A return to coverage of the San Luis Valley this week inside our Colorado Preps Weekly series as we look back to the past week in basketball and wrestling.
After a 3-0 start, the Alamosa Mean Moose took a few on the chin with losses to University and Manitou Springs on the basketball court over the weekend, but for the 3-2 Moose, it is still a strong start to a year where they hope to improve from their first round exit last season. The Moose are returning to their home court this weekend where they will host Crested Butte on Friday at 7:00 pm before taking on Gunnison on Saturday at 2:30 pm.
After showing plenty of consistency in their opening tournament win at home, the Centauri boys were able to just practice last week, which was much needed with only two under their belt after a deep football run. This weekend, they will be back onto the court, and I would expect a more smooth effort from the Falcons, as they take on Gunnison on Friday night before a game with Crested Butte on Saturday.
The Sanford boys are expected to be one of the best in the state at the 2A level this season, and came out and proved it in the La Junta holiday tournament. Going 3-0 in their first action of the 2021 season, including an impressive 61-58 win over the host La Junta Tigers in the semi-finals and a three point win in the championship over Fowler has added some weight to the early expectations. Sanford is back in tournament action against Peyton on Friday with another game on Saturday.
It was a heartbreaking weekend for the Monte Vista boys in La Junta, as they dropped a pair of one possession games to tournament runner up Fowler and to Lamar in their first two games before taking down Dolores Huerta Prep on Saturday to end on a bit of a positive note. The Pirates have a triple header starting on Thursday this week as they load up on games in the final week before break. Weld Central, another game with Dolores Huerta, and the Florence Huskies all are on the docket for the Pirates this weekend.
While the 2-3 record isn’t all that shiny, the Del Norte Tigers are looking like they will be a team to recon with come tournament time. Losses to Fowler and La Junta as well as a tough opening game with Northfield account for the Tigers losses so far, and wins over Lamar and Ellicott have been impressive so far. This weekend, a Lake County team which made the postseason last year and a Hoehne Farmers team should challenge the Tigers once again.
The Sangre de Cristo boys are looking for some answers this season after a 0-4 gutshot to open the year. After surrendering 75 points to Dolores in the opening game, the defense has improved, but offense for the Thunderbirds is lacking, 101 total points in their first four games. With Trinidad coming up this Friday on the road and a home game with La Veta, the Thunderbirds should expect a win if they expect to compete for a spot in the state field.
It has been a quality start to the season for the Center Vikings, with a 3-1 record showing off their success in the early going. A 2-1 performance at the Thunderbird Shootout in Sangre De Cristo saw them add a win against Creede last Tuesday. This week begins with a game against the Salida Spartans from the north, before tournament action has Calhan coming to Center over the weekend on Friday to kick things off with the Vikings.
The La Veta boys basketball team is cleaning some bruises after a loss to Las Animas brought them back to 2-2 on the year after what was an impressive performance in their opening week of the season. After a loss to ECA, the Redhawks survived a one point win over Hoehne and rolled over the South Baca boys. This week, it’s busy again with three more games lined up, including a tussle with John Mall before Creede and Sangre round out the week.
The Sargent Farmers took a step back and a step forward this week, with a win over Sangre de Cristo getting them into the win column after going 0-3 in Centauri the first week of the season. But Saturday’s 60-22 loss to Lake County brought the Farmers back to earth a bit as they prepare for 2022’s portion of the schedule. No more games, only practices in December for Sargent’s boys.
The Moffat boys were able to split their opening weekend of work, with a win over South Park and a loss to Cotopaxi dividing the weekend of the 3rd and 4th. Last week was quiet with no contests for the Cowboys, but this week it turns around with matchups with the Manzanola Bobcats and the Cripple Creek Pioneers.
While the Sierra Grande girls have had their struggles this year, the Sierra Grande boys are thriving. At 5-0 to start the year, some excitement should be building in the east end of the San Luis Valley. The Panthers have put up at least 50 points in all five of their games this season, and have a 70 point game against South Baca. Isaiah Chairez has picked up right where he left off with his 20 points a game one of the top early scorers in the state and he is just shy of 10 rebounds a game. This week, the Panthers face Hayden in tournament action to close out 2021.
The Antonito Trojans had a week off to practice after going 1-2 in the opening tournament of the season in Sangre de Cristo, with their only win coming over the host Thunderbirds. Thursday has the Trojans back in action again for the first time in two weeks when they challenge Centennial, who defeated them in the consolation semifinals of the Thunderbird Shootout.
The Alamosa girls basketball team was able to earn a victory in their opening round game in La Junta this weekend, but after defeating The Pinnacle to get to 2-1, losses to University and Manitou Springs saw the Moose heading home with a 2-3 record and a fourth place finish. Early signs say this could be a very inconsistent year for the Mean Moose on the court, with as many as 66 points being scored, and as few as 20 in their five games this season.
The Centauri girls were off this weekend after taking third in their home tournament to open the season. At 2-1, this young Falcons team will stay in the valley, challenging Westminster and Summit this weekend in the Alamosa/Centauri Challenge.
