While tournaments seem to dominate the discussion in December, there are several other matchups worthy of attendance on tap this week. We’ve made our selections for the ten best games and the list is filled with top 10 battles and local rivalry contests.
4A: #3 Lincoln at #1 Grandview (5A)
2A: #7 Sedgwick County vs Holyoke
Notes: Ranked number one in the first two polls of the season, Grandview will finally step on the court with a good challenge from a highly ranked 4A club. The Wolves are the returning state champions and coming off a 24-win season. They also return player of the year candidate Dayne Prim who averaged a team high 13 points and nearly eight rebounds per game. Lincoln grabbed three wins to capture the first Denver Tipoff Classic title including a 72-64 win over Castle View in the championship game. Sedgwick County and Holyoke are great rivals tucked in the Northeast corner of the state. The Dragons went 1-1 at the Highland tournament last week while the Cougars have not played a game. Their first contest comes just 10 days after the school won a fourth-consecutive state football crown. The Cougars though lost their top five scorers from last year’s club to graduation.
3A: #6 Lutheran vs Colorado Springs Christian
Notes: Great tradition with both programs and both are off to solid starts this season. The Lions went 2-1 in the opening week with their loss coming against Coal Ridge (69-64) in the opening round of the Brenda Patch tournament in Carbondale. The Lions reached the state finals last year but fell to Bayfield there. Matt Thompson is the lone returnee among their top six scorers from that club. CS Christian handled Calhan 77-31 in their opener and totaled 52 points in the first and third quarters.
1A: #6 Kit Carson at #3 Limon (2A)
1A: #5 Cornerstone Christian vs Heritage Christian
Notes: Since both Kit Carson and Limon reached the state football finals in their respective class, many of their top players are still getting into basketball shape. Limon has already played two games as they moved past Colorado Springs School and Ignacio to grab the title of their own Badger Invitational. The Wildcats will see their first action of the new season and the game is the first of three straight as they also meet Wiley on Friday and Idalia on Saturday. Cornerstone is coming off a tremendous opening week as they topped both 2A Byers and 3A Grand Valley to win the Corridor Classic in Strasburg. They also beat Twin Peaks Charter. Brandt Vos averaged 19 points in the wins and Edward Cruz 14. Heritage Christian, now playing as a 2A program, also won three games to land the title at the Front Range Baptist tournament. They toppled the host Falcons in the finals (52-49)
1A: #7 Springfield vs #5 Holly (2A)
2A: #2 Highland at Eaton
4A: #10 Golden vs #10 George Washington (5A)
Notes: Springfield and Holly continue their great rivalry series and both enter the contest ranked in their respective class. Holly, which has two 1A titles in the last four years, has bumped up to Class 2A this year and easily disposed of Swallows Charter in their first game in that division. Springfield moved past both Cheyenne Wells and Sierra Grande to win their own Ballard Classic last week. Beau Dukes finished with 21 points in the final and Dakota Mort added 10. Darian Schaller also connected on two of four three-point attempts. Highland and Eaton are also neighboring rivals and have battled on the hardwood for many years with many classic games. Highland was very impressive in week one beating Peyton, Dawson and Holyoke by a combined 92 points. Eaton (3-0) went unbeaten through the Northern Colorado Classic with Scott Grable averaging nearly 16 points a game. Cody Kessel and Nic Inda each averaged nearly 11. Golden and George Washington are both in rebuild mode this year following great campaigns last season. Golden lost their top five scorers from a 21-win club and George Washington their top five from their state runner-up team. Golden went 1-2 at their own tournament last week with quality losses to Holy Family and Centaurus. The Patriots split four games in week one beating Legacy and Mesa Ridge and falling to Smoky Hill and Highlands Ranch.
1A: #3 DeBeque vs #9 Creede
5A: #1 Grandview at #8 Rock Canyon
Notes: The pair of top 10 matchups serve as a very good way to end week two. DeBeque easily won two games at the Idalia tournament last week beating Briggsdale and Twin Peaks by a combined 72 points but they’ll get a tougher test with a Creede program that made the Final Four last season. The Dragons are led by Brennan Rigsby and Wes Ryan who averaged a combined 39 points as freshman a year ago. Creede placed third at the Sangre De Cristo tournament last week including a hard-fought loss to the host and top ranked Thunderbirds in the semifinals. Marcus Romero paces the Miners with 22 points per game including a 27-point effort against Center last Saturday. Fisher Leggitt (13.0) and Colter Simon (10.0) are two other double-digit scorers. For Grandview, their road trip to Rock Canyon marks a second game against a top 10 opponent on the week. Rock Canyon enters the week 2-1 where they finished second at their own tournament; falling to Mountain Vista 60-46 in the finals. The Jags also have a game with Dakota Ridge this week (Tuesday). Jalen Ashley tops Rock Canyon with 20 points and is second with six rebounds. Jaylen Eikenberg adds 13 points and nearly five assists per game with Grant Figueroa at 10 points and a team high seven rebounds.
Some events have loaded fields and will provide excellent matchups. Leading that list is the Chaparral-ThunderRidge tournament where three top five teams in Class 5A reside there. Smoky Hill and Chaparral could collide in the semifinals and ThunderRidge is lurking on the other side of the bracket. At La Junta, the Holiday Shootout field includes both Fowler and Sanford and they could face off in the semifinals. Up at Meeker, Mancos and the host Cowboys could collide in the championship game and out at Glenwood Springs, a matchup between Coal Ridge and Lutheran could take place.