The winter sports season resumed this week, including on the hardwood, where the state is offering up a nice selection of top-10 matchups.
In this week’s look-in on boys’ basketball, let’s take a peek at two pivotal state matchups in each of the big classifications.
No. 1 Mountain Vista at No. 12 Eaglecrest (Jan. 7): OK, this isn’t the top-10 matchup advertised. But should it be?
Well, at the very least it’s an intriguing rematch led by a pair of scorers who’ve proven they can take over when needed.
The Golden Eagles (7-0) beat the Raptors (6-3) 71-65 behind 28 points from Caden Stevens on Dec. 16.
Stevens is averaging 17.9 points per game, ranked 23rd in 6A.
In the same game, LaDavian King had 30 for Eaglecrest. He is averaging 17.2 PPG on the year.
No. 6 Valor Christian at No. 5 Rock Canyon (Jan. 7): Valor Christian (5-4) is a reason why early-season records aren’t always indicative of how good a team is.
A mighty strength of schedule so far — of the Eagles’ four losses, they’ve fallen to No. 3 Smoky Hill, No. 10 Regis Jesuit and two teams from out of the state.
Four players on the Valor Christian roster average more than 11 points per game, led by Cole Scherer at 16.1.
Rock Canyon (9-1) has been the best of both worlds in record and strength of schedule.
It has held seven of its 10 opponents to 50 points or less as its lone loss of the year was by one point at No. 1 Mountain Vista.
Gavin Hershberger leads the way for the Jaguars at 13.2 PPG, 4.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists.
No. 6 Dakota Ridge at No. 7 Vista PEAK Prep (Jan. 4): Carson McDonald, Vista PEAK Prep’s 6-foot-8 forward, is an entertaining prospect to keep an eye on.
With his long stature, the junior has averaged 10.7 points and 6.1 rebounds through the first 10 games for the Bison (8-2). Maybe more impressively, with all the size he’s still shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.
Coming off an impressive win over No. 4 Lewis-Palmer before the break, Vista PEAK Prep next hosts Dakota Ridge (6-2), a team whose only losses of the year are from out of the state.
The Eagles are balanced on the offensive end with seven players averaging at least 6.3 PPG. Each of their six wins are by double figures.
No. 4 Lewis-Palmer at No. 1 Mesa Ridge (Jan. 5): Mesa Ridge’s Riehl brothers have the Grizzlies (8-0) sitting atop the classification through the first month of the season. Its biggest test yet comes against the defending champ Rangers (8-2).
Tevin Riehl is averaging 15.1 PPG, brother Bryce 12.1, but the best thing about Mesa Ridge through eight games has been its defense.
The Grizzlies have allowed more than 50 points just once, held two teams under 20 and three under 25.
Similar results will probably be tough to come by against an L-P team led by Eli Robinson’s 19.2 PPG and 8.7 boards. The 6-6 senior is already committed to Air Force.
5A No. 11 Silver Creek at No. 1 Holy Family (Jan. 5): We don’t get paid by word count, but if we did, the 6A/5A/4A Northern Colorado Athletic Conference would be the gift that keeps on giving.
The seven-word, three-classification essay of a league name gets started this week with a pretty fun matchup between the Raptors (7-2) and the Tigers (6-2).
Zach Schmeeckle put up big stats for Silver Creek throughout the month of December, scoring 29, 27, 24, and 23 in the span of two weeks.
Rocco Bridges is averaging a team-best 12.4 PPG for the Tigers and is 19 of 45 (42%) from 3-point range.
The teams split their season series a year ago.
No. 2 Eagle Ridge Academy at No. 12 Jefferson Academy (Jan. 7): A bout in the 4A/3A Metro League, Jefferson Academy (7-0) will be looking to move inside the top 10 with wins this week at home against Colorado Academy and Eagle Ridge Academy.
The latter features the Warriors (6-1), who already have impressive wins this season over 5A Silver Creek and 4A No. 7 Resurrection Christian. Hunter Hill has led the way with 16.3 PPG, 4.6 boards and 2.6 steals.
Caleb Nolan averages 14.7 PPG and three blocks for the Jags, who are allowing under 40 points per game. Isaiah Mendez has added 11.4 points and 8.3 boards.