Heading into another weekend of league play, conference races across Class 3A Girls’ basketball remain quite a bit crowded.  Every league has at least two teams still unbeaten and atop the standings and two of them feature four teams sharing the top spot.
Inside the Metro, it’s an important week for a relatively new but improving Skyview Academy program.  The Hawks are 5-3 overall and 1-0 in league play.  They’re tied with Kent Denver, Colorado Academy, (both 2-0) and Lutheran (1-0) in first place and face two of those rivals this week.  Wins in both put them in great position to land the league championship and at least a split keeps them in contention.
Skyview Academy hosts Kent Denver on Wednesday and Colorado Academy on Friday.  Both opponents have more wins and have played a tougher schedule, so the Hawks will be the underdog in each game.  Natalia Miller-Forest is the lone Hawks player in scoring in double figures (14.0) but she gets help from Hannah Banko with 6.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  Those two combined for 26 points and 15 rebounds in last week’s narrow one-point conference win (45-44) over Manual.
Kent Denver scored league wins over Faith Christian (43-38) and Peak to Peak (57-32) last week before losing to Thomas Jefferson (67-32) in a non-conference matchup.  Julia Doyle hit just 3 of 19 shots against Faith Christian but her 11 of 14 effort from the free throw line allowed her to lead the Devils in scoring with 17.  Kent then jumped to a 31-9 halftime lead on Peak to Peak.  Ten players reached the scoring column led by Mika Fisher with 10 and Monica Royal with 9.
Colorado Academy used a combined 24 points from Kyra Kurtz and 17 from Story Wolf-Tinsman in Metro wins over Machebeuf (39-30) and Faith Christian (46-28) last week.  Kurtz added 20 rebounds overall and Wolf-Tinsman knocked in two treys against Faith.
Lutheran has just one game on the league schedule this week; at home against Machebeuf on Saturday.  St Mary’s Academy was part of the first-place logjam before Tuesday’s loss to Faith Christian (35-29) which dropped them to 2-1 in league action and 9-2 overall.  They host Peak to Peak on Friday and then visit Skyview Academy next Tuesday.
Three of the four conference leaders in the Patriot all cruised to wins on Tuesday.  Sterling downed Frontier Academy 70-14, Resurrection Christian knocked off Platte Valley 55-33 and Eaton defeated Valley 65-30.  The fourth first-place team, Liberty Common, did not play, but the Eagles head to Resurrection Christian on Thursday in a key battle.
Liberty Common has two conference wins and both are by 12 points; 47-35 over Brush and 44-32 over Platte Valley.  Anne Dutton scored 10, Abi White 9, and Eve Norman and Samantha Tsiouvaras both eight against Brush.  Norman and Dutton each netted 13 in the win over Platte Valley.
Juju Hemeyer scored 19 points in pushing Resurrection Christian past Platte Valley on Tuesday.  It was the Cougars eighth straight win.  Aspynn Ellis was next with 10 points as she reached double figures for the first time this season.
Eaton could also be challenged by Brush on Thursday.  The Beetdiggers are in a bit of desperation mode as they’ve dropped two of their first three league meetings.  Another setback likely leaves them fighting for no better than a fifth-place finish by seasons end.  Brush jumped to a 20-7 first quarter lead against Estes Park on Tuesday as they picked up their first league win (56-37).
Offensive balance is again the key for Eaton’s league success.  Bailee Duncan (10.4) and Addie Randel (10.) share scoring honors but three others, Alexis Lamoreaux, Micheala Hill, and Celsi Jurgensmeier all chip in six points per game.  Three more add three points per game to an offense averaging 52 points per game.
Sterling has two more games remaining this week but only one against a conference rival.  The Tigers host Valley on Thursday.  They also face Sidney NE on Saturday.
St Mary’s (4-0) and Colorado Springs Christian (3-0) continue to share the Tri Peaks lead with Vanguard, Lamar, and Manitou Springs all one game back.  The most important games this week both involve Vanguard as the Coursers meet CSCS on Wednesday and Lamar on Friday.
Vanguard opened league play with an overtime loss to Salida (63-58) before beating Florence (44-39).  Their overall resume also includes a solid win against a Colorado Academy club that, as mentioned earlier, is expected to challenge for the Metro crown.
