Eight of the 11 matchups on our top games for girls’ basketball list tonight directly impact league championship races with a few clubs very close to clinching a crown. We break down those pairings and a few others on a very attractive Friday night.
Photo is provided by Bobby Gutierrez.
Wiley at Springfield: The game between Springfield and South Baca set for next Thursday is expected to decide the 1A Ark Valley crown and top district seed but the Longhorns must first focus on this one as the Panthers are a very good club. Wiley is one game back in third place and still has a chance at getting at least a piece of the title if they spring the upset. Springfield (14-1) is unbeaten in-state and ranked #1 in RPI this week. They’ve beaten Walsh (54-23) and Kim/Branson (50-34) in league play. Julia Mondragon paces the Longhorns in scoring (13.3) and rebounding (6.3) but many others contribute as Alexis Crane (8.5), Kylie Parks (7.8), Payton Arbuthnot (4.7), Melanie Woller (4.6), Brinlyn Dukes (4.3) and Alayah Meltabarger (3.7) all average between four and nine points a night. Wiley fell to South Baca (50-34) on January 18th but they’ve dropped just two games since. Included in the run is a crucial 51-43 win over Kim/Branson that kept them in the championship race. Macy Rowan scored 20 in that win and both Taira Weber and Jaelin Parker hit two three-pointers.
Evangelical Christian at Kiowa: An important pairing in the 1A Black Forest as Kiowa shares the conference lead with Elbert and ECA is one game back. ECA has already dropped their league battle with Elbert but Kiowa faces the Bulldogs next Thursday. Kiowa had won four straight to finish January but has lost two of their last three with losses to Genoa Hugo and Byers. In-between was a key league win over Edison (39-32) that kept them in first place. Bailea Carothers scored eight in the win with Hanna Brogger getting seven and Emili Gabriel and Cassandra French six apiece. Bailey Martelli also snapped 13 rebounds with six steals and four assists. ECA has split six games since falling to Elbert and ended a three-game slide by beating Miami Yoder 52-11 last week. Maddie Castro (11.2) is the lone double figure scorer and Micah Elpers has a team best 6.3 rebounds.
Cheraw at Eads: Eads needs a win to lock up second place in the 1A High Plains and the number two seed behind Kit Carson in the district tournament. A Cheraw win creates a three-way tie for second between the two and the winner of McClave-Granada; also tonight. Eads has lost three of four but played strong in a 42-28 loss to highly ranked South Baca this week. Morgyn Johnson is their top scorer (9.9) and rebounder (8.5). Cheraw has lost in league play to Kit Carson and McClave. They beat Edison 47-37 this week to snap a short two-game losing streak. Heaven-Lee Marquez leads the Wolverines on offense (11.8) but four others average either six or seven points a game. Marisol Marquez tops the rebounding charges with 5.2 a night.
Antonito at Cotopaxi: The Pirates are battling Moffat for second place in the 1A Southern Peaks and could face a strong challenge from Antonito. Cotopaxi and Moffat have one league loss apiece but the Pirates have the head-to-head win. Antonito is in a fourth-place tie with La Veta and Sierra Grande so they could use a win to earn a top four district tournament seed. Other than the seven-point loss to first-place Sangre De Cristo, Cotopaxi has won all other league games by double figures. With 16.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, Koylynn Guliford is a major reason for the success. Antonito counters with two sisters that average double-doubles. Shandiin Tallman averages 16 points and 12 rebounds and Shiinei Tallman gets 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Del Norte at Sargent: Always difficult to get current standings in the 2A Southern Peaks but we believe these two teams are both unbeaten and atop the league race. They’ve played once this year with the Tigers getting a 43-19 win but that was in a non-conference setting. Del Norte had won their last nine before a road loss at Ignacio three days ago (61-56). Kendra Parra (18) and Kaeci Madrid (14) combined for 32 in the win and together score 31 points a game on the season. Sargent has won three straight to reach an 8-6 record overall including conference wins over South Park (47-12) and Center (30-22). McKenzie Tolliver tops the Farmers on offense (11.6) and on the glass (7.0).
