Following a home loss to #2 Alamosa last Friday, #4 Kent Denver needed a quick rebound in their conference opener with #3 Faith Christian and the Sun Devils did exactly that on Tuesday as they downed the Eagles 65-51 on the road.  Each club has eight league games remaining and upsets often occur in the Metro, but the win could easily propel the Sun Devils to the league championship.
The game was tight through three quarters with Kent Denver holding a 44-42 advantage.  The Sun Devils though outscored the Eagles 21-9 in the final eight minutes to score the win.  James Doyle and Haiden Citron each netted 18 points and Coby Gold and Carter Harrington added ten apiece.  The Devils next host Peak to Peak on Friday.
For Faith Christian, the Eagles face another important league test against Colorado Academy on Friday night.  The Mustangs are 1-0 in league action after blowing past Machebeuf 61-39 on Tuesday.  They blitzed the Buffs with 20 first quarter points and then outscored them 16-6 in the fourth.
Another crucial early league contest on Tuesday took place in the Intermountain where Alamosa took out Pagosa Springs 48-26.  It was the second straight impressive win for Coach Brandon Brubacher’s club as they were seeing their first action since knocking off Kent Denver on the road last Friday.  Ry Adams scored 15 points and Angelo Ramirez dropped in 11 in that win.
On Tuesday night, the Moose trailed 6-4 after a low scoring first quarter but then went on a 19-3 spurt in the second quarter to take control.  They also outrebounded the Pirates 29-15 over the contest.
Balance was the key for the Moose offensively.  Ramirez and Adams again led the way with 11 points each and Noah Romero also reached double figures with ten.  Pagosa Springs was led by Isaiah Griego with nine.  Both teams are in action on Friday.  The Moose host Montezuma Cortez while the Pirates are back at home against Monte Vista.
Also coming up in the IML Friday is the first of two meetings between Bayfield and Centauri.  They collide in La Jara.  Centauri improved to 7-2 overall by whipping Trinidad 70-49 last week.  It was their third straight win.  The Falcons also host Montezuma Cortez on Saturday and will look for a quick 2-0 start on their home court.
Bayfield bumped their record to 5-4 by downing Kirtland Central NM 63-56 on Tuesday.  It was their third straight and the Wolverines should be a much better team in January and February compared to December when they were still coming off a state football crown.  No stats from Tuesday’s win have been reported but standout Ryan Phelps was averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds a game going in.  The senior has recorded five double-doubles this season including a 20 and 14 effort in last week’s win over Ignacio.
Since they played in the Rampart Tournament last week, Colorado Springs Christian is getting a late start on their Tri Peaks schedule.  They downed Rye 63-50 on Tuesday in their first of three league games this week.  The Lions also face Buena Vista on Thursday and James Irwin on Saturday.
CS Christian is the standard bearer in the Tri Peaks.  Tuesday’s win put their conference record at 77-2 since the start of the 2011 season.  The victory also snapped a three-game losing skid as the Lions 0-3 at the Rampart tournament losing to the 5A Rams and Fruita Monument and 4A power Pueblo West.  The Lions have been led on offense by Kolby Walker (18.0), Noah Hopkins (16.4) and Brandon Pitt (11.4) thus far.
Against Buena Vista, the Lions will focus on slowing down Demons guard Cade Carroll.  The CSU-Pueblo signee is averaging nearly 30 points and 12 rebounds a game.  Despite those numbers, the Demons have dropped five straight but a win over CSCS on Thursday puts them right in the middle of the league championship chase.  Buena Vista also meets Lamar on Saturday and the Savages (2-0) have the early conference lead.
A second big-time scorer in the Tri Peaks is Vanguard’s Seth Fuqua.  He entered the week scoring 28 points a game to go along with six rebounds and four assists.  Fuqua has scored at least 26 points in all but one game this season.
The Coursers also have league championship thoughts and they opened their league slate by handling Florence 80-29 on the road Tuesday.  They host Salida on Friday.
