Eight straight wins have allowed the Falcon boys basketball team to climb the ladder in the Pikes Peak League. The Falcons currently sit in second place, sandwiched between Lewis-Palmer and Palmer Ridge.
As impressive as their streak has been, the Falcons are adopting a “why stop now?” mantra this week. That’s because they play against each of those foes, starting with a home game Wednesday against Palmer Ridge. They’ll travel to Lewis-Palmer on Friday night.
Win them both and a first-place finish — or at least a share of the league title — becomes a distinct possibility for the Falcons, who currently sit No. 8 in the CHSAANow.com poll.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it’s fair to note that Falcon (13-4, 6-2) lost its first matchup with No. 2 Lewis-Palmer 70-44. They edged Palmer Ridge 65-61 in the first meeting behind 25 points and 16 rebounds from Brendan Larose and 21 from Reece Warren.
Warren leads the Falcons with an 18.3 scoring average, Larose averages 15.8 points and 13.2 rebounds and Noah Martinez chips in 13.3 points per game. While the Falcons will encounter balance when they face Palmer Ridge (12-5, 5-3), they’ll have to gear up for Joel Scott (18.7 scoring average) and Matthew Ragsdale (15.9) at Lewis-Palmer.
The Rangers (15-2, 7-1) started the season 13-0 and now appear back on track after successive losses to Liberty and Palmer Ridge.
As the regular season whittles down to its final three weeks, here are a few other Class 4A games to keep tabs on this week:
Pueblo East at Pueblo South (7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Pueblo Events Center)
Top-ranked Pueblo South has built a nice cushion in the South Central League. The Colts have started league play 4-0, which has forged a two-game lead over four teams who currently sit 2-2. One of those is Pueblo East, which will be looking to narrow the gap in this one.
Pueblo South (14-2), which has won eight straight overall, boasts three double-digit scorers. Marcell Barbee, who starred in the Colts’ football state championship team as a dynamic receiver, is averaging 19.3 points and 7.2 rebounds. Pueblo East (10-7, 2-2) is led by 6-foot-6 senior Marcus Winston. The Eagles are coming off a one-point win against Pueblo West.
Mesa Ridge at Widefield (7: 30 p.m., Wednesday)
Mesa Ridge’s unscathed romp through the Colorado Springs Metro League took a slight detour Monday night with a five-point loss to The Classical Academy. The Grizzlies (12-5, 9-1) remain firmly in control of the league, but they might start to sweat a little bit if Widefield issues them a second loss in three days.
You can believe that Deven Nelson and the rest of the No. 10 Grizzlies will be eager to bounce back in a hurry, although it won’t be easy against a Widefield (12-4, 7-2) squad that has gotten hot. The Gladiators have won six straight and Tre Pierre is one of the classification’s top scorers at 20.5 points per game.
Valor Christian at Golden (7 p.m., Friday)
Something seems a little incongruent here, as Valor Christian has gone a perfect 8-0 in the Jeffco League and checks in at No. 6 in the rankings. Golden (7-1) trails the Eagles by one game, yet is ranked No. 3. Perhaps things will work themselves out after this one.
Valor Christian (11-6 overall) and Jeremy Randle edged Golden 56-53 in the first matchup and can all but cement a league crown by duplicating the feat. Golden, led by the fierce scoring of Adam Thistlewood (23.4 average), can jump right back in the race for the league’s spot with a win here. The 6-7 Thistlewood is coming off a 47-point performance against D’Evelyn.
Pueblo County at Pueblo West (7 p.m., Friday)
We mentioned the four South Central League teams that currently occupy second place with a 2-2 league mark. These are two of them, and they’ll continue to jockey for position behind first-place South.
Pueblo County (9-8) is getting 16.2 points a game from Bryson Benedict and is seeking a strong finish to the regular season after being up and down for most the year. Fifth-ranked Pueblo West (12-4) has dropped two straight after a sizzling start, including a 40-39 heartbreaker to East on Friday. Nieyem’e Smeyer-Williams leads the Cyclones with a 16.6 scoring average.
Rocky Mountain at Longmont (6:30 p.m., Saturday)
Longmont will step outside the 4A circuit it has dominated for most the season by taking on the 5A Lobos. The No. 4 Trojans (13-1, 8-0 Northern League) have gone unbeaten since an overtime loss to Golden in the second game of the season. Luke Johnson has led the way by averaging 19.4 points per game.
Rocky Mountain checks in at 8-9, but boasts a 5-2 mark in the competitive Front Range League. The Lobos have been getting a strong 1-2 scoring punch from Joseph Urynowicz and Joe Elliott.