Notes on the upcoming weekend in girls basketball could go on for quite some time as there are great matchups both in and out of tournaments.   On the list this week are games between Briggsdale-Flatirons Academy, University-Vanguard, Platte Valley-Mead and Wray-Holyoke.  And none of those are in tournament play where we could also see a few other top 10 pairings.

We won’t go into great depth on the Briggsdale-Flatirons Academy pairing in 1A because that was covered in our Sunday notebook.  It could very easily be a preview of the 1A state championship game and it’s a rematch of the state semifinal won by the Bison who then moved past Fleming a few days later to win their first-ever basketball crown.

Platte Valley kept their number one billing in Class 3A last week by downing then 2nd ranked Vanguard.  The Broncos have another strong challenge this Friday as they battle 4th ranked Mead (4A).  The Mavericks are red hot as they beat 5A ranked Chaparral earlier this week.  Should be a great matchup and both teams love the early competition to continue the prep for a rugged league race after Christmas.

Mead’s win over Chaparral (65-62) came in overtime and it finished off a great rally by the Mavericks.  They trailed by 10 after three quarters but then outscored the Wolverines 25-15 over the final eight minutes.  Charlotte Brennan, with 18 points, topped Mead in scoring and Maddox Boston also reached double figures with 13.  Kyra Haan added five steals while Boston chipped in four and three assists.  The Mavericks also buried 30 of 38 free throw attempts.

Since beating Vanguard last Saturday, Platte Valley has a win over Manitou Springs (72-40).  They were dominant in the first two quarters in building a 50-21 halftime advantage.  Andi Schissler had a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds and led the Broncos in both categories.  Cora Schissler added 13 points and both Bree Bunting and Cassie Ridings finished with 10.

#2 University and #3 Vanguard are the two of the top challenges to Platte Valley as they look to defend their 3A crown..  Now with those two colliding on Friday, we may get an early indication of which one is the stronger threat to the Broncos.  Vanguard came up short in their chance last week and Platte Valley will face the Broncos in Patriot league action after Xmas.

Both the Bulldogs and Coursers were included in our Sunday notebook and it should be an even battle.  Each club has experienced players returning and youngsters looking to make their mark on the 2021-22 season.

#5 Wray and #6 Holyoke are very familiar with one another as they square off at least twice each season.  We say twice because sometimes a third or even fourth battle can take place in the post-season.  This is the non-league meeting of the two as the result after Christmas will factor heavily into the Lower Platte league championship race.

For Holyoke, this will be their second non-league meeting with a strong league rival.  They came up short in the first matchup; falling to Sedgwick County 51-49 last week.  All three teams plus the likes of Yuma, Merino and Haxtun will make for a very interesting conference chase.

Holyoke features a very productive and veteran 1-2 punch in Kristin Vieselmeyer and Lauren Herman.  Both are basically averaging a double-double through five games; combining for 33 points and 21 rebounds a night.  How far the Dragons go this year though will depend on their support players; if they can score consistently and stay away from foul trouble.

Wray is 2- but has a two game losing streak after finishing fourth at the Goodland Topside Classic last weekend.  Their one lone in-state game though is a quality win as they downed Yuma in the opener.  The Eagles reached the state finals last year before stumbling against Limon.  They return good talent from that club including Karly Godsey (19.3 pts), Larissa Salmans (8.9), Kaycee McBride (7.5) and Chloe Cure (7.3).

Up in 4A is another game we mentioned in our Sunday notebook and that’s the pairing of #5 Holy Family and #7 Thompson Valley.  The game is probably more important to the Eagles.  Holy Family has great tradition and plays a strong schedule each year to prep for their playoff run.  Thompson Valley is more the new kid on the block and trying to solidify their spot among the state championship contenders in the division.

All 4A clubs right now though continue to look up to Mullen and Windsor.  The Mustangs beat the Wizards in the finals a year ago and even though it’s still very early in the season, a rematch is likely possible.

Tournament wise, there’s a good field at the Lamar Holiday Tournament.  Kit Carson (#5) and McClave (#6) are both ranked in 1A but Springfield has the top seed.  The Longhorns are 3-0 with their most recent win coming against Wiley in overtime last week.  Wiley is seeded fourth so there’s a great chance we get a rematch in the semifinals on Friday.  Kit Carson and McClave are expected to face off in the other semi.

In the first meeting with Wiley, Springfield opened with a 15-4 but then watched the Panthers whittle away at that lead for the next 24 minutes.  The Longhorns survived by scoring the only four points in the overtime period.

Kit Carson has played twice; beating Holly 63-37 and then Idalia 32-31.  Senior Stephanie Framel has 33 points and seven rebounds in those victories.  Four other Wildcats average either six or seven points a game.  McClave is 2-1 with two straight wins following an opening loss to Elkhart KS in the Border Classic.  Seniors Maggie Chase and Anna Beckett both average 10 points a game and combine for 11 rebounds.

