After taking two to three weeks off, area sports teams were back in action last week, and they kicked 2022 off in a big way. Upsets were plentiful on the hardwood, and outstanding performances were found on the mats in many tournaments across the region.

It was a good opening week for the Fleming basketball teams, as the Lady Wildcats picked up wins in ranked match-ups against Merino (54-37) and Kit Carson (45-40). Their boys upset Merino (49-46) and then took care of business at home against Kit Carson (58-37). Both will be contenders in the North Central League and District 4. Their rivals, Briggsdale, picked up wins over Weldon Valley and Stratton, keeping both of their programs unbeaten on the year.

Lone Star’s girls will also be a threat in the region that will potentially see Fleming and Briggsdale. The Lady Longhorns took a major step towards the YWKC title, beating Idalia 51-31 last Tuesday. They will have to contend with Idalia and Stratton, among others, in the District 5 tournament.

The loss to Fleming was a second straight defeat for the Kit Carson Lady Wildcats, as they were upset by Cheyenne Wells (33-31) on Friday. It was the first time Cheyenne Wells came out on top in the series since 2009. Stephanie Framel, Kit Carson’s leading scorer, went down with a knee injury in the loss on Saturday, and the seriousness of the injury was still to be determined early this week. If she is out for an extended period of time, that opens things for teams like McClave, Wiley, and Cheraw in the High Plains league. Cheyenne Wells added a win over Springfield on Saturday, making the Lady Tigers another team to keep a close eye on.

Kim/Branson’s girls were dominant in their two wins over the past weekend, outscoring Primero and Cotopaxi by a combined score of 87-15. The Lady Mustangs are 8-1 entering play this week, with a contest at Wiley on tap this weekend.

In the 1A boys, Prairie made a statement with a 45-41 victory over Haxtun on Saturday. The lone loss this season for the Mustangs was a one-point defeat by Briggsdale in a non-league match-up. They won’t meet in league play until the final weekend of the regular season. That could be for the North Central league title.

Springfield moved its winning streak to three straight games, as the Longhorns upset Cheyenne Wells 56-50 last Saturday. Kyler Crane had 22 points to lead all scorers. The Longhorns won their final two games in the Lamar Holiday Tournament to claim fifth place in that prestigious event.

Cheraw, McClave, Cheyenne Wells, and Granada will slug it out in the High Plains, and will add depth to the South region. Granada won the Lamar Holiday Tournament and is one of the favorites in 1A.

Fowler continued its recent hot streak in 2A boys, as the Grizzlies bumped Thomas MacLaren (57-29) and Holly (60-46) last week. Holly had just beaten Rye, and Fowler met up with the Thunderbolts on Tuesday. A win by the Grizzlies would make them the favorite in the Santa Fe.

Rye’s girls are off to a 9-0 start overall, and 3-0 in the Santa Fe. They’ll fight it out with Fowler and Hoehne for the league title, with Swink and Rocky Ford also figuring to be in the mix.

In the LPAA, Yuma’s boys currently have the lead in the standings, after beating Haxtun (75-35) and Holyoke (75-50) over the weekend. Defending 2A champion, Wray, hosts the Indians a week from Friday. Yuma already owns a 68-58 non-league win over their rivals.

On the girls side of things, Holyoke’s Kristin Vieselmeyer went over 1000 career points in Saturday’s 48-41 win at Yuma. The senior scored 25 the night before in a win over Burlington to get to 998 in her outstanding career. She then went for 28 against Yuma. The Lady Dragons’ only loss this season was a 51-49 defeat by Sedgwick County. Wray, Merino, and Wiggins all could still factor into the league title chase.

Sterling’s boys won their fifth straight game, beating Manual 60-57 in the latest installment of their rivalry. The Tigers led 43-26 at the half, but then had to hold of the T-bolts down the stretch. Jackson Keil had 21 points to lead the way for the Tigers, while Ryder McConnell (13) and Ben Browning (10) also went for double figures.

Lamar’s girls got 2022 off on the right foot, as the Lady Savages beat Woodland Park 55-29 last Friday. Abby Robbins had a game-high 19 points in the win. It was the second straight victory for the Lady Savages, who improved to 4-2 overall.

Wins over Niwot (60-37) and Weld Central (50-36) pushed Fort Morgan’s winning streak to three, and helped the Mustangs climb above .500 on the season. They’re 6-4 entering this week, with games against Severance and Riverdale Ridge on tap.

Shifting to the mats, Wray went 5-0 in the Ogallala Duals on Saturday to claim the event championship. Yuma and Limon also had strong outings across the border.

Brush and Akron were both part of the field for the Torgy Memorial in Fort Collins. The Beetdiggers finished third in the team chase, getting a championship from Dominick Ontiveros at 220 pounds, and second place finishes from Diego Hernandez (132), Tanner Ludgate (145), and Cole Curtis (170). For Akron, Xavier Livesay was the top placer, taking third at 220. Gavin Brown was fourth at 182.

Fort Morgan nearly posted a top-three finish at the Gary Daum Classic, as the Mustangs were fourth, just one point out of third. Ethan Schingle (132) and Timmy Paxton (195) were the top placers, with both taking second.

Lamar finished second in its own invitational, with Crowley County coming in third. Fowler (5th), County Line (6th), Trinidad (7th), Holly (8th), Burlington (9th), and Merino (10th) all recorded top-tens in the team race.

Lamar also took second place in the girls division of their tournament, behind individual titles from Jazmin Martinez (105) and Crystalyn Felan (127).