Two weeks into 2018, and only one undefeated team remains in the Class 4A boys basketball ranks.
With Thompson Valley’s 51-43 victory over Silver Creek last week, that leaves Lewis-Palmer as the lone unbeaten in the classification.
The Rangers (11-0) picked up three more victories last week, defeating Falcon (70-44), Cheyenne Mountain (76-61) and Pueblo East (68-53) in non-league play. The team’s balanced offense is really starting to show, with four players scoring in double figures in the two Pikes Peak League matchups. Matthew Ragsdale went for 17 points and six assists against Falcon, and Joel Scott poured in 24 points against the Indians.
Scott was one point off his season high in the victory over East, racking up 32 points in the victory.
Lewis-Palmer wasn’t the only squad to post three victories last week. The aforementioned Thompson Valley Eagles up their record to 9-3, edging Centaurus 69-65 before upending Silver Creek 51-43. The Eagles closed the week with a 69-50 rout of Loveland. Justin Wiersema was on his game in the three contests, scoring 27, 22 and 32 points, respectively.
Longmont improved to 8-1, rolling past Niwot (68-28), Greeley Central (57-34) and Mead (67-44). Like Wiersema, Longmont’s Luke Johnson hit his stride with 69 points over the three games, including 32 in the triumph over Mead.
Glenwood Springs is sitting at 10-3 overall after three Western Slope League wins. The Demons dominated Rifle and Eagle Valley, sandwiched around a 73-64 victory over Battle Mountain. Four players scored in double figures in that contest, paced by 24 points from Angel Garcia.
Mesa Ridge also went 3-0 on the week to stretch its winning streak to six. The Grizzlies had hard-fought victories over Widefield (73-63), Harrison (84-75) and Elizabeth (53-49). Deven Nelson led the team with 21 points against Widefield, and Adonis Wallace had games of 16, 20 and 13 points. Five players reached double figures in points against Harrison.
Valor Christian continues to look more and more like the defending state champions, taking down Golden 56-53 and D’Evelyn 61-53. Nine players scored for the Eagles (7-6) in the victory over the Demons in a top-10 matchup, and Hunter Shkapich poured in 20 points against the Jaguars.
Behind 21 points from Brennen Seyboldt, Windsor (9-4) got the week started right with a 62-46 victory over Skyline. The Wizards then took down Holy Family 74-61, with Tyler McGinnis and Kirk Relford combining for 46 points.
With January entering the halfway mark, here is a look at some games to watch this coming week:
In what may be the 4A Game of the Week, Longmont (8-1, 4-0 in Northern League) has its first big league test when the Trojans travel to Silver Creek (9-1, 2-1) at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Trojans continue to be busy in the month of January, but are playing some of their best basketball during their seven-game winning streak. Johnson is averaging 18.6 points a game, but Longmont has a number of other players who can also have big nights. Silver Creek is looking to bounce back after its first loss, but Trent Dykema (24.8 points) and Erik Grossaint (11 ppg) continue to drive a talented offense.
With only one game having been played so far on the Southwestern League schedule, this week will see things pick up in the SWL. The top two teams in the league tangle Tuesday night when 5A Fruita Monument (9-5, 1-0) visits 4A Montrose (10-4) at 7:30 p.m.
Fruita Monument is riding a three-game winning streak and opened SWL play with a 59-25 victory over Central of Grand Junction. Daren Davison scored 16 points in that game, and the team followed it up with a 72-58 non-league triumph over Steamboat Springs. Fruita Monument faces a 10-win Glenwood Springs team Thursday.
After an early four-game losing streak, Montrose has won nine consecutive games. Most recently the Indians held off Delta by six points before winning a low-scoring affair against Rifle 35-20.
Mead (8-5, 4-0 in Tri-Valley League) is also looking to respond after a tough loss to Longmont. The Mavericks host Windsor and travel to Holy Family this week, with the Wizards visiting Tuesday night.
