Valor Christian at Mountain Vista Friday night helps kick off the New Year with a bang in boys’ basketball.

The Highlands Ranch programs finished the first month of the season ranked inside the top three in the CHSAA Selection and Seeding Index, with Valor Christian at No. 2 and Mountain Vista No. 3.

The Golden Eagles have won all four matchups with Valor since 2021, including their 75-66 win over the Eagles in last year’s quarterfinals.

With preps basketball returning this week after winter break, let’s take a look at a couple key 6A-4A matchups to start 2024.

Class 6A

No. 2 Valor Christian at No. 3 Mountain Vista; Friday at 7 p.m.: The two teams have had near identical starts to the season. Each is 8-1. Valor Christian is averaging 68.9 PPG, Mountain Vista 66.7. And both have averaged exactly 32.1 rebounds per game.

Cole Scherer is currently scoring 20 PPG for the visiting Eagles, and has been efficient from deep, going 26 of 64 (41%) from behind the arc.

Cal Baskind leads three players scoring in double figures for the Golden Eagles.

No. 9 Legend at No. 8 Eaglecrest; Wednesday at 6 p.m.: Ladavian King is averaging 19.4 PPG and Eaglecrest (7-3) is averaging 70 through 10 games. The junior’s 48% shooting from the field is way up from when he averaged 17.9 PPG on 41% shooting last year.

Meanwhile, Legend (7-1) has three guys averaging around 11 PPG in Kale Sparks (11.3), Seth Whitehead (10.9) and Carson Flowers (10.4).

Class 5A

No. 9 Northfield at No. 6 Ponderosa; Saturday at 1 p.m.: Northfield (7-2) has jumped out to a nice start to the season, scoring 75 or more points in five of nine games.

They’ll face Noah Wilhelm, who leads the Mustangs (8-1) at 20.1 PPG on 50% shooting. They’re on an eight-game winning streak after losing to Lewis-Palmer 64-62 to start the season.

No. 7 Vista PEAK Prep at No. 17 Dakota Ridge; Wednesday at 7 p.m.: Dakota Ridge’s Ethan Berninger is fourth in the classification at 24.6 PPG. So far this season, he’s scored at least 20 points in six of seven games for the Eagles (4-3), and more than 30 twice.

The Bison (7-2) are led by 6-foot-10 forward Kyree Polk, who is averaging 14.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. He had 21 points and 15 rebounds in a 64-52 loss to Lewis-Palmer right before the break.

Class 4A

No. 18 Severance at No. 6 Lutheran; Saturday at 3 p.m.: Thanks in part to 4A’s leading scorer, Braydon Jacob (26 PPG), the Lions (6-2) have won six straight and claimed a signature win over 4A defending champ Holy Family ahead of the break.

They’ll return to action at University Thursday before facing the Silver Knights (5-3) two days later. Brady Varney is averaging a near double-double this season for Severance.

No. 13 Berthoud at No. 14 Eaton; Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.: Berthoud (5-1) hasn’t beaten Eaton in any of their four meetings since 2011. That, of course, could change in Patriot League play this season, starting Tuesday.

Reece Stratmeyer is averaging 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Spartans, whose only loss so far this season came to 5A No. 5 Silver Creek.

Lucas Stone is averaging 15.5 PPG on 54% shooting and is dishing 3 ½ assists per game for Eaton (5-3).