District tournaments in Classes 3A, 2A and 1A boys’ basketball are at about the midway point and there have a been a few surprises thus far. Most have taken place in Class 3A and the upsets could disrupt how the state tournament bracket looks when released on Sunday.
Heading into Wednesday, we want to give a short breakdown of each classification and how the districts are shaping up.
Photo is provided by John Contreras.
There are seven district tournaments played out this week and the top two finishers from each bracket get into the state tournament regardless of where they sit in RPI. If those qualifiers sit outside the top 32 in RPI, they get into the bracket and will bump teams rated much higher on the list.
The Western Slope could be the bracket buster as the league saw three lower seeds advance to the semifinals with upsets in the quarterfinals. Aspen, Delta and Roaring Fork all picked up wins and they’re ranked #30, #37 and #43 respectfully in RPI today. Aspen and Roaring Fork play in one semifinal so one of those clubs will earn an automatic bid. Delta must upset top seeded Gunnison the semifinals to earn a spot in the state bracket. Should Delta and Roaring Fork both win on Friday, the Panthers and Rams could bump two teams from the RPI top 32 from the pairings.
Other lower seeds to grab quarterfinal wins this week are Lake County (#39), Riverdale Ridge (#35) and Bayfield (#53). They can all advance to the state tournament automatically with wins over second seeded teams in their bracket in the next round. Lake County challenges Middle Park on Friday in the Frontier; Riverdale Ridge meets Fort Lupton on Thursday in the Confluence tourney and Bayfield faces Centauri on Thursday in the Intermountain.
A total of eight district tournaments are set for this week with six of them sending their top four teams into regionals. The exceptions are District 3 which sends three and District 5 which qualifies five.
So far, only a few lower seeds have advanced into the semifinals. Del Norte is #5 seed in District 1 but their win over Sargent pushed them into the regional round next. In District 4, #5 Clear Creek outlasted Byers in overtime so the Golddiggers have qualified for regionals. #6 Lotus School also challenges #3 Burlington on Wednesday.
In District 5, Vail Mountain is the fifth seed but they knocked off Paonia to reach the semifinals. As mentioned, the bracket sends five into regionals so the Gore Rangers may have qualified anyway. Paonia though must grab two more wins this week to earn a regional tournament bid.
Districts 1 and 6 send two qualifiers into the regional tournament and all others will advance their top three. Since quarterfinals have not been played in either Districts 4 or 5, we still don’t have a full picture of which teams may advance to regionals. Granada, the fifth seed in District 2, is the only lower seed to pick up a win thus far. They beat #4 Eads 64-61 on Tuesday to extend the legendary career of coach Manual Gonzales who has announced he’s stepping down at the end of the season.