Manitou Springs scored a big win over La Junta last week which balanced out a league loss to St Mary’s before Christmas.  Cole Sienknecht led the way with 28 points.  The Mustangs downed Ellicott on Tuesday and return to league play on the road at Rye on Thursday.
Defending state champion Sterling played their first game at home this season on Tuesday bouncing University 68-25.  The Tigers also debuted a new wood floor which replaced the long-time tartan surface at Tiger Gym.  Players apparently liked the change as the Tigers jumped to a 21-2 first quarter lead and led 46-9 at intermission.
A tougher challenge for the defending champions could come on Friday as they head to Strasburg.  The Indians collected a fifth straight win on Tuesday by beating Eaton 68-47 on the road.  Leading 11-10 after one quarter, the Indians outscored Eaton 25-9 in the second and 21-8 in the third to pick up the league opening win.  Jake Miller dropped in 16 and Brock Lane added 12 to lead nine players in the scoring column.
Strasburg’s defense will focus on UNC-signee Bodie Hume Friday night.  Hume leads a very deep Tiger lineup with 19.3 points and 5.9 rebounds a game.  Despite his 6-8 frame, Hume is very comfortable facing the basket and can shoot the three-pointer which makes him a difficult matchup for any opponent.
Colton Shalla (6.7), Isaac Harris (6.7), Carter Keil (6.6), Riley Schafer (6.3) and Jayson Frank (5.1) can also provide offense for Coach Mike Holloway’s club.
Two other teams that won Patriot league openers on Tuesday square off Friday as Resurrection Christian heads to Brush.  The Cougars (7-3) moved past Valley 57-48 and the Beetdiggers (7-1) won impressively at Liberty Common 59-42.  The two clubs along with Sterling, Strasburg and Platte Valley should battle for the top four spots in the conference race.
Ryan Dunker (14.3) and Armando Saucedo (11.7) lead a Brush offense averaging almost 60 points per game.  Resurrection Christian (66.8) averages a bit more so the game should be high scoring and up-tempo.  Sophomores Reece Johnson (20.4) and Jackson Romero (17.1) pace the Cougars offense.  Romero did not play against Valley and Johnson netted 16.  Derek McCormick (18 points) took home game high honors in the win.
Monday marked an important early battle in the Frontier as Jefferson picked up a 64-53 win over Pinnacle.  The win pushed the Saints to 4-1 in league play and 9-1 overall.  They sit one game back of pre-season conference favorite DSST-Stapleton and Clear Creek who share the early lead.  Jefferson lost to DSST-Stapleton 60-50 before the break, so they may need some help to land the Frontier championship.
Clear Creek, which drops to Class 2A for the post-season, could be a sleeper in the race this year as they can build off momentum from a football playoff appearance.  Noah Sarria dropped in 30 points and Lucas Gerding 23 in their conference opening 68-54 win over Sheridan on Tuesday.  They have two more home games in Idaho Springs this week against Arrupe Jesuit on Thursday and Bruce Randolph on Saturday.
In the Western Slope, the top league game this week is on Saturday as Grand Valley heads north to Moffat County.  The unbeaten Cardinals (6-0) have not played since December but will get a tune-up game with Olathe the night before.  Coach Scott Parker’s group has scored at least 70 points in three of six games this year including over 80 twice.
Kade Hurst (20.2) leads the fast-paced offense but he gets plenty of help from Brendan Hagerty (11.8) and Indra Griggs (11.2).  Six Cardinals have knocked in a three-pointer this year including Garrett McGee with a team best eight.  Hurst is next with seven and Hagerty has five.
Moffat County is 5-3 but all three losses are against larger schools or out-of-state teams.  Averaging 67 points a game, they also prefer an up-tempo game.  They’ve scored at least 72 points in four of their five wins.
Non-conference wise, Delta (5-1) has a nice meeting with 4A Montrose (8-4) on Friday.  Delta was unbeaten through December but opened January with a frustrating 59-47 non-league loss to Roaring Fork.  Montrose opened 1-4 but has won seven straight including a 3-0 mark at the Aztec NM tournament last week.  The Indians also host Rifle on Saturday before meeting Fruita Monument in their SWL opener next week.