5A BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW

We had a fair amount of Class 5A boys games on Monday — usually an off day — to start the week as most schools returned to classes.
Blame the different scheduling on following the holiday break and filling spots before and in between league play, but the real reason (in addition to more games on Saturdays) is the referee shortage, which is real.
As it was, the highlights included: Rock Canyon staying undefeated (12-0) by crushing Columbine 75-26; George Washington knocking off Chaparral 76-60; always notable Denver East getting back on the winning track by taming Lakewood 80-68; and Overland getting past Rangeview 52-41 in always watchable Aurora play.
So what’s up for this week?
Plenty.
And we are at the time in which many of the powers will have not one, but two difficult matchups in a week.
Example: Regis Jesuit, which is 10-1, enjoys balanced scoring and topped by Jamil Safieddine’s 14.9 points, will take on the city’s GW at home on Tuesday in nonleague, then will make the trip from Aurora to Highlands Ranch to visit ThunderRidge (12-1) and Kaison Hammonds (15.3 points) on Friday to open Continental League action. And if that’s not enough, Regis Jesuit will host afore-mentioned Rock Canyon on Jan. 18. Geez, why wait?
Another example: Pine Creek (Grant Wilkinson, 11.4 points) will be at Doherty (Kyrele Benford, 13.1 points) in the Colorado Springs Metro on Tuesday. After hosting Aurora’s Gateway (Man-Man Baker, 18.7 points) on Thursday, the Eagles will resume in the C.S. Metro by hosting Rampart (Josh Kavalec, 18.5 points) on Saturday.
And still another example: Highlands Ranch (8-2 overall) and Brendan Sullivan (23.1 points) will have three home games this week — against Hinkley on Tuesday, an opener in the Continental against rising Douglas County (8-2) on Friday and a Saturday evening matchup against always athletic Thomas Jefferson (Darius Hornbuckle, 11.2 points) of the Denver Prep.
As for the Centennial League, Mullen (6-3) is 2-0 in the Cherry Creek District-dominated group for the first time since the 2005-06 season. New coach Bob Caton has helped make an early difference and it won’t get any easier. The Mustangs (junior Christian Davis, 13.2 points) will be at Cherry Creek on Wedneday, then will entertain the up-and-down, but quite-talented Smoky Hill Buffaloes (senior John Harge, 15.6 points, 7.3 rebounds) on Friday.
A balanced Grandview, off to a 2-0 Centennial beginning, will be at Cherokee Trail on Wednesday and have a road game on Saturday at defending state champion Eaglecrest. Junior Dayne Prim has been very active with 14.4 points and 8.2 rebounds.
And the Front Range’s Broomfield (8-3) will be at Poudre on Tuesday before another road game on Friday, against Greeley West. Junior Steven Croell tops the Eagles with 11.3 points.

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