Freshman Alexis Garcia has become the Coursers leading scorer with nearly 15 points per game.  She had a team high 17 in the loss to Salida.  Bre Swann (9.9) and Mia Jackson (8.4) are two other offensive options.  Jackson also leads the team in rebounding (13.0) and pulled down 16 against Salida.  The three players combined for 31 points and 25 rebounds in the win over Florence.
The Vanguard game begins a stretch of three high level opponents for Colorado Springs Christian.  They face Manitou Springs and Lamar next week as well.
League wins for the Lions have come easily as they routed Rye (66-8), Buena Vista (83-28) and James Irwin (74-20) over a five day stretch last week.  Megan Engesser did not play against James Irwin but totaled 55 points in the first two wins.  She’s averaging 21.5 for the season.  Rachel Ingram netted 67 points in the three-game stretch including 24 apiece against Rye and James Irwin.  Her season average now sits at 16.1.  She also matched a season high with eight steals against James Irwin and has 52 for the season.
Lamar whipped Trinidad (60-20) and Buena Vista (61-31) in conference action last week.  A win over Vanguard on Friday sets up key showdowns with CSCS and Manitou Springs next Friday and Saturday.
St Mary’s (10-0) got good news this week as they were ranked #1 in RPI.  The Pirates host Buena Vista in their only matchup of the week.
We’re still a week away from the first of two Centauri-Pagosa Springs meetings that will likely determine first and second in the Intermountain conference.  Both the Falcons and Pirates are 2-0 in conference play but don’t square off for the first time until the 26th.
Centauri stays inside the San Luis Valley this week for games with Alamosa on Friday and Monte Vista on Saturday.  Quick starts pushed the Falcons past Bayfield (58-21) and Montezuma Cortez (60-17) last week.  They led Bayfield 24-2 in the first quarter and built a 16-2 advantage over the Panthers.  Ember Canty finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double against Cortez and Caroline Van Berkum dropped in 11 points in each game.  The team also shot well on the week, hitting 45 percent from the field (25-56) against Bayfield and 42 percent against Cortez (22-52).
Alamosa split two games to open the league slate; falling to Pagosa Springs (53-31) and beating Montezuma Cortez (33-15).  They’ve played a good schedule including wins over Glenwood Springs, Montrose, and Elizabeth so they won’t be an easy out for any league opponent.
Pagosa Springs topped Sanford for a non-conference win (46-26) on Tuesday.  They’ll be favored against both Bayfield and Montezuma Cortez this weekend.
Cedaredge stayed unbeaten (9-0) overall with a thrilling 41-39 win over Delta in overtime.  The game was a non-conference contest as the two will collide again in early February for the league battle.  Courtney Freeman nailed a trio of three-pointers in the fourth quarter including two in the final 90 seconds to force the extra session.  Addison Schwartz then connected to two clutch free-throws in overtime to wrap it up.
The Bruins officially open Western Slope league action at home against Coal Ridge on Saturday.  The Titans are 5-5 overall and have won two straight including a 48-40 win over 4A Eagle Valley on Tuesday.
Moffat County (8-2), Roaring Fork (6-3) and Grand Valley (5-3) are three other league teams that are above five hundred for the season.  Moffat County, which downed Grand Valley 51-41 for a conference win last Saturday, has a big challenge at home Thursday against 4A Rifle before returning to West Slope league play at Aspen on Saturday.  Roaring Fork and Grand Valley meet up on Saturday in Parachute.
Academy (2-0) and Middle Park (1-0) are currently tied for first in the Frontier, but fellow league leaders Clear Creek (3-0) and Bennett (2-0) may end up battling for the championship.  They meet next Friday (26th) and that outcome could easily determine first and second.
Clear Creek will drop into the 2A division for the post-season and could be a factor once there.  They opened 21st in the first RPI standings of the season and hope to challenge the likes of Highland and Denver Christian in district tournament play.  The Golddiggers are busy this week meeting KIPP Collegiate on Wednesday, Strasburg on Friday, and Platte Canyon on Saturday.
Bennett dominated Jefferson 79-5 for their second conference win of the season.  A scheduled matchup with Middle Park was postponed.  The Tigers are at Arrupe Jesuit on Wednesday and Lake County on Saturday and will be favored in both.