Good matchups can be found across the 1A/2A landscape as the girls’ basketball season gets back underway this weekend. Several of the matchups pit top clubs from 1A against some of the best teams in Class 2A and a few involve important conference pairings.
Rocky Ford at Sangre De Cristo (Friday)
Another good and needed test for Sangre De Cristo against a quality 2A opponent. Their lone loss in December came against Del Norte (69-50). Otherwise they were not pushed as they rolled past five opponents by at least 20 points apiece. Ten T-Birds score at least four points per game; a list led by Kylee Christensen (14.8) and Jessica Slane (10.0). They combined for 20 points in the loss to Del Norte. Rocky Ford (3-4) has three losses to ranked opponents in CS Christian, Limon and Swink and own a good win over 1A Kim/Branson (49-37). Sophomore Abby Snyder leads the Meloneers in scoring (16.6), rebounds (7.3), assists (3.3) and steals (4.3).
Fleming at Arickaree/Woodlin (Friday)
Following a tough conference loss at Briggsdale, Fleming closed December with wins over Kiowa (41-30) and Weldon Valley (57-28). Sophomore Kendyl Kirkwood tops the Wildcats with 17 points and nearly 15 rebounds per game. Senior Jenna Lengfelder is next in scoring (13.8) while Whitney Chintala provides 9.5 points and second best 5.5 rebounds each night. Arickaree/Woodlin has a tough start to January as they also meet two-time defending state champion Kit Carson on Saturday. They enter the month with a three-game winning streak. Their last loss came against Briggsdale (47-24) on December 7th. Senior Micah Koolstra is among the best players in Class 1A. She leads the club in scoring (13.8), rebounding (7.7), assists (3.7), steals (4.0) and three-pointers (9).
Kim/Branson at Wiley (Friday)
December was a very good month for Kim/Branson as they opened with a tournament championship in Trinidad and then finished with a quality 47-40 win over La Veta. They topped much larger schools Trinidad, Raton NM and La Junta to capture the tournament title and then built a 31-21 halftime edge over La Veta. Wiley is coming off a solid 35-24 win over McClave to grab third place at the Lamar Holiday Tournament. They’re 4-2 overall. Senior Maria Vasquez has played extensive minutes since her freshman season and is a great leader for the Panthers. Inside scoring and rebounding comes from Mariana Morales.
Cheraw at La Veta (Saturday)
La Veta’s loss to Kim/Branson snapped a four-game winning streak for the Redskins. They will be tested in their first game back from the break as Cheraw begins January at 5-3. The Wolverines played a strong December schedule and won three of their final four games. Losses are against South Baca, Elbert and Sangre De Cristo. Cheraw is led in scoring by Heaven-Lee Marquez (12.0) with Josi Groves (7.8) and Ally Bartholomew (7.5) both pushing eight points per game. Kaylee Corsentino, with 22 points and 12 rebounds a game, paces La Veta in both categories. She gets help offensively from the trio of Mary Goins, Billie Jo Rinker and Emalee Ortibez at five points per contest.
Genoa Hugo at Limon (Friday)
Genoa Hugo (6-0) is ranked 4th in Class 1A RPI and with games against Limon and Peyton to begin January that ranking should go up as their strength of schedule will get a good boost. They’re off to the hot start despite having just one senior on the roster. Ryely Smart, with 13 points and 13 rebounds per game, averages a double-double and Brylee Miller chips in 11 points per game. Limon (5-1) has won three straight since a 13-point loss to 1A power Kit Carson and included in the run is a 54-46 win over Rocky Ford. Sidney Hines (11) and Toni Lopez (10) paced the Badgers in scoring in that win and Anna Weisensee pulled down a team-best eight rebounds.
Peyton at Genoa Hugo (Saturday)
The Panthers lost to Highland (47-36) in their season opener and the game with Genoa Hugo will be their most difficult test since. They finished December by beating Elbert (38-28) for their fourth straight win. Kayleigh Mannering leads Peyton with 13.8 points per game and picked up 18 in the win over Elbert. Her season high is 22 against Cripple Creek. Shelby Miller (9.8) netted 20 against Cripple Creek and provided nine against Elbert.
Rye at Holly (Friday)
Highly ranked Swink remains favored to land another Santa Fe conference championship but these two teams could battle with Rocky Ford for spots two through four. Behind the scoring and rebounding of twin freshman sisters Sophie and Sydney Anderson, Rye is off to an unexpected 7-0 start. Sophie averages 10.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game with Sydney very close at 10.3 points and 4.1 rebounds. Another key contributor for the Thunderbolts is senior Madison Gookin with 6.9 points and 7.3 rebounds each night. Holly lost to Swink (59-26) in their final game before the break so they need a win to get pointed back in the right direction. They do have a quality league win over Rocky Ford.
North Park at Meeker (Saturday)
It’s a long 12-game conference schedule inside the 1A/2A Western Slope league and this game should greatly impact the top four spots. Both are legitimate conference title contenders. North Park (4-1) lost a one-point game to Genoa Hugo in their season opener but has picked up four straight wins since. They closed December with tough victories against West Grand (47-39) and Encampment WY (47-44). Meeker (5-1) has also won their last four with three of those coming against larger schools; Coal Ridge, Grand Valley and Rifle. Victoria Lasker (13.8), Megan Shelton (11.7) and Julia Dinwiddie (11.7) all average double figures and combine for nearly 22 rebounds. Gracie Bradfield (9.8) is also very close to double figures on offense.