It’s still too early for teams in 3A boys’ basketball to lock down league championships but many clubs could use important wins this week to remain in the championship discussion. Several crucial games can be found on the schedule involving teams in either first or second place in their respective league.
In the Tri Peaks, Vanguard can take a huge step to landing the league championship. The Coursers are unbeaten in conference play and lead Lamar and Colorado Springs Christian by one game. They’ve already scored a win over Lamar and they face Colorado Springs Christian Tuesday night. A win over the Lions doesn’t officially clinch the league title but they will be in great shape to be there at year’s end.
The Lions have momentum from a 79-71 overtime win over St Mary’s last Saturday. The win kept CSCS one game back in the league chase and makes the Tuesday battle with Vanguard very important. Three Lions scored at least 20 points in the win with Brandon Pitt picking up a game high 26 points. Kolby Walker and Caleb Stockton each added 21. Those three combined to hit 27 of 57 shots on the game and combined for six three-pointers. Stockton and Josh Erickson also added 10 rebounds. Mateo Mendoza chipped in six assists and six steals.
By comparison, Vanguard has a ten-point win over St Mary’s back on January 4th. Otherwise, the Coursers have not been pushed in Tri Peaks play; winning all other games by at least 29 points. They’ve won nine straight overall and remain unbeaten against Colorado opponents. Seth Fuqua averages 23 points; Dominique Clifford 20 and Joseph Padilla 15 for an offense generating 79 points per game.
St Mary’s looks to bounce back from the CSCS loss by hosting Lamar on Saturday. That outcome will also impact the top four spots in the conference standings. Eddy Ferrara netted 24 points in the loss to Colorado Springs Christian while Gabe Calhoun (15), Dom Hartman (10) and Luke Stockelman (10) also reached double figures. Lamar comes off an important 61-53 win over Manitou Springs last week. Dylan Vallejos was six of nine from the three-point line and finished with a season best 26 points. He averages 17 points a game and has reached double figures in every game this season.
Another important Tuesday game is found in the Metro where Lutheran makes the trek to Kent Denver. The Lions and Sun Devils each have one league loss and sit tied with Faith Christian in second place. All three teams are looking up at first place Manual. The Thunderbolts have already beaten Kent Denver and Faith Christian but doesn’t face Lutheran in the regular season finale (Feb 13th). With that in mind, Lutheran would like a win on Tuesday to make that game important to the championship picture. A loss drops them two games back.
The Lions’ lone setback in league play came against Faith Christian (48-47) but they’ve won four straight since and each win has been by at least 24 points. Matt Thompson 912.9) and Hayes Faulkenberry (12.8) both average nearly 13 points a game for Lutheran. Aidan Potter (9.5) and Jeet Pathak (9.1) are both closing in on double figures.
Kent Denver played well but came up short against #1 Sterling (47-45) last Saturday. It was the Sun Devils second loss and the other was against #2 Manual. Kent continues to play without standout guard Coby Gold but still received 23 points from James Doyle. The senior has pushed his scoring average to 24.1 points per game and has been over 21 points in each of his last six games.
Faith Christian has two league games on tap this week. The Eagles host Jefferson Academy on Thursday and then visit Machebeuf on Saturday. Two wins keep them no worse than one game back of Manual. The Thunderbolts are favored at Peak to Peak on Tuesday in their lone conference game of the week.
This week will determine if Strasburg can contend for the Patriot league championship. The Indians have a make up game with Sterling on Wednesday and then tangle with Resurrection Christian on Friday. Both games are in Strasburg. The Indians start the stretch tied with Resurrection Christian in second place and each club is one game back of Sterling. Sterling toppled Resurrection Christian in overtime earlier this month so a win on Wednesday gives them victories over their top two challengers.
The Indians though can’t completely focus on the two matchups as they must deal with Brush on Tuesday. They enter the week having split their last four games. Wins have come against Platte Valley and Valley with losses to University and Byers (non-league). JC Spence leads Strasburg with 12.2 points per game and is second in rebounds with 6.2. Mitchell Davis chips in 11 points and 6.4 rebounds each night. Offensive support comes from sophomore Trystan Graff at over nine points per game.
Davis led the way in the narrow 62-59 win over Valley last week. He scored 18 points and added four rebound and two assists. Collin Russell was next with a season best 16 points. It was just his third game in double-digits all season. Hugo Alvarez also reached a season best with 13 points for his first double figure game of the campaign.
Sterling’s win over Kent Denver was the 300th career win for Mike Holloway and he had to earn it. The Tigers led 33-19 at halftime but held on as the Sun Devils won the second half 26-14. The win though kept the Tigers unbeaten. They visit Liberty Common on Tuesday before taking part in the make-up game at Strasburg. The Tigers also host Estes Park on Saturday.
Resurrection Christian heads to Eaton on Wednesday in another game rescheduled due to an earlier postponement. The Reds will be a tough out as they sit tied with Platte Valley and University (4-2) in fourth place.
Centauri’s road win at Bayfield (64-53) tightened up the Intermountain chase. The Falcons (3-2) moved into sole possession of second place and are now just one game back of Bayfield who suffered their first league loss. That gap can be made up on Saturday as the two clubs meet again in La Jara. It’s the second straight week Bayfield plays a league opponent twice in six days as they had the same slate with Alamosa last week.
The race remains crowded behind the Wolverines and Falcons as Alamosa, Montezuma Cortez and Pagosa Springs are all 3-3. The lone game featuring those clubs squaring off is on Saturday as Montezuma Cortez goes to Alamosa. Two of them challenge teams ahead of them in the standings on Friday as Pagosa Springs battles Centauri and Montezuma Cortez meets Bayfield.
Two key games on Wednesday night will determine if two, three or four teams will remain in the Frontier championship chase. DSST-Stapleton and Middle Park are both unbeaten in league play and share the conference lead but they face KIPP Collegiate and Academy on Wednesday. KIPP and Academy are tied for third with one loss apiece. Wins by DSST-Stapleton and Middle Park give them a two game edge and turns the race into a two-team battle. Wins by KIPP and Academy create a four-way tie for the top spot entering the final two weeks of the season.
Delta (4-0) leads Gunnison (5-1), Roaring Fork (3-1) and Grand Valley (3-1) by one game on the Western Slope. None of those four meet this week so the race could remain in the same order going into next week. Delta has two road games at Cedaredge (Tuesday) and Moffat County (Friday). Gunnison has one conference game with Olathe (Tuesday) and Roaring Fork entertains Basalt on Friday. Grand Valley has conference games with Olathe and Basalt on the road Friday and Saturday.
The Confluence standings could also remain unchanged as the top three teams avoid each other this week. DSST-Byers (5-0) is alone atop the standings and lead DSST-Green Valley (3-1) and Ridgeview Academy (3-1) by one game. DSST-Byers has one game this week as they host DSST-College View on Wednesday.