Six of our top 10 games to watch in girls’ basketball this week take place inside tournament brackets and based on wins in early games, even more attractive contests could be found later in the week. All ten of our games involve ranked teams squaring off.
4A: #7 Holy Family at #7 Valor Christian
5A: #5 Fossil Ridge vs #8 Sierra (4A)
Notes: Both games listed are tournament matchups and each features a ranked club from Class 4A challenging a team in the 5A Top 10. Holy Family and Valor Christian battle in the opening round of the Horizon Best in the Nest Tournament while Fossil Ridge and Sierra tangle in the Fairview Festival. Sierra is 1-1 overall and coming off a lopsided loss to Pueblo West (61-35). The Stallions shot just 33 percent in the loss with D’Nae Wilson the only player in double figures (10 pts). Fossil Ridge has played just one game but scored a nice 52-31 win over Windsor. They outscored the Wizards 31-15 in the first half. Holy Family (0-1) fell to Air Academy 54-39 in their opener. The Tigers were down 15-0 after one quarter but played the Kadets even the rest of the way. Genevieve Gudino led the Tigers with nine points but the team hit just 11 of 44 field goal attempts. Valor Christian downed Chaparral 56-47 in their opener with Kindyll Wetta (18) and Jenna Siebert (11) combining for 29 points.
3A: #2 Colorado Springs Christian vs #3 Lutheran
4A: #1 Pueblo West vs #5 Mesa Ridge
4A: #6 Mullen at #2 Regis (5A)
Notes: Wednesday is normally a slow night for basketball action but this week there’s a huge exemption with three very attractive top 10 battles. CSCS and Lutheran are among the frontrunners to land the 3A state championship next March. The teams are a combined 4-0 but neither has been challenged. CSCS topped Calhan 61-15 and Lutheran won three games at last week’s Bennett tournament by a combined 153 points. Kaitlyn Kyle (16.3), Stephanie Schultz (16.0) and Kate Webster (13.3) all averaged double figures in limited minutes for the Lions. Pueblo West and Mesa Ridge also have their eyes on the top prize in Class 4A. West scored wins over Sierra and Cheyenne Mountain last week and averaged nearly 63 points in doing so. Mesa Ridge totaled 64 points in their win over Pueblo East. Serin Dunne hit four of six from the arc and finished with a game best 23 points. Regis won three games at an out-of-state tournament last week so their game with Mullen marks their first in-state opponent. Mullen grabbed the title at the Castle View/ThunderRidge tournament last week beating Cherokee Trail 48-42 in the finals. Freshman Imani Perez topped the Mustangs with 43 points in the tournament including a game-high 23 in the championship game.
1A: #1 Kit Carson at #2 Limon (2A)
2A: #6 Swink vs #6 Centauri
Notes: Kit Carson is the two-time defending state champions in Class 1A and carries a 52-game winning streak into the new season. The game at Limon is their official season opener but the Wildcats did pick up a win over 2A defending state champion Yuma in a foundation game last week. They return all-staters Tess Hornung and Olivia Isenbart to a very tall and talented lineup. Limon is coming off a state tournament appearance and returns most of their lineup from that club. They beat Colorado Springs School and Ignacio last week to land their tournament title. Toni Lopez (10.5) scored 21 points in the two wins while Jenna Jaklich (8.0) and Anna Weisensee (8.0) both tallied 16. Swink and Centauri square off in the quarterfinals of the La Junta Holiday tournament. Centauri will have the advantage as they’ve played three games while the Lions will be playing their first contest. Brianna Denton (15.9), Courtney Estrada (11.6), Kyla O’Neil (9.0) and Tierra Holland (8.1) are four seniors that have started for Swink since their freshman seasons. Centauri picked up 60 total points from Melissa Wilson while winning their Mountain Top tournament title. Brenna McDaniel added 30 points. They combined for 35 points in a quality win over Moffat County last Saturday.
1A: #5 South Baca vs #10 La Veta
3A: #1 St Mary’s vs #4 Pagosa Springs
Notes: Both matchups are tournament pairings as South Baca and La Veta tangle in the semifinals of the Las Animas tournament and St Mary’s and Pagosa Springs face off again at the Buena Vista Invitational. South Baca went 2-0 to capture the Springfield tournament title last week. They return their entire roster from a team that won 14 games last season. La Veta has not played a game yet but will get in a contest with Hoehne the night before. The Redskins went 15-7 last season and returns Kaylee Corsentino who led the team with 19 points and 11 rebounds a game. St Mary’s is the defending state champion in Class 3A while Pagosa Springs is a routine visitor to the state tournament and also grabbed a title as recent at 2015. Pagosa Springs opened with a quality road win at Salida (38-26) and they limited the Spartans to just 23 percent shooting (10-43). St Mary’s handled Resurrection Christian 78-43 in their opener as Josephine Howery (18), Seneca Hackley (15), Brooklyn Valdez (13) and Catherine Cummings (12) all reached double figures. The matchup is the middle of three good tests for the Pirates this week as they also meet Machebeuf on Tuesday and University on Saturday.
3A: #1 St Mary’s vs #5 University
Notes: This is the back-half of a tough two-day schedule for St Mary’s at the Buena Vista tournament. University will also have played on Friday but will be favored to get by Salida. The Bulldogs head to Buena Vista with a perfect 3-0 start after beating Fort Morgan, Gunnison and Basalt at the Northern Colorado Classic.
In addition to the matchups listed above, tournament play could give us very attractive battles later in the week. The Fairview Festival lineup includes Ralston Valley, Broomfield, Fossil Ridge, Sierra and Fairview. The Horizon Best of the Nest has Lakewood, Pine Creek, Grandview, Valor Christian and Holy Family in their bracket. The host Hawks are also a top five club. In La Junta, we mentioned the Swink-Centauri battle and that winner likely meets Del Norte in the semifinals if the Tigers get by Lamar as expected. In Kansas, the annual Topside Classic in Goodland could end with a rematch between Wray and Yuma. The two in-county rivals met for the 13th time in four years last week with the Eagles scoring a 50-40 decision. And staying in 2A, Soroco looks to beat three larger schools at the Steamboat Shootout.