Mead had won three in a row since a loss to Valor Christian, but the team never got untracked against Longmont. This week is a crucial one for the Mavericks in the Tri-Valley, and the team will look to Jax Wilke (16.3 points and 8.5 rebounds) and Derek Edwards (11.9 points) to guide the team.
Windsor (9-4, 3-0) has the advantage of having already topped Holy Family. The Wizards have won three in a row this month after closing December on a three-game skid. Three players are averaging in double figures, paced by Relford (18.3) and McGinnis (17.8). Windsor is averaging nearly 72 points in league play, nearly 10 points higher than in non-league play.
Holy Family (7-6, 3-1) followed up its loss to the Wizards with a 46-44 non-league defeat against Denver South. Juniors Tanner Baird and Kyle Helbig have performed well for the Tigers through the first 13 games, but Holy Family needs a big bounce-back week to stay in Tri-Valley contention.
Four teams in the South Central League have at least six victories in non-league play, and the league schedule finally gets going this week. Pueblo County (7-6) will be tested right off the bat with home games against Pueblo West (10-2) on Tuesday night and Pueblo South (10-2) on Friday.
The Hornets had dropped three games in a row before an impressive 63-54 victory over Ponderosa of the Continental League last Tuesday. Bryson Benedict and Lane Sherwood combined for 40 points in that contest.
West and South are playing at a higher level right now though. The Cyclones have won seven in a row, including a 69-53 victory over St. Mary’s last Wednesday. Nieyeme Smeyer-Williams is averaging 16.9 points, with Pierre Taylor and Jacob Wilkinson also scoring in double figures.
Pueblo South draws Pueblo Central and County before tangling with West next week. The Colts have won four in a row and handled Vista PEAK Prep 74-50 in their only game last week.
As mentioned earlier, Glenwood Springs has a big week ahead with a Western Slope League tilt at home against Steamboat Springs (6-6, 1-0) on Tuesday night and a non-league clash with Fruita Monument on Thursday.
The Demons’ previous loss came to the Wildcats before the break by 10 points. The offense has been clicking this month though, with three players scoring in double figures paced by Aaron Smith’s 13.4 points a game.
Steamboat is coming off the loss to Fruita Monument, the team’s fourth in five games. Junior Mac Riniker continues to pace the team’s offense, but the Sailors can ill afford to fall too far behind the Demons early in the league standings.
A league that has not been touched upon much this season is the Colorado 7. Conifer (6-8, 2-0) visits Weld Central (6-5, 2-0) on Tuesday night before meeting Skyview (6-4, 1-0) on Friday night.
Conifer lost seven of its first games before going on its current five-game winning streak. The Lobos downed Fort Morgan and Alameda last week, and senior Mark Studer leads the team with 17.4 points and 9.1 rebounds a game.
Weld Central had a four-game slide before the break but scored 66 points in victories over Englewood and Fort Lupton last week. Senior Elijah Reback has guided the Rebels’ offense so far with 15.8 points and 9.0 rebounds a game.
Skyview has won five in a row in dominant fashion. The Wolverines opened league play with a resounding 70-21 victory over Arvada behind 16 points each from Brandon Gilley and Robbie Bauderer and 15 points from Isaac Valdez.
Valor Christian’s next big league test comes Friday when Evergreen (11-2, 4-0 in Jeffco) visits. The Cougars have won seven consecutive games, including Jeffco victories over Littleton and Wheat Ridge last week. Seniors Chase Rogers and Bridger Tenney are hovering at right around 17 points a game for Evergreen.
Valor Christian (7-6, 4-0) has won all five of its games in January, climbing above .500 on the season for the first time.
Lewis-Palmer has three more games this week, two of which come in Pikes Peak play. That includes a visit to Air Academy (8-5, 2-2) on Friday.
The Kadets dropped both of their league games last week, falling to Palmer Ridge and Vista Ridge. Niko Lunt is averaging 13 points a game for Air Academy and Brock Bendrick is at 11.9.
Scott’s recent tear has pushed his scoring average up to 20 points a game, and Ragsdale is averaging 16.1.