Results from several games in Class 3A on Tuesday impacted at least three league championship races.  Manual scored a key win over Colorado Academy in the Metro, Coal Ridge held off a late rally against Roaring Fork in the Western Slope and Clear Creek stayed in the Frontier chase by edging Pinnacle.
Colorado Academy was unbeaten in league play and tied with Kent Denver and Lutheran atop the Metro but now they head to a showdown with Kent Denver one game off the pace.  Manual moved into a third-place tie with the Mustangs by scoring the 57-51 decision.  Davion Davis led the Thunderbolts with 14 points and Jaedon Bowles added 13.  Those two combined to hit 11 of their 19 shots and as a team, Manual shot 60 percent from the field.
Colorado Academy managed just 39 percent from the field but placed three in double figures.  DeAnte Dennis led the way with 18 and Alex Mushkin was next with 15.  Mark LeClair added a dozen but the remaining Mustangs totaled only six.
The Mustangs can climb back into the league title chase by beating Kent Denver on Saturday.  The Sun Devils will have eight days to prep for the showdown as their last outing was on December 20th in a tight 69-68 win over Manual.  Colby Gold (26) and James Doyle (20) combined for 46 points and also totaled nine three-pointers between them.  Gold was 6-9 from the arc and now has 35 for the season.  Doyle was 3-6 from the three-point line and now has 10 treys on the season.
Lutheran also remained unbeaten in league play with their 61-56 win over Faith Christian on Tuesday.  The Lions next hit the court on Saturday at home against Peak to Peak.
Roaring Fork missed a chance to move very close to the Western Slope championship.  They were coming off a high-quality road win at Grand Valley last week and almost toppled Coal Ridge on Tuesday.  The Titans though held on for a 68-64 win to stay perfect in conference play.  Coal Ridge outscored Roaring Fork 40-24 over the second and third quarters but the Rams won the fourth 23-14 but the rally fell just short.
Brandon Herrera had a huge game for the Titans; recording a double-double with 14 points and 12 assists.  Kevin DiMarco was the top scorer with 17 points and also pulled down six rebounds.  Connor Detlefsen (13) and Jesus Camunez (11) also reached double figures.
The Titans win sets up a major battle with Grand Valley next Tuesday.  A Coal Ridge victory moves them very close to the championship while a Grand Valley victory leaves those two and Roaring Fork involved in a very exciting race in the coming weeks.
Grand Valley whipped Paonia 74-37 in non-league play on Tuesday.  The Cardinals return to league play at Cedaredge on Friday.  Coal Ridge takes on Delta this Friday while Roaring Fork gets back on the court at home against Moffat County the same night.
Another tight game was found in the Frontier where Clear Creek outlasted Pinnacle 69-68 in overtime.  The win keeps the Golddiggers one game back of co-leaders DSST-Stapleton and Arrupe Jesuit, but the loss greatly damaged Pinnacle’s league championship hopes.  It was their second league loss and now the Timberwolves may be in a must-win situation against DSST-Stapleton on Thursday to stay in the discussion.
Getting the win on Thursday will be a difficult task.  DSST-Stapleton has scored at least 80 points in each of their last four wins and also have a win over Kent Denver on their resume.  Vince Jones (18.0) is the leading scorer with Andray Thomas Jr (12.9) and Trevaughn Maddox (10.0) also averaging in double figures.
Friday is of major importance inside the Patriot as Sterling goes to Platte Valley and Resurrection Christian meets Estes Park.  Sterling and Platte Valley are both perfect in conference action and share the league lead while Resurrection Christian and Estes Park share third place with Strasburg with one loss apiece.
Sterling has been simply overwhelming in league play with five wins coming by a total of 247 points.  Their tightest league affair was a 41-point win over Strasburg (69-28).  Platte Valley has won their four league meetings by only 46 points but their schedule has been more difficult.  They’ve already beaten Resurrection Christian and Estes Park so a win over the defending state champions this Friday sets up the Broncos for the league title.
The game also features two of the best big men in Colorado in Sterling’s Bodie Hume and Platte Valley’s Brock Becker.  Both are over 6-6 but play a completely different game.  Hume fits very nicely in the three-spot and averages 20 points, seven rebounds and over three assists a game.  The senior is also solid from the outside as he’s second on the team with 21 three-pointers overall.
Becker has proven he can hit the 15-footer and can play facing the basket but has been very effective on the post with his back to the basket.  In quality wins over Resurrection Christian and Estes Park last week, Becker combined for 41 points and 30 rebounds; recording double-doubles in each win.