Delta and Montrose collide on Friday in the Black Canyon Classic in Montrose.  That’s the feature attraction of the round-robin event.  Palisade and Roaring Fork are the two other teams in the field but the Delta-Montrose winner probably finishes the tourney at 3-0 and with the title.  Montrose (3-3) has split their first six games and will try to snap a two-game losing streak after finishing fourth at the Glenwood Springs tournament.  Taylor Yanosky (12.0) is the Indians leading scorer.  Delta has played just once; rolling Roaring Fork 69-21 as Erika Kuta netted 20 points.  Freshman Taylor Somers was next with 14.

Skyview entered the 4A rankings this week (#10) and celebrated by beating Rock Canyon 56-31 in their first round of their own Winter Classic.  They should get by Adams City in their next game before facing another strong challenge from Ponderosa.  Against Rock Canyon, the Wolverines created a 16-point halftime cushion.

Both teams need to win two games to get there, but it’s highly likely that Northridge and Fort Collins will collide for the Greeley Roundball Classic championship on Saturday.   Northridge is ranked 9th in Class 4A and Fort Collins (4-2) is also playing good basketball.  Their only two losses are against #2 Windsor and #6 George Washington and they played the Patriots to within five points (46-41).   Freshman Avery Alcaraz paces the Lambkins with 12 points a game.  Senior Emily Johnson pulls down a team high eight rebounds.

Northridge has won their first five games but they need to get pushed.  Their narrowest margin of victory is 17 against both Greeley Central and Broomfield.  Senior Makenna Shaffer tops the Grizzlies with 12 points and 8 rebounds.  Classmate Seneya Martinez chips in 12 points and nearly six steals a game.

All four games at the Fowler tournament could be close battles.  The four teams involved are Peyton, Sanford, Colorado Springs Christian and of course, the host Grizzlies.  Sanford is 3-0 and is coming off a title at the La Junta tournament.  Peyton is only 2-4 but will improve throughout the year as the top four scorers are either freshman or sophomore.  That includes the very talented AJ Mannering who is averaging nine points a game despite limited minutes as she returns from injury.

Fowler (1-2) is in the same boat.  Four of their top five scorers are freshman or sophomores and there is not a senior on the roster.  The Grizzlies have losses to 3A opponents Lamar and La Junta and open the tournament with another in Colorado Springs Christian.  The Lions (3-0) are again under the direction of Mark Engesser who guided them to 72 wins from 2016-19.  Sophomore Grace Minihane paces the offense with nearly 15 points per game and Emily Hoekert, who played for Engesser as a freshman, adds 11 points and nearly six rebounds as a senior.

Across the state, there are other tournaments in Fleming, Center and Akron.  Fleming hosts their first-ever winter classic and meets Arickaree/Woodlin in the first round.  Playing on their home floor and ranked #3 in Class 1A, the Wildcats are favored and may get their strongest push from Gilpin County if they meet in the finals.  The Tigers (5-1) suffered their only loss of the season to Flatirons Academy (57-22) so this gives them a chance to compare two of the best 1A programs in the state.  Gilpin features juniors Skyley Ramsey (13.7) and Abigail Smith (11.0) who have combined for 20 three-pointers in just six games.

Center welcomes in Hayden, Soroco and Calhan.  The Vikings probably hoping to face #8 Soroco (4-1) for the title as they need that level to competition to reach the next stage in their program development.  It’s a tough test as the Rams play up tempo and shoot the three.  They’ve attempted 48 shots from beyond the arc and made just eight.  Center (2-2) ended a short two-game slide by beating Salida 32-23 on Tuesday night.  They collected 16 points from Alexis Varela and 11 from Alicia Rios who hit three treys on the night.

Stratton and Idalia is a nice first round pairing at the Akron Tournament.  The Eagles have played just one game but that resulted in a 66-8 rout of Calhan.  They were included in the preseason 1A top 10 but have left out of the following two polls.  Idalia (2-2) with a lopsided loss to #2 Briggsdale and a one-point setback to #5 Kit Carson.  The winner most likely gets Akron.  The Rams have three straight wins following the opening loss to Merino.

Now we saved maybe the best bracket for last and that is found at the inaugural Yuma Winter Tournament.  All four teams in the field are ranked in either Class 2A or 3A so results from each game will factor into the next set of rankings.  Teams joining Yuma are Limon, Eaton and Heritage Christian.  Limon is ranked #1 in Class 2A and is coming off a state championship run.  Eaton is number four in Class 3A and is always in the Patriot mix.  Heritage Christian is ranked 7th in 2A with Yuma checking in at #10 and coming off an overtime win at Brush where they scored the final seven points of the game in a 50-49 decision.

Players to watch for Limon include Trista Marx and Jentri Marx.   They combine for 29 points and nearly nine rebounds a game.   Eaton (4-0) will be outsized in the paint but counters with the outside game of Ahana Leffler (16.5) and Leyah Scott (13.0).  Scott has 14 treys and Leffler four.

Yuma will play up to 12 players but returning starter Ema Richardson was a major factor in the win over Brush.  She recorded some key steals and buckets down the stretch of regulation and overtime.  Through four games, she’s scoring 13 points a game with 4.5 steals.  Heritage Christian (5-0) has not be tested with all five victories by at least 31 points.  That changes against Yuma on Friday and then either Limon or Eaton the next night.  Guard play is their strength with the duo of Avery Hughes (13.0) and Kali Siemers.  Both have been varsity players since their freshman season.