We think any fan would take a schedule that includes matchups of Ignacio-Mancos. Manitou Springs-Vanguard, Fruita Monument-Montrose and Denver East-Northfield. Those games will decide league championships and all are on the boys’ basketball Tuesday night slate.
Photo is provided by Joel Priest.
Ignacio at Mancos: Round two between the 2A San Juan heavyweights will determine if Ignacio wins the league title outright or if the two share the championship. The top district seed is also on the line. The Bobcats won game one 67-61 back on January 21st and that result separates the two in the conference standings. A fast start was the difference as Ignacio won the first quarter 17-11 and the second 23-17 for a 12-point halftime lead. Bryce Finn had a double-double for Ignacio; finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Brady McCaw added 13 points and Triston Thompson six assists. Christian Cova (21) and Evan Sehnert (13) combined for 34 points for Mancos and each hit two treys. Connor Showalter provided 16 points and Caden Showalter nine rebounds.
Denver Christian vs Dawson: Highland is expected to clinch the 2A/1A Mile High championship by beating Longmont Christian tonight and Denver Christian can secure second by beating Dawson. To do so, the Thunder must rebound quickly from last Friday’s 80-55 loss to Highland where they lost a share of the conference lead. The Thunder led the game by five late in the second quarter (30-25) but were outscored 55-25 the rest of the game. Ben Buhler (17) and Henry Vandenburg (15) combined for 32 of the Thunder’s 55 points. Dawson has two league losses including a 90-57 setback to Highland 11 days ago. Riley Burridge led DC with 20 points and Coby Grant-Kerz added 13 but the Thunder allowed 45 first-half points.
Vanguard at Manitou Springs: (UPDATED: GAME MOVED TO WEDNESDAY) Ever since Manitou Springs rolled past St Mary’s on January 17th, this final week matchup was expected to determine the 3A Tri Peaks championship and now it will. Both teams are 11-0 in the conference play so the winner is the champion and top district seed. Vanguard is #4 in RPI and will get a boost in those standings with this game and a Saturday date with DSST-Byers. Manitou Springs is #11 in RPI and may climb into the top 10 if they get a win tonight. The Mustangs have won three straight since a tough loss to Manual. They’re led offensively by Joah Armour (15.1), Isaiah Thomas (11.1) and Joey Allen (10.6). Player of the Year candidate Dominique Clifford leads Vanguard with 27.4 points and 14.0 rebounds a game. He also averages nearly six assists and four steals per game.
Lamar at La Junta: While all of the focus in the 3A Tri Peaks will be on the Vanguard-Manitou Springs showdown, this game is also very important to the district bracket. The top four league teams are given byes to the quarterfinals while the remaining clubs have to win a pigtail game to play into next week. Vanguard, Manitou Springs and St Mary’s have all earned byes and Lamar gets the fourth if they beat their arch-rivals. The Savages lead La Junta, Salida and CSCS by one game so a loss brings in a bunch of tiebreakers to determine fourth.
Machebeuf at Jefferson Academy: Much like the Tri Peaks, this game will greatly impact fourth through seventh in the 3A Metro. Machebeuf finishes fourth a win but since they lead the Jaguars, Colorado Academy and Kent Denver by just one game, a loss creates the need for tiebreakers to seed the district bracket. Colorado Academy is favored to beat Skyview Academy while Kent Denver must get by Faith Christian to remain in contention for fourth.
Fruita Monument at Montrose: The Wildcats can finish off a perfect 8-0 run through the Southwestern chase with a win while Montrose can earn a share of the championship by avenging a loss in the first matchup. If Montrose gets the win tonight, they will also need to beat Grand Junction on the road Friday to remain in a first-place tie. They beat Grand Junction 64-31 in the first meeting. In game one, Fruita Monument led the Indians by six at halftime and then outscored them 38-25 in the second half to pull away for a 19-point victory. Balance carried the Indians as five players scored between 10 and 14 points. Dillon Keithley topped the list with 14, Ian Barnes and Marcus Labonde each had 12 and Tanner Willford and Jack Hawkins both had ten. Luke Hutto topped Montrose with 19 and Sean Alex added 12. The game was well played overall as the teams combined for just 14 turnovers with Fruita having a slight rebound edge (24-20).
Pueblo West at Pueblo Central: Both clubs are 6-2 in the 4A South Central so the winner moves in position to land second behind Pueblo East. Pueblo West also meets Pueblo East on Friday so they remain in the title chase with a win if the Eagles are upset by Pueblo South. The Cyclones though, must first focus on Pueblo Central as they fell to the Wildcats in overtime (54-49) in the first meeting. Central rallied from 10 points down at halftime to force overtime and then outscored the Cyclones 6-1 in the extra session. Kyle Bigley (17), Steven Hemphill (13) and Brandon Martin (12) paced Central with Hemphill also knocking in two three-pointers. They also forced 17 turnovers from West. The Cyclones hit 19 of 54 shots (35 percent) with Taylor Harris and Nicolas Hanenberg each scoring 10. The duo also combined for 15 rebounds.
Air Academy at Lewis Palmer: Cheyenne Mountain (11-1) has already clinched the 4A Pikes Peak crown and Lewis Palmer can sew up second with a win in this one. The Rangers have a one-game lead over Sand Creek but beat the Scorpions twice so they need just one win to finish in second. They would rather take care of business this season as the regular season finale is against Cheyenne Mountain. Air Academy is #36 in RPI and safely in the state tournament bracket but would like to improve their seed. The Kadets also took the first meeting 67-61 with the freshman trio of Grant Featherston (14), Ryder Banks (13) and Finn Horsfall (10) combining for 37 points and four three-pointers. Eddie Speller (25), Colin Westfall (16) and Brady Jones (14) combined for all but six of the Rangers points.
Mead at Erie: The top ranked Mavericks are the 4A Tri Valley championship as they clinched the title when Skyline beat Erie last week. That result left the Mavericks with a three game edge in the league chase with just two games left. Mead though is trying to finish off a perfect 16-0 run through the conference slate and a win in this one and Friday at Holy Family gets them to that record. Mead dominated the first meeting with Erie scoring a 90-60 win. They tallied at least 22 points in each of the first three quarters including a 29-point outburst in the second. That gave them a 51-27 lead at intermission. The Mavericks made 33 field goals in the win including 14 treys. Will Maher was six of seven from the arc and led the team with 22 points overall. Nick Jacobs had four treys and 16 points. Trey Ward had 18 points and also two treys. Ladorian Havard led Erie with 20 points and hit 7 of 16 shots. The rest of the roster made just 13 of 37 shots and totaled 40 points.
Denver East at Northfield: A battle of league unbeatens in the 5A/4A DPL with Northfield clinching the championship with a win. Denver East will gain sole possession of the conference lead but only clinch the title if Thomas Jefferson also beats George Washington. East and GW have their traditional regular season closing battle at the Thunderdome on Saturday and that game will factor into the title chase if both teams are winners this evening. Expect a high scoring game. Northfield averages 70 points a game but have to move past that total quite a bit as the Angels get 88 a night and have scored at least 83 in all but one conference game. Boston Stanton exploded for 32 points and four others reached double figures in last Friday’s 86-76 win over Thomas Jefferson. Northfield is coming off a 70-65 loss to 3A DSST-Byers on Saturday where they have been caught looking ahead to this matchup. Nahysyah Bolar had 18 in the loss which matches his season average.