs School for the Black Forest championship this year.  They face both on the road with the Kodiaks up first on January 18th.  Simla’s date is February 7th.

Another team looking to pick up a couple of wins over quality 1A opponents this week is Sedgwick County (3-2).  The Cougars start Lower Platte action against Haxtun on Friday and then challenge Fleming on Saturday.

Sedgwick County is favored on Friday as they toppled Haxtun 45-33 before Christmas.  But beating Fleming will be difficult as the Wildcats are a state championship threat and also returned Whitney Chintala to the lineup in last week’s win over Weldon Valley.  She missed the December battle with Briggsdale due to injury.

The Cougars have not won more than seven games in a season since 2014-15 but hope to surpass that number with a talented but young roster this year.  Their top four scorers are underclassmen.  Alison Woodhams (10.0) is the lone double figure scorer but Kierra Ehnes (8.8), Ashley Rahe (8.2) and Whitney Walter (7.4) all contribute.  Ehnes also leads the Cougars with nearly seven rebounds and Woodhams six.

#2 Limon and #3 Del Norte also play important games this week that we preview more in-depth in our weekly 1A update.  The Badgers face Genoa Hugo on Friday with the winner there likely ending up with the Union Pacific championship at seasons’ end.  Del Norte gets in another test before the conference schedule when they face 1A Sangre De Cristo on Saturday

#1 Holyoke, #7 Wray and #8 Yuma should again battle for the Lower Platte league championship.  Holyoke, which took over the top spot in the polls with the loss by Limon, has just one game this week and they’re heavily favored at home against Burlington on Friday.  They must avoid looking ahead to the matchup with Limon on the 18th.

Wray hosts Yuma a week from Friday (17th) but the Eagles face two Nebraska opponents over a three-day stretch this week.  They go to Chase County on Thursday and then return home Saturday against Dundy County.  Yuma opens the league slate at Akron on Friday.  It’s their only game of the week.

#6 Rye (7-0) should battle Rocky Ford for the Santa Fe championship but that game is a long way as they don’t meet until February 18th.  Up this week is a tough test with Holly on Friday which marks the first game in 30 days for the Thunderbolts.  They haven’t seen game action since beating John Mall 54-5 on December 20th.  A win moves them to 3-0 in conference.

#9 Simla is off the week but their first game in January is a tough one against Byers on the 14th.  They then begin the Black Forest schedule is three nights later against Calhan.

#10 Ignacio scored a big San Juan conference win over Dove Creek (67-41) on Tuesday night.  The Bobcats and Bulldogs seem to be the best two teams in the conference and it’s their only regular season meeting.  Ignacio jumped to a 23-10 advantage in the first quarter and then stretched it to a 22-point halftime margin with a 14-5 run in the second quarter.

Up next for Ignacio is a stern challenge with Alamosa on Saturday.  The Moose are ranked sixth in Class 3A.

Kevin Shaffer

Kevin Shaffer

Kevin Shaffer is the founder and owner of the Colorado Preps Network which debuted in the summer of 2003. Kevin and his wife Lanette reside in Fort Morgan and are the proud parents of Lexi and Tyler.

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