Teams are still very early into their conference schedule but we’re starting to see which clubs are serious challenges to league championships on the 3A level.  Several games on tap this week will help further that process along.
The important action began on Tuesday where Platte Valley overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to knock off Resurrection Christian on the road in overtime 63-57.  The Broncos used a quick 10-2 run to begin the second half to climb back in and stay unbeaten in the Patriot.  Resurrection Christian played well despite losing second leading scorer Reece Johnson (17.7) to an ankle injury less than 30 seconds into the contest and he did not return.
Bryson Becker paced Platte Valley with 20 points and 13 rebounds.  Dustin Horn scored 11.  The Broncos also received a nice spark off the bench from Trevon Wehrman with eight points.  Jackson Romero took team high honors with 18 for Resurrection Christian and Jude Howell netted 14.  Video highlights from the contest are available on our Facebook page.
Sterling blew past Frontier Academy 76-25 and Estes Park collected a hard fought 71-67 win over Brush on Tuesday, so those two winners continue to share first place with Platte Valley.  One of the three will fall off the pace on Friday when Platte Valley entertains Estes Park.  Sterling gets back on the court that night as well at a Valley club that posted a nice win over Eaton on Tuesday.
Colorado Springs Christian and Vanguard are the only two league unbeatens remaining in the Tri Peaks but that will change on Wednesday when they meet up.  The Lions swept Rye, Buena Vista, and James Irwin by 38 combined points last week and sit at 3-0 in the conference.  Vanguard is averaging 81 points a game in conference games after beating Florence (80-29) and Salida (82-67) last week.
Defending Seth Fuqua will be critical for Colorado Springs Christian.  Fuqua enters the game averaging 27 points per game and is coming off a 32-point effort in the win over Salida.  The Lions have recent practice in slowing down a high scorer as they limited Buena Vista standout Cade Carroll to just eight shots and 21 points in last week’s win.  Carroll is the state’s second leading scorer with 31.4 points per game and exploded for 45 points in the Demons next game; a win over Lamar 63-45.
If Fuqua is slowed a bit, then the Vanguard duo of Carter Milroy (12.7) and Dominique Clifford (12.1) may be asked to do more.  Clifford is averaging 15 points over his last four while Milroy has reached double figures in all but one game.
Freshman Caleb Stockton led CS Christian in scoring against Buena Vista (14).  It was his career best and followed it up with 11 more points in the win over James Irwin.  Kolby Walker (13) and Noah Hopkins (10) also reached double figures against Buena Vista.
Vanguard also entertains Lamar on Friday.  The Savages’ loss to Buena Vista was their first in conference action so they remain just one game back of the two leaders.
Alamosa and Bayfield head to the weekend with identical 2-0 marks inside the Intermountain and their meeting on Saturday could be for the outright first half lead in that conference.  We say could be because both clubs have difficult games against local rivals on Friday.  Bayfield heads over to Pagosa Springs and Alamosa welcomes in Centauri.
As expected, Bayfield is a much better basketball team after Christmas.  They’ve won five straight since the break after battling through the effects of a long and prosperous football season that ended with the 2A state championship.  In league play, the Wolverines have dispatched of Centauri (60-56) and Monte Vista (80-46).  Hayden Farmer scored 19 to lead the way against Centauri and added 17 vs Monte Vista.  Ryan Phelps topped the scoresheet against Monte Vista with 22 points and 15 rebounds.  Farmer also recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Ryan Adams combined for eight three-pointers last week as Alamosa downed Pagosa Springs (48-26) and Montezuma Cortez (48-38) last week.  He totaled 28 points in the two wins including a game best 17 against Cortez.  Noah Romero also had a big week with 23 points and nine assists.
Yet another first-place meeting can be found in the Metro where Kent Denver meets Manual at the Thunderdome on Friday.  Both clubs are 2-0 in conference and tied with Colorado Academy (3-0) and Lutheran (2-0) atop the standings.
Kent Denver, which also plays Skyview Academy on Wednesday, had a good first week against league rivals downing Faith Christian (65-51) and Peak to Peak (81-44).  James Doyle (16.0) and Coby Gold (15.2) continue to lead the Sun Devils in scoring and they combined for 64 points in the two victories.  Doyle also hauled in 13 rebounds and Gold knocked in five three-pointers including four against Peak to Peak.  He has a team high 28 for the season.
Manual is led by high scoring Jaedon Bowles who dropped in 38 in last week’s 98-52 blowout of Skyview Academy.  The game was still off his season high of 50 in a wild win over Pinnacle back in December.  Tre D’Antre (13.3) is a second offensive threat for the Thunderbolts.  He scored a season high 24 in the conference win over Peak to Peak (69-55).
Colorado Academy and Lutheran both collected Metro wins on Tuesday.  The Mustangs stopped Peak to Peak 72-62 and will face Skyview Academy on Friday before back to back tests with Kent Denver and Manual next week.  Lutheran knocked off Jefferson Academy 62-28 and next is home to Machebeuf on Saturday.
Only three conference games have been played overall in the Western Slope so it’s still much too early to get a solid picture on the championship race.  Grand Valley and Coal Ridge are the likely favorites at this point, but each gets tested this weekend.  The Cardinals are challenged by visiting Roaring Fork on Friday and Coal Ridge goes to Cedaredge the next afternoon.
Roaring Fork and Grand Valley played a dandy contest a year ago with the Cardinals escaping with a 57-56 win.  All 56 of those points return for the Cardinals including 19 from Kade Hurst and 16 from Garett McGee.  Roaring Fork lost 33 points from the game to graduation, but Justin Thompson and Joe Salinas combined for 24 points and each is back in the lineup this year.
Grand Valley opened league play by beating Moffat County 72-51 on the road last week.  The Cardinals scored 26 pints in the first quarter and created a 16-point lead that they held through most of the game.  Hurst had 17, Brendan Hagerty and Magee finished with 14 and Jeff Holbrook added 10.
Following an opening loss to Steamboat Springs, Roaring Fork has reeled off seven straight wins.  Since they also host Coal Ridge next Tuesday, the Rams are entering maybe their most critical stretch of the conference schedule.
Coal Ridge picked up a nice win at 4A Eagle Valley (80-69) on Tuesday.  Brandon Herrera topped the Titans with 22 points; Kevin DiMarco provide 19 and Jan Hernandez 18.  DiMarco, with 21 rebounds, also dominated the backboard and picked up his fifth double-double on the season.
The trip to Cedaredge on Saturday marks the league opener for both the Titans and Bruins.  Cedaredge has momentum as well based on their 49-45 win over Delta on Tuesday.  The victory came in the non-league matchup as the two rivals meet again on February 6th for the conference game.
Two clubs remain unbeaten inside the Frontier as DSST-Stapleton (4-0) and Arrupe Jesuit (2-0) share the early lead.  Each team is in action on Wednesday and Saturday this week.  DSST-Stapleton meets Bruce Randolph and Middle Park while Arrupe tangles with Bennett and Academy.  Arrupe also has a third league game on the schedule week as they host Middle Park on Thursday.  The head-to-head clash between the two leaders is set for February 7th.