Familiar names once again fill out the state tournament as Lamar, St Mary’s, Colorado Springs Christian, Centauri and Pagosa Springs are back in the bracket and joined by newcomers Kent Denver, Moffat County and Cedaredge. Quarterfinals take place on Thursday with the state championship Saturday night.
All games will be played at Hamilton Gym on the campus of DU and can be seen live through a video stream at nfhsnetwork.com.
Colorado Preps will provide in-game scoring updates and final scores throughout the weekend.
#1 KENT DENVER SUN DEVILS (21-3)
COACH: Richard Judd
STATE TITLES: None
LEAGUE: Finished 2nd in Metro (9-1)
DISTRICTS: Beat Lutheran 52-44 for championship
REGIONALS: Beat Eagle Ridge Academy 65-32 & Delta 57-52
STREAK: Won 7 and 12 of last 13
RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 1-0 / Beat Clear Creek (2A)
NOTES: Sun Devils lost to Lutheran in conference play and finished second in the Metro but avenged that loss to win the district championship. Have played eight games decided by fewer than 10 points and have won seven. Only loss in that scenario came against Lutheran (51-47) on the road. In the state tournament for the first time since 2013. They went 1-2 that season losing to St Mary’s in the first round and Pagosa Springs in the consolation finals. Losses were by a combined five points. They also beat Machebeuf 64-47 in the consolation round that season.
#8 MOFFAT COUNTY BULLDOG (19-5)
COACH: Kenley Nebeker
STATE TITLES: None
LEAGUE: Finished in 4-way tie atop the Western Slope with Grand Valley, Cedaredge & Delta
DISTRICTS: Beat Grand Valley 43-34 for championship
REGIONALS: Beat Machebeuf 48-32 & Lutheran 44-38
STREAK: Won 6 straight and 11 of 13
RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 2-0 / Beat Rangely (2A) and Cedaredge
NOTES: First round game with Kent Denver will mark the third straight Metro league opponent for Bulldogs as they beat Machebeuf and Lutheran in regionals last week. Third state appearance in four years for the Bulldogs. And this will also be the third consecutive trip they face a Metro team in the first round. Lost to Lutheran in both 2016 and 2015. Most recent state win came in 2015 when they topped Centauri in consolation bracket.
#4 COLORADO SPRINGS CHRISTIAN LIONS (21-3)
COACH: Mark Engesser
STATE TITLES: 2002
LEAGUE: Finished 2nd in Tri Peaks (10-1)
DISTRICTS: Beat St Mary’s 35-34 for championship
REGIONALS: Beat Brush 58-33 & Eaton 63-23
STREAK: Won 6 and 15 of 16
RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 4-3 / Split with St Mary’s, beat Lamar twice & Pagosa Springs, lost to Fruita & Pueblo West
NOTES: Lions are in the state tournament for the second straight year. Lost to Lamar 24-18 in the state championship game last season. Member of the Tri Peaks conference which has three teams in the final eight. Has outscored opponents by 742 points this year and given up only 661 overall. Margin of victory sits at 31 per game.
#5 CENTAURI FALCONS (21-2)
COACH: Dave Forster
STATE TITLES: 2006, 1993 – both wins over Denver Christian
LEAGUE: Won Intermountain title (9-1) on tiebreaker over Pagosa Springs
DISTRICTS: Lost to Pagosa Springs 48-42 in championship game
REGIONALS: Beat Stargate 86-24 & Manitou Springs 55-40
STREAK: Won 2 and 8 of last 9
RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 2-2 / beat Lamar and went 1-2 against Pagosa Springs
NOTES: Won two games at regionals by combined 77 points which is largest combined margin for any 3A school this year. Senior class has been to the state tournament all four years of their high school career and program is making fifth trip in six years. Defense allows 28.5 points per game and has held eight opponents to 20 points or less.
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#3 ST MARY’S PIRATES (23-1)
COACH: Mike Burkett
STATE TITLES: None
LEAGUE: Won Tri Peaks championship (11-0)
DISTRICTS: Lost to Colorado Springs Christian 35-34 in championship
REGIONALS: Beat Roaring 62-26 and Salida 64-37
STREAK: Won 2 since only loss of the season
RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 3-1 / split with Colorado Springs Christian, beat Lamar and Pagosa Springs
NOTES: Spent much of the season ranked number one before a late loss to Colorado Springs Christian in the district dropped them to the third seed. Lost to Sterling 44-39 in the first round at state last season. Played in the state finals in 2013 but lost in double overtime to Holy Family. Pirates have won at least 20 games each of the last four years and at least every year since MaxPreps started posting records in 2007.
#6 CEDAREDGE BRUINS (21-3)
COACH: Ryan Hilbig
STATE TITLES: None
LEAGUE: Ended in 4-way tie for WSL championship with Moffat County, Grand Valley & Delta (all 7-2)
DISTRICTS: Beat Delta 45-36 for 3rd place
REGIONALS: Beat Liberty Common 35-24 & Jefferson Academy 38-35
STREAK: Won 3 and 11 of 13
RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 1-1 / beat Rangely (2A) Lost to Moffat County
NOTES: A remarkable 16 of their 24 games have been decided by single digits and the Bruins are 14-2 in those games. They opened the season with 10 straight wins before a loss to Grand Valley ended the perfect season. Then made it to 17-1 in late February. Bruins prefer a slower pace as they score just 39.7 points per game but the defense is very good as they’ve given up only 708 points in 24 games (29.5).
#2 PAGOSA SPRINGS PIRATES (20-3)
COACH: Wes Lewis
STATE TITLES: 2015
LEAGUE: Finished second to Centauri in Intermountain (9-1) on tiebreaker
DISTRICTS: Beat Centauri 48-42 in championship game
REGIONALS: Beat Middle Park 56-16 & University 56-24
STREAK: Won 5 straight and 15 of 16
RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 3-3 / went 2-1 vs Centauri, beat Ignacio, lost to Colorado Springs Christian & St Mary’s
NOTES: Won two games at regionals by combined 72 points which trailed only Centauri for total margin of victory last weekend. Lost to eventual state champion Lamar 43-42 in overtime in first round at year ago which marked second straight first round loss after winning the state championship three years ago. Also finished second in 2014. In state tournament for sixth consecutive year. Overall record in the past six years is 136-13. Every loss this year is against a team in the 3A state tournament bracket.
#10 LAMAR SAVAGES (20-4)
COACH: Erik Melgoza
STATE TITLES: 2017, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995
LEAGUE: Finished third in Tri Peaks (9-2)
DISTRICTS: Beat Salida 55-34 in third place game
REGIONALS: Beat Alamosa 42-19 & Sterling 44-42
STREAK: Won 3 and 10 of 11
RECORD VS STATE TEAMS: 0-4 / lost to Centauri, St Mary’s and twice to Colorado Springs Christian
NOTES: Defending state champions were the only road team to advance from last week as they edged Sterling at the Tigers Den 44-42. Third visit to the state tournament since the 2013-14 season. Captured three wins in the state tournament last year by a combined eight points including one-point wins in both the quarterfinals and semifinals. Defense allowed just 85 points in the three victories. Another championship this season will push the program into a tie with Broomfield, Holy Family, Machebeuf and Boulder for fourth most championships in Colorado history.