Since many conferences close up their schedule by Tuesday or Wednesday, we’re posting our weekly 3A boys basketball report a couple of days early to indicate which games carry the most importance concerning league standings.
District tournaments also get underway later this week on a few fronts and we’ll update those schedules as they become available.
We also lay out a potential state tournament bracket based on current conference standings and RPI standings from Monday February 12th at 12:30pm.
DSST-Green Valley (4-0) leads Ridgeview Academy (3-1) by one game in the race for the league championship and those two teams collide on Wednesday. The winner ends up with the conference title. Neither team is in the running to host a regional tournament even if they land a district title as DSST-Green Valley is 35th in RPI and Ridgeview Academy is 44th.
DSST-Stapleton won the league championship by beating Arrupe Jesuit last week. The Knights finish the league slate with Lake County on Tuesday night but that game will not factor into the championship chase.
Arrupe Jesuit (10-2) has completed their league schedule. They’re tied with Academy (9-2) but have a win over the Wildcats so they’ve locked up second place. Academy is one game up on Jefferson, Pinnacle and Clear Creek. The Wildcats meet Clear Creek and a loss could result in a four-way tie for third place. Academy will be the third seed in the district tournament as Clear Creek drops into Class 2A for the post-season and the Wildcats have beaten Pinnacle and Jefferson head-to-head.
Jefferson also has a win over Pinnacle so the Saints are the probable fourth seed and Pinnacle fifth. Jefferson finishes at Platte Canyon on Monday and Pinnacle plays KIPP Collegiate on Tuesday. Both are heavily favored to win so the standings likely won’t change.
DSST-Stapleton (12th) and Arrupe Jesuit (17th) are both in position to host a regional tournament if they win the district title. Pinnacle (20th) and Jefferson (21st) will also be in the tournament field while Academy (29th) continues to sit on the bubble.
Alamosa and Bayfield meet a second time on Thursday and the outcome of that game will impact the top three spots in the conference. The Moose won the first game 47-32 and that is the difference between them and Bayfield in the race for the title. A second win gives Alamosa the league championship outright and drops Bayfield into a third-place tie with Pagosa Springs. In that scenario, the Wolverines still hang onto the second seed based on point differential in two meetings with the Pirates.
Bayfield earns a share of the league championship by avenging the earlier loss to Alamosa. But the Wolverines are likely out of the running for the top district seed due to the loss to Pagosa Springs. Results against the next highest team in the standings comes before point differential.
Concerning RPI, Alamosa should host a regional tournament even if they fall short of winning the district title as they sit 2nd overall in RPI points. Bayfield is 8th in points and Pagosa Springs is 16th. Centauri (24th) and Montezuma Cortez (25th) also appear headed to the 32-team state tournament bracket.
Lutheran (9-0) and Kent Denver (7-1) have clinched the top two spots in the league standings and district tournament. The Lions beat the Sun Devils last week to land the title. The Lions have completed their league schedule but has two tough non-conference dates with St Mary’s and Sterling on tap this week. Kent Denver goes to Machebeuf on Tuesday.
Third place could be determined by the Tuesday matchup between Manual and Faith Christian. The Thunderbolts (6-2) currently hold down the position and stay there with a win. Faith Christian and Colorado Academy are tied for fourth (5-3). Faith Christian gets to third with a win if Jefferson Academy also beats Colorado Academy. If CA and Faith both win, then the two and Manual share third place.
Despite the loss to Lutheran, Kent Denver continues to be the highest ranked league team in the RPI. The Sun Devils are 6th with Lutheran 10th. Manual and Faith Christian are 13th and 14th with Colorado Academy 19th. All three teams are safely in the state tournament field. Jefferson Academy (33rd) is squarely on the bubble.
The top three positions have been wrapped up with Sterling gaining the league title; Platte Valley second and Resurrection Christian third. All three teams still have a league game remaining but based on tiebreakers, none of the three can move up or down in the standings.
The fun begins with the race for fourth. Heading into the final week, Brush, Strasburg and Estes Park share fourth place and all have four league losses. Of those three teams, Strasburg seems to be in the best shape to land the spot. They have a head-to-head matchup with Estes Park on Tuesday. Estes Park also has a make-up game with Sterling lost last weekend to weather. Brush will also be the underdog to Platte Valley on Tuesday.
If Platte Valley beats Brush, then Strasburg nabs fourth place with a win over Estes Park. If Brush and Strasburg both win, then Brush is fourth based on an earlier win over the Indians. Estes Park can only gain fourth by beating both Strasburg and Sterling. There’s also the possibility of a three-way tie for fourth if Brush and Strasburg both lose their finale and Sterling beats Estes Park.
Three league teams could host regional tournaments next week. Sterling tops the RPI standings and Platte Valley is third so both the Tigers and Broncos should be at home for the first two rounds. Strasburg is a strong seventh in RPI this week so the Indians are also in line to be at home in the following week.