Meeker at Hotchkiss: The top two clubs in the 2A/1A Western Slope face off tonight with Meeker clinching the championship with a victory. They’re 9-0 in conference play and lead Hotchkiss (8-1) by one game and all others by at least three in the loss column. Hotchkiss can’t clinch the crown tonight but locks up a top two finish with a win. Both clubs have quality wins over third-place Soroco this week and each won by four points. Hotchkiss edged the Rams 43-39 on Tuesday with Shay Glaser getting 12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. She led the club in all four categories. Vianney Mendoza added 11 points and Jazmyn Hart eight rebounds. Meeker scored their win (58-54) on Thursday despite 30 points from Kayedence Bruner who hit five three-pointers. It was the 10th straight win for Meeker who is unbeaten overall against 2A competition.
Alamosa at Pagosa Springs: With a two-game edge on both the Moose and Centauri and just two conference games left, Pagosa Springs can clinch the 3A Intermountain championship tonight. Even with a loss, the Pirates still land the crown by beating Bayfield next Thursday. Alamosa plays Centauri tomorrow night and regardless of the outcome tonight, that game will likely decide second and third. Pagosa Springs won a defensive 35-24 decision in Alamosa in their first meeting. Hailey Griego, with 10 points and nine rebounds, narrowly missed a double-double and Adelyn Dozier knocked in two treys. Lilly Lavier led Alamosa with nine points, but the Moose hit just 7 of 35 field goal attempts and missed all ten three-point attempts.
Roaring Fork at Cedaredge: Delta (6-0) has control of the 3A Western Slope race but the winner of this one should end up in the second spot. They currently share the runner-up position as both have a league loss to the first-place Panthers. In using those games as a comparison, Cedaredge may be favored as they fell by just two points (33-31) compared to 12 for the Rams (51-39). Kammie Henderson leads the Cedaredge attack with team highs of 13.7 points and 8.7 rebounds. Makayla Kehmeier adds 10.4 points, three steals and two assists. Seven players score at least four points per game for Roaring Fork with Maya Lindgren (13.8) the lone double-digit scorer. Emily Broadhurst is second on the list (8.2) and also provides nearly five steals defensively.
University at Sterling: Currently alone in first University can clinch the 3A Patriot championship with a road win this evening. The Bulldogs are 8-0 in league play and lead Eaton by one game and both Platte Valley and Brush by two games. Sterling (4-5) is trying to catch Estes Park and Liberty Common in a battel for spots four through six. University kept the top spot with an impressive 56-41 win over Platte Valley last week. They scored at least 11 points in every quarter. Kylie Kravig led the offense with 18 points; Taylor Gollhofer added 13 and Emry Trujillo 11 including two treys. The Bulldogs also hit 22 of 28 from the FT line as they outscored the Broncos by 14 points there. Sterling also played Platte Valley in their last game; falling to the Broncos 52-50 on Tuesday night. Jasmine Cardona (10.7) leads a list of five players scoring at least four points per game.
Thomas Jefferson at Denver East: There’s still a lot to sort out in the DPL as these two clubs are tied with George Washington and Denver South in first place. All four have one league loss. East is favored here as they have eight more wins (14-6) than TJ overall. The Angels also have a win over Denver South so a win here means they can wrap up the championship by beating George Washington on the final day of the season (Feb 22nd). TJ’s league loss was against South (68-47) but they won their last two in the conference; beating Denver West (39-38) and Denver North (65-34). Individually, freshman Brooke Murrell leads TJ in points (15.2) and rebounds (11.4) while junior Jordyn Conner does the same for East with 12.7 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Broomfield at Fossil Ridge: It’s the likely league championship game in the 5A Front Range. Both teams are 9-0 and have a two-game edge on Fairview. The Knights started the week tied for the conference lead but has dropped two games this week including a 57-54 decision to Broomfield. The Eagles put four players in double figures in that win as Courtney Wristen netted 17, Emma Rich 11 and Jessica Hoffman and Brooke Pennington 10 apiece. They followed up the win by beating Legacy 57-33 the next night as Wristen again the led the way with 15. Fossil Ridge faces Fairview next week so even with a win, the Sabercats still have some work to do before thinking about a league title. They’re coming off a hard fought 48-41 loss to #4 Highlands Ranch this week. Lauren Zwetzig tops Fossil Ridge with 10.6 points and 6.1 rebounds but three others average at least seven per night.