Two years ago, Longmont’s boys basketball team was a senior-heavy squad that made a run to the Class 4A state semifinals, just one year after reaching the state title game.
The Trojans graduated 10 seniors off that team – including its top six scorers – and struggled to a 13-12 mark last winter, but still made the postseason and won its playoff opener.
But that experience has paid dividends this season. With two games remaining in the regular season, the Trojans have won 19 consecutive games and Monday night became the first 4A boys team to reach 20 victories on the season. The Northern League champions picked up four more wins over the past seven days, including a big 49-37 victory over second-place Silver Creek last Thursday.
After a slow start that saw the Trojans (20-1, 12-0) score only one point in the first quarter, Longmont poured in 21 points in the second quarter and never looked back. Junior Brady Renck scored a season-high 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting to lead the Trojans to the victory.
Longmont closes out the regular season against Thompson Valley and Skyline this week.
The Trojans weren’t the only team celebrating a league championship. Pueblo South clinched the South Central League title outright with a pair of victories, including a 76-54 triumph over Pueblo West last Thursday.
The Colts (19-2, 8-0) have won 13 in a row headed into their final two games of the regular season.
Another 19-win team is Lewis-Palmer, which took home the Pikes Peak crown by virtue of its season sweep of second-place Falcon. The Rangers (19-2, 11-1) have won six in a row after dispatching Cheyenne Mountain and Discovery Canyon last week.
Matthew Ragsdale scored 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting against the Indians, and Joel Scott and Ragsdale combined for 45 points in the victory over the Thunder.
Glenwood Springs survived a pair of close games against Steamboat Springs and Battle Mountain to lock up the Western Slope League crown. Angel Garcia scored 11 points to lead the Demons (18-4, 11-0) past the Sailors 43-41 in overtime, and AJ Crowley had 14 points in a 56-52 victory over the Huskies.
Windsor put itself into position to reel in the Tri-Valley League championship thanks to two nail-biters. The Wizards (15-6, 10-2) edged Holy Family 62-61 last Tuesday, and three days later downed Mead 63-60.
Tyler McGinnis scored 23 points as Windsor survived a furious fourth-quarter rally from Holy Family. Kirk Relford had 23 against the Mavericks as Windsor fought back from a five-point deficit headed into the final quarter.
As teams prepare to wrap up the regular season, and with four league titles yet to be determined, the final week isn’t lacking for drama. Here is a look at some of the upcoming week’s top games in the 4A classification:
With three teams in the hunt for the Jeffco League title, this week is all about must-win situations. Golden and Valor Christian are currently tied for league lead at 11-1, with Evergreen sitting at 10-2. The Cougars host both teams, with Valor Christian paying a visit Tuesday night and Golden headed into the mountains on Thursday night.
Evergreen (17-4) lost to both teams last month by a combined six points. The Cougars could create a three-way tie returning the favor with a sweep this week. Bridger Tenney averages 16.1 points and Chase Rogers is at 15.5.
Golden and Valor Christian split their regular-season meetings, with the Demons taking the last one 76-61. Golden (18-3) has won nine in a row, and Adam Thistlewood is averaging just shy of 23 points a game.
Valor (14-7) had won 10 in a row before the loss to Golden. Hunter Shkapich and Jeremy Randle each average right around 14 points a game.
Widefield is inching closer to the Colorado Springs Metro crown, but the Gladiators have two more tests to pass. The bigger of the two comes Tuesday night, when Widefield (17-4, 12-2) hosts third-place The Classical Academy (14-7, 10-4).
Widefield currently has a one-game lead on Mesa Ridge and a two-game cushion over the Titans. The Gladiators have won 11 in a row, and senior Tre Pierre is averaging nearly 20 points and nine rebounds a game.
A one-point loss to Sierra last Friday made things tougher for TCA. Jared Belcher averages 16.7 points a game to pace the Titans.
While neither team has a chance at the league title, there is still plenty at stake Tuesday night for Pueblo East and Pueblo West. The rivals clash with second place in the South Central at stake.
Pueblo East (13-8, 5-3) put itself in this position by defeating West 40-39 back on Jan. 26. The Eagles have won three in a row and avenged an earlier defeat by topping Pueblo County 47-46 last Thursday behind 17 points from Joe Padula and 13 points, six assists and four steals from Marvin London.
West (15-6, 5-3) is coming off a loss to Pueblo South. Nieyem’e Smeyer-Williams averages 14.9 points and Pierre Taylor is at 13.2 points.
Both teams are stinging a bit after coming up just short against Windsor last week, but Holy Family and Mead need to regroup this week. The two teams trail the Wizards by one game in the Tri-Valley with two games remaining.
Holy Family (13-8, 9-3) visits Mead (13-8, 9-3) on Tuesday night in a must-win for both teams. The Tigers, who have lost to Windsor twice, rebounded last Friday with a season-high 81 points in a victory over Erie. Four players scored in double figures, led by Tanner Baird’s 16 points.
Mead split with the Wizards, but needs to top Holy Family and Berthoud and get some help. Jax Wilke leads the Mavericks at 14.7 points and 7.9 rebounds a game.
While the big game in the Denver Prep League this week is the title-deciding clash between 5A’s Denver East and George Washington, there is a big 4A tilt as well when Denver South takes on Thomas Jefferson.
The Rebels (11-10, 4-2) are coming off a 20-point loss to East. Senior Elias Curry and Cortney Dean each average a little less than 12 points a game.
Thomas Jefferson (12-9, 3-3) has dropped two in a row, but has a talented sophomore in Darius Hornbuckle (14.6 ppg).>