The huge battle between #1 Cherry Creek and #2 Grandview in Class 5A will suck up most of the oxygen in girls’ basketball this evening but there are several other important league games spread across the state. We’ve picked our top 10 and breakdown what’s on the line.
1A: Cotopaxi at Sangre De Cristo – It’s the likely league championship game inside the Southern Peaks. The Pirates have rolled past Centennial (37), Creede (43) and Aguilar (38) in league play by a combined 118 points. Sangre De Cristo has faced just one Southern Peaks opponent and they handled Creede 76-15 right after Christmas. The T-Birds have not played since falling to 2A ranked Rocky Ford and Del Norte on back-to-back nights January 10-11th. Sangre dominated both matchups a year ago; beating the Pirates 51-12 in league play and 68-15 in the district tournament.
1A: McClave at Eads – It’s a four-team race within the High Plains league and this outcome will help determine that order. McClave (1-0) shares the league lead with three-time defending state champion Kit Carson while Eads is a game back (1-1). The Eagles have already dropped a league game to Kit Carson so a second loss eliminates them from title contention. They balanced their league mark by beating Granada 43-27 last week as Morgyn Johnson netted 14 points. McClave is 5-0 since Christmas including a league win over Cheraw (50-38) last Friday. Maggie Chase scored 17, Anna Beckett 13 and Katie Roesch 10 in the win.
2A: Holyoke at Sedgwick County – The Dragons are favored in this one as they beat the Cougars 63-36 before Christmas. But both teams are unbeaten in the Lower Platte so the winner keeps a share of the lead. Holyoke must also avoid looking ahead to their Saturday top 10 clash with Wray which may determine the overall champion. In game one, Kristen Vieselmeyer finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead Holyoke. Sedgwick County collected 11 points from Kierra Ehnes and 10 from Whitney Walter. They shot just 32 percent from the field compared to 53 percent for Holyoke.
2A: Ridgway at Ignacio – The first of two league meetings for the Demons and Bobcats inside the San Juan. The two are tied with Telluride atop the standings and since Ignacio also faces the Miners on Saturday, they have a chance to take early control. The Bobcats feature little size but have great balance with eight players scoring between three and eight points a game. Ridgway has struggled to score against top opponents as they managed a combined 31 points in setbacks to Hotchkiss, Paonia and DeBeque.
2A: Meeker at DeBeque – It’s a crowded Western Slope chase as five teams go to the weekend with a game of the lead. Meeker (4-0) is tied with Plateau Valley and Hotchkiss in first place with DeBeque joining Soroco (2-1) in fourth place. Senior Julia Dinwiddie has four straight double-doubles for Meeker and six overall on the season. She averages 14.5 points and 10 rebounds a night. The Dragons are very young with six of their seven players either freshman or sophomores. Kendall Conway has scored 23 in each of her last two contests.
3A: Moffat County at Grand Valley – Along with the Coal Ridge-Delta matchup next on the list, the two games will start the soring out process in what could be a very good Western Slope race. Going into the games, Moffat County, Delta and Coal Ridge are all 2-0 with Roaring Fork a game behind at 1-1. Grand Valley has not played a conference game but is expected to factor into the title chase. The Cardinals have won four in a row since a loss to Pagosa Springs. Jordyn Pittman leads Grand Valley in scoring (8.4), rebounding (6.1), assists (3.1) and steals (2.3). Moffat County is getting great production from freshman Cayden King with 12.2 points and 7.8 rebounds.
3A: Coal Ridge at Delta – The loser suffers their first loss of the conference schedule and falls out of first place while the winner remains tied for the top spot with the winner between Moffat County-Grand Valley. Delta is the pre-season favorite and is coming off an impressive 52-37 win over 4A Montrose on Tuesday. Sara Geddes (16) and Keely Porter (14) combined for 30 points in the win. Coal Ridge has won five in a row overall and is unbeaten against 3A opponents (3-0). Taylor Wiescamp is the top player with 10.7 points and 7.5 rebounds.
4A: Thompson Valley at Greeley Central – At the start of the week, this game shaped up to be for the outright lead in the Northern conference but the scenario changed slightly when Greeley Central lost to Centaurus on Tuesday. That result left Thompson Valley (5-0) alone in first with the Wildcats tied for second with Longmont (4-1). A win by Thompson Valley gives them some early breathing room while a win by Greeley Central leaves the conference in a three-way tie going into next week.
4A: Cheyenne Mountain at Falcon – This game is listed to highlight a strong conference start for Falcon. They’re 5-0 and tied with Sand Creek for the Pikes Peak lead. Those two collide next Wednesday to determine the first half conference lead. Cheyenne Mountain was just a game back but fell even farther off the pace on Tuesday with a 56-43 loss to Air Academy. Juniors Hannah Berg (12.3) and Kayla Harkema (10.4) pace Falcon in scoring while sophomore Billie Fiore (9.7) is closing in on double figures as well. The Indians shot just 32 percent in the loss to Air Academy (17-53) with Selena Vargas getting 17 points.
5A: Grandview at Cherry Creek – Quite a bit riding on this one as they’re both 5-0 atop the Centennial and ranked 1-2 in the state. It’s also a rematch of last year’s state championship game won by Cherry Creek 51-49. The Bruins have won their first five league games by a combined 168 points; Grandview 224. Seniors Jana Van Gytenbeek (16.1) and Cali Clark (13.8) are leading the Bruins run at back-to-back titles while the Wolves rely on the sophomore tandem of Lauren Betts (17.3) and Marya Hudgins (11.0)
5A: Fruita Monument at Durango – Only one conference game has been played so it’s very early in the Southwestern league chase. But these are two of the three league teams winning records overall so it’s an important early battle. Fruita (15-1) has won seven straight since a loss to Cheyenne Central WY including a 61-28 league win over Grand Junction. Lila Dere scored 21 points and Callie Allen 13 in the win. They combine for nearly 28 points a game on the season. Durango has won five of six including a nice non-league win over Montrose (35-33). The Demons average just 40 points a game with seven players scoring between four and six points a game.