We continue our final week series on most important games in boys’ basketball by looking at the Tuesday night schedule. Each classification has at least one game that will help solve the top two placements in their respective conference.
1A: Idalia at Arickaree/Woodlin
It’s the final conference game of the season for both clubs and Arickaree/Woodlin needs a win to clinch the YWKC crown. They lead both Idalia and Otis by one game and since they’ve already beaten Otis, a win this evening wraps up the championship. An Idalia win sets up a three-way tie for the top spot as Otis has finished their league slate.
The Indian/Mustangs have won six of their last seven including a 71-67 overtime non-conference win at Idalia earlier this season. Arickaree/Woodlin led a 13-point halftime lead slip away in that one only to recover in overtime for the win. Arturo Ramos, with 21 points, led four players in double figures. Kevin Ramirez added 17, Mike McCaffrey 13 and Andy Miller 12. Idalia collected 25 from Dax Towns and 18 from Bru Carreras.
Arickaree/Woodlin can also use a win as they’re battling Haxtun for the top overall district seed. RPI standings will be used to seed the bracket which combines teams from three leagues. The Indian Mustangs are 10th with Haxtun in 14th and Otis is 15th. Idalia is only 38th.
2A: Hoehne at John Mall
The outcome will go a long way in helping determine spots two through four in the Santa Fe Western division. Fowler (11-1) has clinched the top spot with John Mall (7-5) currently alone in second. Hoehne and Swallows Charter sit a game back at 6-6. Swallows Charter plays Fowler tonight and with a loss the Spartans fall out of contention for second place.
If that happens, John Mall then secures second by beating Hoehne for a second time. They won a tight first game 51-49. If Hoehne avenges the loss, the Farmers and Panthers both end up at 7-6 and with a season split. RPI then comes into play and John Mall has the big advantage there as they’re 17th compared to 30th for Hoehne. The Panthers are also in good shape for RPI in a three-way tie as Swallows Charter is 28th in today’s standings.
In game one, John Mall trailed 32-24 at halftime but used a 17-7 run in the third quarter to take the lead. Jaziah Sandoval and Armando Ruiz both netted 14 points to lead the way. Ruiz finished with three treys and Sandoval pulled down 15 rebounds. Hoehne was led by Nicholas Navarette with 20 and Cameron Thornton with 16. Trystan Molter was limited to four points but grabbed seven rebounds.
2A: Mancos at Ignacio
This is game one of a very big week for Mancos as they look to secure the top district seed with a win tonight and then the overall San Juan championship against Ouray later in the week. The Bluejays (7-1) have a one game lead in both races as Ignacio and Ouray are both 7-2.
Concerning districts, Mancos and Ignacio have both clinched a top two seed because all other 2A clubs have at least five league losses. Mancos also downed Ignacio 59-48 in their first meeting but needs a road win tonight to finish off a season sweep.
Show Showalter finished with a game 17 points including three three-pointers in the win. Caden Showalter added 14 points and 8 rebounds while Vassar Stephens chipped in 11 points and Hunter Hoover 11 rebounds.
Ignacio has not posted stats from the first game but the Bobcats are using a very young lineup in hopes of landing another conference crown. They normally start three sophomores, a freshman and junior but sit one game back in the league standings entering the final week.
3A: Kent Denver at Faith Christian (Lutheran at Manual – Wednesday)
It’s a good schedule to close up the 3A Metro chase this week and game one is between long-time rivals Kent Denver and Faith Christian tonight. Lutheran goes to Manual tomorrow night as the top four clubs in the standings collide head-to-head. Entering play tonight, Manual is alone in first but still needs the win on Wednesday to secure the outright title. Faith Christian and Lutheran share second with one loss apiece and Kent Denver is fourth at 6-2.
Looking at tonight, Faith Christian secures at least a top-two finish with a win but could fall to fourth with a loss. Kent Denver jumps to third with a win and could bump to earn a piece of second place if Manual beats Lutheran on Wednesday. Those two results leave Kent Denver, Lutheran and Faith Christian with two losses each.
Faith Christian has won their last four and is 9-1 since Christmas. The lone blemish is the seven-point loss to Manual on January 23rd. Juniors Caleb Ruter (16.9) and Isaiah Kroll (14.9) continue to lead the Eagles in scoring and together average over 15 rebounds a game. Graham Kroll is third in scoring at 9.6 points per game.
Kent Denver has lost several players to injuries throughout the season including Coby Gold (21.7) and Pace Billings (8.0) who have played in just seven games each. Stepping up has been sophomore Logan Schayes who has scored 9.1 points with 5.0 rebounds per game over the last seven. The main constant throughout the season has been James Doyle. The senior has scored at least 20 points in 10 of 17 games this year and averages a team-best 22 for the year.
3A: Roaring Fork at Coal Ridge
The Rams (6-1) need a win on the road to keep pace with Gunnison (7-1) for second place in the Western Slope chase. And since Gunnison also has a date with Delta on Thursday, a win keeps the Rams in contention for at least a share of the top spot. Roaring Fork also meets fourth place Grand Valley (6-2) on Thursday so they could end up anywhere from second to fifth in the standings.
Coal Ridge, the pre-season league favorite, is 4-3 and currently fifth. Despite the league struggles, the Titans are still 9th in RPI standings and actually two spots ahead of league leading Delta (11th).
4A: Pueblo East at Pueblo Central
Pueblo West has clinched the league championship but this one should decide which club finishes second. They’re both 5-3 and tied for second. Pueblo East has the tiebreaker as they topped Central 53-39 in their first meeting last month. Win or lose tonight, both teams are securely in the 4A bracket with East sitting 14th in RPI and Central 17th.
A strong second half pushed East to the win in the first matchup as they outscored Central 37-21 over the final two quarters. Underclassmen led the way as sophomore Kyle Miller topped the Eagles with 14 points and junior Darnell Kindred added 11. Sophomore Jaxson Herring also netted 10. Nico Martin led Central 19 points but his teammates combined for just 20.
5A: Boulder at Greeley West
Both teams suffered crucial losses last week so now the outcome from tonight will impact second place more than the Front Range championship. Both West and Boulder are now 8-2 in league play but two games back of first place Fairview (10-0). Boulder has a game remaining with the first-place Knights later in the week but that game is meaningless to the title picture unless the Panthers win tonight and Fairview is upset by Fossil Ridge.
Despite last week’s stumble to Horizon, Boulder’s quick turnaround has been remarkable. The Panthers opened the season 1-9 but a win this evening gets them five hundred (11-11) and likely a top two league finish. The start though greatly damaged their RPI as they sit 35th as of today. Greeley West (18th) could use a win to move closer to earning a first round bye in the 48-team bracket.
Tri Peaks Race (3A)
Vanguard has clinched the championship but three teams remain in the chase for the runner-up spot. Colorado Springs Christian, St Mary’s and Lamar open the night at 9-2 and sharing second and all three conclude their schedules tonight. Colorado Springs Christian goes to Florence and St Mary’s is at James Irwin. Lamar has a tough test on the road against arch-rival La Junta.
If all three teams win, then RPI may be used to break the tie for district seeding purposes. Colorado Springs Christian has the advantage there as the Lions are 10th compared to 15th for Lamar and 19th for St Mary’s.