4A BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW

On its way to a 21-win season a year ago, Silver Creek’s Trent Dykema put on quite a show.
Then a junior, the Raptors guard averaged 20.4 points a game, but he got stronger as the season progressed. Dykema topped the 30-point mark in three of the team’s final five games, including a season-high 35 points in the team’s Sweet 16 loss to Pueblo West.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that as a senior, Dykema has picked up where he left off. Silver Creek picked up three victories last week to run its record to 8-0, and Dykema — who is averaging 26.1 points and eight rebounds — capped the week by scoring 32 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with 12 rebounds, five assists and four steals in an 87-78 victory over Roosevelt in the final game of the Roughrider Shootout.
It was among the highlights of the first full week of boys basketball action coming out of the winter break. Pueblo West went 3-0 in the Rampart Holiday Classic, defeating 3A Colorado Springs Christian 68-48 and 5A Fruita Monument 63-56 before rallying to down 5A Rampart 61-60 on Saturday night.
Defending state champion Valor Christian, which was 2-6 before the break, picked up three victories with three different players leading the team in scoring in the wins.
Woodland Park continued its resurgence with victories over Mitchell and Harrison.  Before going 6-17 a year ago, the Panthers had won three games combined the three previous seasons. But Woodland Park is off to a 7-2 start this winter, with Skye Ciccarelli (17.2 points per game) scoring 29 in the win over Mitchell, and Josh Bodin (17.8 ppg) going for 21 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists against Harrison.
Ponderosa, which opens 5A/4A Continental League play this week, improved to 10-1 with road victories on the Western Slope over Central of Grand Junction and Grand Junction. Connor Hawk scored 28 points in the latter contest.
Headed into this week, league play kicks into high gear with a handful of big matchups on tap. Here is a look at some games to watch for the upcoming week:
Lewis-Palmer, fresh off its first two games in the Pikes Peak League, resumes PPL play against Falcon on Wednesday. The Rangers (8-0, 2-0) tallied a season-high 81 points in a victory over Sand Creek on Jan. 3, with four players scoring in doubles figures. Joel Scott had a game-high 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting, and the junior added 20 more points against Vista Ridge two days later.
Falcon (5-3, 1-1) split its first two league games, falling 59-54 to Vista Ridge in overtime before bouncing back with a four-point victory over Palmer Ridge. Vista Ridge outscored the Falcons 26-12 in the fourth quarter and in overtime despite 20 points from Reece Warren and 20 rebounds from Brendan LaRose, the latter of whom had a monster double-double of 25 points and 16 rebounds against Palmer Ridge.
That same night, another big Pikes Peak League tilt takes place as Palmer Ridge (8-3, 1-1) visits Air Academy (8-3, 2-0). The Bears had won eight in a row before falling to Falcon on Friday. Palmer Ridge has four games over the next 10 days before hosting Lewis-Palmer.
Air Academy kicked off 2018 with third overtime game of the season, defeating Discovery Canyon 57-49. Niko Lunt had 19 points and five steals in the victory. The Kadets then edged Sand Creek 48-47, with Lunt again going for 19 points but this time posting six steals. It’s a remarkable turnaround for Air Academy, which was just 1-22 a year ago.
Golden opened 4A Jeffco League play with impressive victories over D’Evelyn (61-51) and Wheat Ridge (80-47), but the Demons draw a stiff test Wednesday night. Golden (9-2, 2-0) visits a suddenly-hot Valor Christian team that won three games last week.
The Demons were swept by the Eagles (5-6, 2-0) in three games last winter, including the state semifinals. Golden has won seven of its past eight games, and Adam Thistlewood averaged just shy of 25 points over the previous three games. As mentioned previously, Valor Christian had three players lead the team in scoring last week in Jeremy Randle, Roger Rosengarten and Hunter Shkapich (who had a season-high 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting against Green Mountain). The Eagles also visit D’Evelyn on Friday.
The 4A Northern League ramps up this week with a few big contests. Dykema and Silver Creek (8-0, 1-0) visit Greeley Central (4-5, 2-0) on Tuesday and host Thompson Valley (5-3, 1-1) on Thursday. Greeley Central, which visits Longmont (5-1, 1-0) on Thursday, has looked good early after going just 6-17 a year ago. Jackson Hayslip is averaging 15.1 points and Steven Maldonado and Samuel Perez are right around 10. The Wildcats rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to top Centaurus 65-63 in overtime last Friday behind 20 points each from Hayslip and Maldonado.
Thompson Valley struggled in the second half of an 11-point loss to Mountain View to open Northern play, but rebounded with a 54-51 victory over Northridge. Justin Wiersema had a season-low 10 points in that game but is averaging 18 points on the season.
On Friday, Holy Family (6-4, 2-0 in Tri-Valley League) visits Windsor (6-4, 1-0). The Tigers opened league play with a 66-37 victory over Skyline and a 55-47 win over Frederick last week. Tanner Baird had 19 points and four steals against Skyline. Windsor also rolled past Frederick to open the league slate, with seniors Kirk Relford and Tyler McGinnis combining for 34 points. Holy Family has to get past a Berthoud team (4-7, 2-0) first on Tuesday. The Spartans defeated Erie and Skyline last week, with Wyatt Stratmeyer going for 25 points against Erie and four players scoring in doubles figures against Skyline.
The top two teams in the Western Slope League tangle Friday night as Glenwood Springs (7-3, 1-0) visits Battle Mountain (6-3, 2-0). Glenwood Springs shared the league title with Steamboat Springs a year ago, but the Demons have looked more consistent early. The team owns a victory over Faith Christian, and opened league play with a 55-34 rout of Palisade thanks to 18 points from Angel Garcia.
Battle Mountain downed Summit 66-58 last week. The Huskies host a Steamboat Springs squad Tuesday that was swept in three games in the Roughrider Shootout.
Not all games this week are league battles. One of top non-league matchups features the Northern and the Tri-Valley when Mead (6-4) visits Longmont (5-1) on Saturday.
The Mavericks split their two games last week, falling by eight points and Valor Christian before defeating Erie in league play. Jax Wilke and Nick Jacobs combined for 41 points in the quarterfinal rematch with Valor, and Wilke had 22 more — plus 10 rebounds — in the victory over Erie.
Longmont — two years removed from the state semifinals — has only played six games but is set to play five games in the next 10 days. The only loss for the Trojans was a two-point overtime setback to Golden. Senior Luke Johnson averaged nearly 18 points in five games in December.
Finally, another game not to miss comes from the Colorado Springs Metro, where Woodland Park (7-2, 2-0) visits Widefield (6-3, 1-1) on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers have already been touched on, Widefield is on a roll as well. The team’s only loss came to league-leading Elizabeth. Senior Tre Pierre is averaging 20.6 points and 8.6 rebounds, and had identical 17-point showings in victories over Pueblo East and Sierra last week. The Gladiators’ three losses have come by a combined eight points.

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