Just when you thought it was safe to test George Washington … actually, it’s not.

The Patriots, state runners-up a year ago in Class 5A, have arisen after a 7-5 start. They had lost to local powers Rock Canyon, Smoky Hill and ThunderRidge in addition to two out-of-staters.

However, last week GW stepped up and won three road games at very difficult places to play — Chaparral, Regis Jesuit and Rangeview.

So don’t count out the Pats among state challengers. They will open Denver Prep League play on Tuesday at home against the Far Northeast Warriors. By the by, GW is a three-time defending league champion, has won 24 consecutive DPL games and last loss a city matchup on Feb. 21, 76-59 to 4A Thomas Jefferson.

Jon’il Fugett heads GW with 10.8 points per game.

That stated, high-end league games abound across the classification this week, particularly in the Continental League. Rock Canyon , the only undefeated team in 5A (13-0) and only member of the 11-team league that has yet to play a Continental game, will open with a biggie, at Regis Jesuit (10-3) in Aurora. Savvy senior guard Sam Masten tops the Jaguars. The Raiders, who have dropped two in a row — they began Continental play with a 68-58 setback to ThunderRidge — are riding Jamil Safieddine’s 15.2 points. Plus, Douglas County (9-3, 0-1), which is bidding to be a legitimate 5A challenger, will be at ThunderRidge (13-1, 1-0) and Kaison Hammonds (15.9 points).

Additional key Continental action includes Mountain Vista (8-4, 0-1) at Castle View (11-3, 0-1) and Chaparral (11-3, 1-0) at 4A Ponderosa (11-2, 1-0). Hey, it’s a tough league.

Plus, Thursday’s Continental rounds also will be demanding, notably Ponderosa at Rock Canyon and Douglas County at Regis Jesuit.

In the Colorado Springs Metro, where Doherty is 11-2 overall and in command at the moment at 4-0, Kyrele Benford is getting 13.2 points and will lead the Spartans at Rampart (9-4, 2-1). As well, Doherty will make the trek up Interstate-25 to visit Regis Jesuit on Friday in in nonleague.

Fossil Ridge, just 6-7 but tied with Boulder and Rocky Mountain at 3-0 for the Front Range lead, will be at its crosstown-rival Lobos on Tuesday. Brandon Lambrecht (9.8 points) tops the SaberCats; Rocky Mountain’s resurgence is being led by Joseph Urynowicz’s 17.6 points.

Friday will have Boulder at Rocky Mountain and what should be an entertaining Fairview (7-6, 2-1) at Broomfield (9-4, 2-1), featuring junior Steven Croell (11.8 points).

Wednesday’s usually mean Centennial play and it will have Overland, reasserting itself and in command of the league entering the week, at Grandview, which is smarting from a one-sided whipping at the hands of defending 5A state champion Eaglecrest. The Trailblazers (6-7 overall) are topped by Daijon Smith’s 16.1 points. The Wolves hadn’t lost in eight previous in-state games before falling to the Raptors.

And on Saturday, a new play day for the loop because of the referee shortage, Cherry Creek (9-4, 3-1) will be at Grandview.