Conference races continue to be the focus in our week-long series on the top games in boys’ basketball each night. For Wednesday there are important contests to be found in the 3A Metro, 3A Confluence, 5A Centennial and the 5A Jeffco while the league tournament in the 4A Colorado 8 also continues.
3A: Lutheran at Manual
With their win over Kent Denver on Tuesday, Faith Christian locked up no worse than a second-place finish in the Metro conference. Now the results from Lutheran-Manual will help determine the final order of the top three. Manual is the league champion with a win and then Lutheran ends up third. Lutheran creates a three-way tie for the top spot if they hand Manual their first league loss. Then tiebreakers come into play to determine seed order for next week’s district tournament. Kent Denver will end up fourth with Tuesday’s loss.
Manual has dominated league opponents outscoring them by 324 points in nine games played. Their 62-55 win over Faith Christian is their only conference game decided by less than 24 points. The Thunderbolts have scored at least 90 points in three leagues and 89 in two others. Jaedon Bowles has upped his scoring average to 28 points per game and has scored at least 30 in each of his last four games.
Lutheran is two points away from making tonight’s game a winner-take-all for the Metro title. Their lone league loss came at the hands of Faith Christian (48-47) but since they’ve won their last seven. The Lions stayed a game back of Manual with a narrow 65-62 win over Colorado Academy last week. DeAnte Dennis (28) and Alex Mushkin (18) combined for 46 points in the win.
3A: Ridgeview Academy at DSST-Byers
DSST-Byers entered the week needing two wins to claim the Confluence championship. Number one came on Monday night as they downed DSST-Green Valley 51-45 and number two could come this evening against Ridgeview Academy. Ridgeview is alone in second place just one game back so the Rams can move close to the championship with an upset.
5A: Grandview at Eaglecrest
5A: Smoky Hill at Mullen
Each Centennial league team still has two conference games remaining and since results have been unpredictable to this point, the league race is far from over. Grandview (10-2) has the lead going to the final four days of the season with Eaglecrest and Smoky Hill (both 9-3) one game off the pace. Overland (8-4) is fourth but the Trailblazers moved all the way to third in the statewide rankings this week thanks to a lopsided win over Smoky Hill last week.
Grandview of course has control of the standings since they have the one game edge. The Wolves topped Eaglecrest 49-44 in their first outing; using a 21-point fourth quarter to gain the win. They had scored just 28 points through the first three quarters. Dayne Prim (17) and Caleb McGill (12) combined for 29 in the win.
Eaglecrest got 19 from Aaron Bokol and 13 from Ty Robinson. They’ve won four straight including a 79-64 win over Mullen earlier this week. They close at Smoky Hill on Friday in another important league battle.
Smoky Hill recovered from the Overland loss (85-65) by thumping Arapahoe 73-48 on Monday. They downed Mullen 67-55 in round one as Jalen Weaver dropped in 23 points, Kenny Foster 19 and Jordan Whitaker a dozen. Isaac Ondekane led Mullen with 21 and Christian Davis added 11. The Mustangs are fifth in the Centennial standings but 19th in RPI so they remain hopeful of earning a first round bye in the state tournament. That benefit goes to the top 16 seeds.
5A: Arvada West at Columbine
Columbine needs this win to secure the Jeffco championship while Arvada West creates a three-way tie for the conference lead with Ralston Valley if they pull off the upset. Columbine (6-0) is alone in first with A-West (5-1) and Ralston Valley (4-1) just one game out of the top spot.
Luke O’Brien, with 21 points and nearly nine rebounds a game, continues to push for first-team all-state honors. The junior leads the team in both categories and has scored at least 21 points in seven straight games. He has also recorded 10 double-doubles this season including six of his last seven outings.
Arvada West dropped out of first place with a 70-63 loss to Valor Christian last week. They recovered to edge Chatfield 54-51 on Monday night. They also play Ralston Valley on Friday so the Wildcats can finish anywhere from first to third in the final standings. A-West is 14th in RPI standings but trail Ralston Valley (13th) and Columbine (10th) there as well.
Colorado 8 Tournament Semifinals
Not much suspense in the quarterfinals on Monday and Tuesday as the top four seeds collected wins by a combined 91 points and all victories were by at least 17 points. That sets up semifinal matches tonight between Conifer-Fort Lupton in the upper half of the bracket and Skyview – Alameda in the lower half.
Winners this evening advance to the semifinals where they will play for an automatic bid to the state tournament. Conifer moved past Fort Lupton 66-47 in the regular season and Alameda downed Skyview 71-30 in regular season play so the Lobos and Pirates are expected to advance.