Both program are much more than one-man teams.  In addition to Hume, Sterling features eight other players averaging between 4.6 and 7.1 points per game.  Almost all of them were contributors during the state championship run a year ago.  Riley Schaefer (7.1) is the second leading scorer followed by Isaac Harris (6.9), Carter Keil (6.3), Connor Shalla (5.6), Jason Frank (5.4), Axel Henry (5.1), Jace Pittman (4.8) and Christian Rose (4.6).
The Tigers have knocked in 91 treys with Harris topping the list with 23.  Hume is next and Schaefer has dropped in 20.
Platte Valley also goes 8-9 deep on the roster and each night someone different has the ability to step up and provide scoring.  Dustin Horn scored 15 against Resurrection Christian and added 11 vs Estes Park.  Trevon Wehrman came off the bench to provide a combined 15 points in the win while Garrett Mix added eight against Resurrection Christian and Cameron Gentry seven against the Bobcats.
Based on comparison scores against Platte Valley last week, the Friday matchup between Resurrection Christian and Estes Park could be a good game.  The Cougars lost in overtime by six and the Bobcats fell short by nine.  Resurrection Christian also played Platte Valley without leading scorer Reece Johnson who injured an ankle just 15 seconds in and did not return.
Upper division clubs also square off inside the Tri Peaks this week as Colorado Springs Christian is home to Manitou Springs and Vanguard goes to St Mary’s on Saturday.  Vanguard, thanks to a big win over CSCS last week, sits alone atop the standings but the remaining three teams have just one league loss apiece.
In addition to beating CSCS, Vanguard put together a strong week that also included quality wins over Lamar and La Junta.  Seth Fuqua totaled 78 points in the three wins but he got plenty of help from others.  Tyler Wheeler-Temple provided 17 against La Junta and 14 against CSCS; Dominique Clifford netted 17 against CSCS and Sterling Lee chipped in 10 against Lamar.
Outside shooting was also important as the Coursers nailed 26-treys during the week and now have 86 for the season.  The best effort came against Lamar where the Coursers hit 13 three-point shots including a season best 8 from Fuqua.
St Mary’s stayed one game back in the race by edging Buena Vista 71-70 last Friday.  The Pirates held on despite 43 points from Cade Carroll.  The Buena Vista senior hit 19 of 23 from the field in the loss.  Over the last three games, Carroll has totaled 126 points with 14 treys and hit 50 of 66 shots overall.
The Pirates rallied from eight points down to nab the win.  Tyler Englert led the comeback with 21 points; Gabe Calhoun and Camden Raedel both scored 14 and Draven Hackley chipped in 11.
Colorado Springs Christian recovered from the Vanguard loss to down Salida 82-68.  Manitou Springs suffered a league loss to St Mary’s (76-65) in December but has won six of seven overall since.  The lone loss in the stretch came against Kent Denver (79-72).
Cole Sienknecht (23.3) continues to play a high level for the Mustangs.  He’s been over 30 in three games this year but Manitou Springs is 1-2 in those contests.  The win came last week against Trinidad.  Joah Armour (8.1) is also a solid freshman.
Alamosa gained the first half lead in the Intermountain chase with a very important road win at Bayfield last Saturday.  The Moose trailed 20-17 at halftime but outscored the Wolverines 21-7 in the third quarter on their way to a 47-32 decision.  Noah Romero led the winners with 15 points and Ian Jackson added 12.  Angelo Ramirez, undersized against Bayfield, pulled down 14 rebounds.
Bayfield played the game without starting point guard Keyon Prior while leading scorer Ryan Phelps battled foul trouble.  He was limited to just eight points but grabbed 15 rebounds.  Hayden Farmer was the top scorer with 12 points.
Both clubs have difficult road trips to Montezuma Cortez this week.  The Wolverines go first on Friday with the Moose to follow on Saturday.  Distance on the bus is always a factor against the Panthers but Cortez is also playing very good basketball.  They lost their first meeting to Alamosa by just 10 points and fell at Pagosa Springs by just four.  The Panthers also have a four-point win over Centauri.
In the first meeting with Alamosa, Cortez led 16-8 after one quarter but scored just 22 points the rest of the game. Rye Adams hit five treys for Alamosa and finished with a game high 17 points.  Romero chipped in 13.  Jasen Engel (12) and Teagan Whiteskunk (11) paced the Panthers.