An important league game inside the 2A San Juan conference leads off a solid week of basketball and that contest is followed by at least two cross-classification games and four top 10 battles in Class 4A later in the week.
CLASS 2A:  #5 Ignacio at Mancos (Tuesday)
The first of two meetings between the San Juan conference rivals could play a major role in determining the eventual league champion.  Ignacio (3-1) has dominated the conference of late but Mancos (6-1) hopes to end their reign this season.
Neither team has lost to an in-state opponent.  Ignacio (3-1) came up short to Grand County UT last week but has won each game in Colorado by at least 24 points.  Only one game has stats entered into MaxPreps but the Bobcats should rely most of the season on seniors Lawrence Ruffin-Valdez, Johnny Valdez and Kai Roubideaux.
Mancos is 2-0 against Colorado opponents with wins coming against Telluride (45-21) and Ouray (52-36) last week.  Sophomore Caden Showalter has already produced four double-doubles this season and averages 17.6 points and 12 rebounds per game.  He’s scored at least 22 points in three games.  Caleb Yoder chips in 11.6 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Blue Jays.
CLASS 3A:  #5 Platte Valley vs Weld Central (Tuesday)
Both teams enter this game needing to regroup a bit.  Platte Valley scored a big win over Faith Christian very early in the season and used it to jump all the way to third in the 3A rankings.  But they suffered a stunning home loss to Arrupe Jesuit (65-56) last week which dropped them back to fifth.  Weld Central (4-4) opened the season 4-1 but has dropped three in a row including losses to Strasburg and Brush.  They need a win to gain confidence entering the Christmas break.
There could be a very good matchup on the inside.  Platte Valley’s Bryson Becker is quickly developing into a top flight big man and he’s averaged 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.  He chips in nearly four blocks a night.
Weld Central counters with Elijah Reback who leads the Rebels with 17.3 points and 9.1 rebounds.  Austin Knox is a good second option with 14 points an outing.
CLASS 2A/3A:  #6 Sanford vs Centauri (Thursday)
Since the schools are separated by just four miles, this is one of those games that is circled on the calendar by both teams.  And fans must show up extremely early to get a seat to the one of the most anticipated games in the San Luis Valley each year.
The Indians (3-2) and Falcons (5-2) have played similar schedules this year.  Both were at the La Junta Holiday Tournament earlier this month and on the season both have losses to La Junta and Monte Vista.  Sanford lost to La Junta in the tournament finals and then came up short to Monte Vista (40-37) last week.  Centauri fell to La Junta 58-51 in the tournament semifinals and then to Monte Vista (83-76) in the third-place game.
Neither team has great size so the game could be won on the perimeter.  Nate and Sam Anderson are very good shooters for the Falcons and point guard Martin Garcia has the ability to score with the three or on the drive.  Sanford, as always, will be among the most fundamentally sound teams on both ends of the court.  They will try to control tempo and make Centauri work hard on the defensive end each possession.
CLASS 2A/3A:  #8 Meeker vs Coal Ridge (Thursday)
Tucked in the northwest corner of Colorado is a very good matchup of teams expected to push for their respective league championship.  Meeker is one of the favorites to land the 2A Western Slope and Coal Ridge could push Grand Valley for 3A conference honors.
Meeker (3-1) won their own tournament to start the season including nice wins over Cedaredge and Aspen.  They’re coming off a 21-point loss to Grand Valley (61-40) so they need a win on Thursday to avoid a two-game losing streak going into the break.  Logan Hughes (14.5) and Zach Dinwiddie (13.0) lead the Cowboys in scoring and also combine for 12 rebounds per game.  Hughes has scored at least 15 in the last three games; Dinwiddie totaled at least 13 over the first three.
Coal Ridge is paced offensively by the inside/outside tandem of Kevin DiMarco and Brandon Herrera.  DiMarco patrols the inside and averages 14 points and 10 rebounds per game.  He opened the season with 21 and 17 in a great win over Colorado Academy.  Herrera leads the Titans with 10 three-pointers and provides nearly 13 points per contest.
#3 Pueblo South vs #5 Holy Family (Thursday)
#7 Windsor at #9 Pueblo West (Thursday)
#3 Pueblo South vs #7 Windsor (Friday)
#5 Holy Family at #9 Pueblo West (Friday)
Pueblo South and Pueblo West host Windsor and Holy Family over a two day stretch where the teams exchange opponents on Thursday and Friday.  We hope this two-day series becomes tradition as it’s a good pairing of power teams from the North against top programs from the South.  All four games should be tightly contested and outcomes from each will help determine the 4A state tournament bracket come late February.
Windsor (5-1) has the best record of the four teams competing.  The Wizards have a lone loss to Campbell County WY but also have beaten quality opponents Thomas Jefferson, Cheyenne Mountain and Lincoln.  Kirk Relford (20.0) and Tyler McGinnis (18.5) have combined for 31 three-pointers on the season.  Relford has scored a season high of 28 twice this season while McGinnis has tallied at least 16 in every game.  His season high (23) came in the loss to Campbell County.
Pueblo South (7-2) is still only 17 days out since winning the state football championship so they’re still working in some of their key players while they get into basketball shape.  One of those players in Marcell Barbee.  Recently named the 4A Football Player of the Year, he may also receive some votes in the basketball category later this year.  In just four games played, Barbee has averaged 19.6 points and 6.8 rebounds an outing.  Tonay Aragon chips in 17.1 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Holy Family (4-2) had won four-in-a-row but is regrouping a bit following a lopsided 72-45 loss to 5A Broomfield last Saturday.  They’ll use this weekend to bounce back from the loss and hopefully gain confidence and momentum heading into the conference schedule after Christmas.  They should battle Windsor for the Tri-Valley title once again.
Tanner Baird (14.8) and Kyle Helbig (14.2) lead Holy Family in scoring but four others average at least six points per game.
Pueblo West opened a busy and difficult week by rallying past #9 Widefield in overtime Monday night (63-60).  The Cyclones outscored the Gladiators 13-5 in the fourth to force overtime and then held on in the extra session.  Pierre Taylor (9.4) and Zeb Jacquart (7.4) did not play in the game but Nieyeme Smeyer-Williams easily picked up the slack.  He finished with 24 points, six assists and four steals.  Brett Finegan added 14 points and Jacob Wilkensen 11.
Widefield picked up 23 from TJ Davis and 18 from Tre Pierre.  Both teams ended the night at 4-2 overall.