A good schedule for girls basketball on Tuesday as the slate includes a top 10 battle of Lutheran (3A) and Chaparral (5A). That’s one of eight games involving a ranked team in action on night two of the 2021-22 campaign.
#2 Lutheran (3A) at #5 Chaparral (5A): This game is part of a difficult start for the returning Class 3A runners-up as the Lions also face Ponderosa and Legend in the Parker challenge this week and then open next week against Holy Family. Raelyn Kelty returns to lead Lutheran after averaging 12 points and 7 rebounds as a junior. Kallie Lemon also added 8 points a game last year and returns for her senior year. Chaparral won 13 of 16 games last year before being handled by powerful Grandview 79-30 in the Great 8. Five of the top six scorers return including Payton Bang who topped the Wolverines with 13 points and 7 rebounds a game last season.
#2 Windsor (4A) vs Poudre: The Wizards got all the way to the state finals last season before losing to Mullen in the championship game. A return visit is possible as the Wizards welcome back eight of their top nine scorers including all-stater Olivia Reed. She averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds in leading the Wizard to the runner-up finish. Three others who scored at least seven points a game also return. This is one of only six home games for Windsor for the entire season. Poudre lost to Doherty in the first round of the playoffs to finish 9-6. Bela Voglund is a very good player who scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds a game as a junior.
#5 Mead (4A) at Frederick: A very young team last season, Mead still went 8-4 with a win over Coronado in the playoffs. They then lost to Falcon by just three points in the Sweet 16. The top four scorers all averaged double figures and all return in Jackie Stephenson (12.3), Charlotte Brennan (12.2), Edie Morrow (11.6) and Kyra Haan (11.3). Frederick finished the regular season at 7-7 to qualify in the 4A bracket but lost their opener to Holy Family (66-41). The top seven scorers were all underclassman. Ali Davis (9.1) was second on the list but also topped the Warriors in rebounds (6.7).
#10 Thompson Valley (4A) at Skyline: The Eagles last year made it to the Sweet 16 and there could be even higher expectations this winter with Amelia Solt and Charlee Durtsche expected back on the court. Solt scored 20.2 points per game last season and Durstche averaged a double-double for the season. Skyline did not win a game during COVID but returns seven of their eight scorers including Charlee Neb (7.7).
#4 Regis (5A) vs Doherty: The Raiders begin a new era with first-year coach Jordan Kelly taking charge of the tradition-rich program. She’s a former assistant that has returned to Colorado for a few seasons in college ranks up in Idaho. The Raiders won 15 of 17 games last season but reached the state finals before falling to Valor Christian. Doherty also experienced a two loss season last winter (13-2) but was upset by Arapahoe (46-43) in round two of the playoffs. They return double digit scorers Peyton Sterk (16.3) and Gabby Beauperthuy (11.0).
BEST OF THE NEST TOURNAMENT – HORIZON HIGH SCHOOL
#1 Mullen (4A) vs Broomfield: Mullen is the defending 4A champion and this game marks their first contest since winning the top trophy down in Colorado Springs last Spring. The Mustangs had six players average at least five points during their title run and three return including Gracie Gallegos with over 16. Broomfield slumped to 8-7 last season and lost to Arapahoe in the opening round. Sophie Christoper averaged five points and five rebounds as a sophomore and those numbers will likely improve this season.
#3 Holy Family (4A) vs Pine Creek: The Tigers rolled to 13 wins in 15 games last year with a loss to Mullen (75-50) in the Final Four ending their title hopes. Alyssa Wells scored 22 points in that loss but she graduated last Spring along with three other top scorers. Pine Creek (8-5) lost to Grandview (74-19) in round of the 5A tournament last year. Brynae Stewart, with 11 points and seven rebounds a contest, is the top returnee.
#6 Ralston Valley (5A) vs Air Academy: This should be a good battle as the Mustangs play their first game in five years without Sydney Bevington. The four-year starter graduated last Spring after averaging 18 points and 9 rebounds as a senior. The cupboard is not completely bare as Ralston returns Saya Sabous (13 points). Air Academy was 10-5 last season with Cailtin Kramer leading the way. She scored 16 points with 8 rebounds a game as a freshman and is back to lead the Kadets in her sophomore season.
Horizon vs Vista Peak: The host Hawks are not in the top 10 to begin the season and are coming off a 8-6 season but there is great tradition at the school. Both Audra Vine (14.3) and Britta Cardenas (10.9) return. Vista Peak has already opened their season falling to Eaglecrest 47-36 on Monday night. Eianna Jackson and Breanna Jefferson each scored 12 points with Jefferson adding a team high 8 rebounds.