Resurrection Christian is 11th in RPI and will get a very good seed in the state tournament bracket. Then the next league team in the RPI is Brush at #26 and Frontier Academy at #27. Eaton (34th) and Estes Park (37th) are also within range of getting in.
With the top four teams already locked into their position, the district tournament bracket is already taking shape. Vanguard (9-0) still has two league games remaining with Trinidad and Rye but the Coursers have already clinched the title. They lead Colorado Springs Christian by two games and already have a win over the second place Lions. CSCS meets Florence in their finale but they’ve also clinched second place. St Mary’s (8-3) and Salida (7-3) share third place but the Pirates won the head-to-head battle and with their league schedule complete, they’ve locked down third place. Salida has a league date with close rival Buena Vista but the Spartans will be the fourth-place team based on their win over Lamar.
Vanguard is 5th in RPI standings and is in the best shape to host a regional tournament. Colorado Springs Christian is 18th in RPI and could host the first two rounds. They would need to land the district tournament and also climb into the top 16 by the end of the district tournaments.
La Junta (23rd) is the next highest ranked team from the conference with Salida 28th and St Mary’s 30th. Manitou Springs (36th) and Lamar (40th) may have trouble getting into the field unless they finish in the top two of the district tournament.
Coal Ridge (7-0) and Roaring Fork (6-1) are first and second in the conference but each need at least one more win to stay in those positions. The Titans have league games left with Olathe on Thursday and Gunnison on Saturday. Roaring Fork plays Cedaredge and Aspen Friday and Saturday.
Maybe the most important game of the final week is Saturday between Grand Valley (5-2) and Delta (4-3). The two are separated by just one game in the league standings and the outcome of their showdown on Saturday could determine third and fourth. Grand Valley also has a game with Gunnison on Friday and Delta meets Moffat County the same day and results from those games could change the scenario a bit.
Coal Ridge is 4th in RPI and could host a regional even without a district championship. Grand Valley is 9th and on the bubble for hosting a regional. Roaring Fork (15th) is easily in the state tournament field and will earn the right to host by winning the district tournament. Delta (22nd) will also be in the state tournament field while Olathe (31st) and Cedaredge (32nd) could still use a few wins to solidify their spot. The Pirates and Bruins are also in danger of being bumped out of the field by district qualifiers below them in the RPI standings.
POTENTIAL STATE TOURNAMENT
District tournaments of course will determine official league qualifiers as the top two teams earn automatic berths, but we can continue to lay out potential state tournament brackets based on conference finishes.
For the bracket below, we use the following teams from each league as automatic qualifiers based on first and second place finishes in their respective league standings. The exception is that we move Weld Central into second place in the Confluence as they come in from the 4A Colorado 7 for district play
- CONFLUENCE: DSST-Green Valley, Weld Central
- FRONTIER: DSST-Stapleton, Arrupe Jesuit
- INTERMOUNTAIN: Alamosa, Bayfield
- METRO: Lutheran, Kent Denver
- PATRIOT: Sterling, Platte Valley
- TRI PEAKS: Vanguard, Colorado Springs Christian
- WESTERN SLOPE: Coal Ridge, Grand Valley
The top eight seeds based on RPI standings from February 12th would be in this order
- Platte Valley (at-large)
- Coal Ridge
- Kent Denver (at-large)
The rest of the field would be filled out by RPI with DSST-Green Valley (#35) and Weld Central (48th) joining the field as automatic qualifiers from the Confluence district tournament. In this scenario, Olathe (#31) and Cedaredge (#32) would be bumped from the field despite finishing in the RPI top 32.
- Grand Valley
- Resurrection Christian
- Faith Christian
- Roaring Fork
- Pagosa Springs
- Arrupe Jesuit
- Colorado Springs Christian
- Colorado Academy
- La Junta
- Montezuma Cortez
- Frontier Academy
- St Mary’s
- DSST-Green Valley
- Weld Central
|REGION ONE||REGION EIGHT|
|#1 Sterling vs #32 Weld Central||#8 DSST-Stapleton vs #25 Montezuma Cortez|
|#16 Pagosa Springs vs #17 Arrupe Jesuit||#9 Strasburg vs #24 Centauri|
|REGION FOUR||REGION FIVE|
|#4 Coal Ridge vs #29 Academy||#5 Vanguard vs #28 Salida|
|#13 Manual vs #20 Pinnacle||#12 Resurrection Christian vs #21 Jefferson|
|REGION THREE||REGION SIX|
|#3 Platte Valley vs #30 St Mary’s||#6 Kent Denver vs #27 Frontier Academy|
|#14 Faith Christian vs #19 Colorado Academy||#11 Grand Valley vs #22 Delta|
|REGION TWO||REGION SEVEN|
|#2 Alamosa vs #31 DSST-Green Valley||#7 Lutheran vs #26 Brush|
|#15 Roaring Fork vs #18 Colorado Springs Christian||#10 Bayfield vs #23 La Junta|
NOTE: For the state quarterfinals, Region One would face Region Eight, Region Four vs Region Five, Region Three vs Region Six and Region Two vs Region Seven.