The Sanford girls were able to make it a clean sweep for the green and black as they also took home the La Junta holiday tournament title going 3-0 to start the season. The closest anyone came to the Indians was a 19 point win over La Junta in the semi-finals, and a 24 point win over Lamar in the championship. While the Indians were fairly balanced, they did see seniors Riley Canty and Cheyenne Caldon really heat up, contributing 25 points per game between them. The Sanford girls also will be in tournament action this weekend against Peyton on Friday and a to-be-determined opponent on Saturday.
After starting off with a disappointing pair of losses, the Monte Vista ladies were able to bounce back to 2-2 with wins over Swink and Del Norte in the La Junta holiday tournament. The fifth place finish had to feel good for the Pirates who have had their struggles on the girls basketball court. Another tournament will be on the slate this weekend for the Pirates, as they will be taking on Steamboat Springs on Friday.
The Del Norte girls season has been a struggle so far. At 0-4 on the year, the Tigers are looking to find a win but this weekend will see it be a tough one to find. They are heading to tournament play once again, with Hoehne and Lake County coming up on Friday and Saturday. In their four games, Del Norte has been held to a season high of just 24 points, and defensively has only held an opponent under 40 once.
The Vikings of Center started the season off right, getting a win over Centennial, but dropped their final two games of the opening tournament two weeks ago. At 1-2, it was just practice for Center’s girls last week as Creede wasn’t able to bring a girls team along. This week, the schedule gets a bit busier, with Salida opening the action for Center before they take on Hayden in the opening round of tournament action this weekend.
While boys hoops for the Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds may be struggling, the girls side of the equation is doing just fine. A 3-1 start to the season, including a two point win over Dove Creek in their home tournament championship only saw the start to the season spoiled by a 35-21 loss to Sargent. This weekend’s games against Trinidad and La Veta should get them back on the winning track to close out December’s portion of the schedule.
Speaking of La Veta, the Redhawks got into the win column against Manzanola in their last game to move to 1-3 on the year. The schedulers had not been kind to the Redhawks, loading up the early schedule with state contenders year in and year out, with losses coming to ECA, Hoehne and South Baca. The week could turn that around, with John Mall and Centennial lined up before their game with Sangre on Saturday.
The Sargent girls bounced back well from their games with Rye and Centauri to close out their opening weekend. The Farmers went 2-0 this week with wins over Sangre de Cristo and a 33 point win over the Lake County Panthers from the 3A ranks. It’s some good momentum heading into the new year, with no more games on the schedule until 2022.
After just being edged by the South Park Burros, and earning a win over Cripple Creek, the Moffat Cowboys faced their first real test of the season in the Cotopaxi girls last Friday, with the Pirates rolling to a 30 point win over Moffat. At 1-2, the Cowboys are hoping for a strong showing this weekend as they look to bounce back with a second game against Cripple Creek and a Friday game with Manzanola.
Defense has not been the strong point for the Sierra Grande Panthers coming out of the gate. In their 1-4 start, the Panthers have only held one team, the Primero Bulldogs, to under 40 points. Now, to be fair to the Panthers, they have played a tough schedule, with Springfield, South Baca, Hoehne, and Kim/Branson accounting for the losses, with all four representing consistent postseason threats. The Panthers will look for win number two this year against John Mall this weekend.
Antonito’s girls were able to get a win over Lake City over the past week to move to 1-3 on the season. The win also closes out the December portion of their schedule, with no more games on the way until January 8th when they take on Centennial for the second time.
Centauri has been pegged as one of the top teams in the state for 2A wrestling this year as they look to defend their state championship from last season. They have been off to a great start, taking down TCA, Brighton, Riverdale Ridge and Liberty with their only early dual loss coming to Pine Creek at the Tenth Annual Battle of the Best two weekends ago. This past weekend, the Falcons doubled down by winning the East Invitational with 168 team points. Eyan Chavez took home a title for the Falcons at 152 lbs and was joined on the top of the podium by Josh Polkowske at 160 lbs. Erik Mestas took second at 170 and both Zach Buhr and Byron Shawcroft took home titles at 182 and 195 lbs.
Alamosa placed seventh as a team this weekend at the East Invitational scoring 84 team points. Dyson Woodward moved to 7-1 on the year and took home third place at 106 lbs and Dempsey Gibbs took third at 113 lbs. Trevor Maestas took second for the Moose at 132 lbs and Kyler Liddell placed third at 145 lbs.
Monte Vista was at the Ridge Rage Duals and would fall in all four duals on the day, first with host Palmer Ridge, then Mountain Vista, TCA, and Rocky Ford.
Other wrestlers of note from the area include Brayden Nix, who took second at the Rob Mickel Tournament in Salida for La Veta over the weekend at 160 lbs. Chris Williams of La Veta was the tournament champion at 285 lbs. Mountain Valley’s Mason Armenta placed third at 170 lbs and CJ Nix of Sierra Grande/Centennial was a second place finisher at 195 lbs.
The Center Vikings took ninth place as a team at the Limon Badger Invitational. Jordan Duran placed third at 106 lbs and Devin Thompson did the same at 170 lbs.