Sometimes life is about making the most of second chances.

On Feb. 16, The Vanguard School had a chance to make a statement against the top team in the Class 3A ranks. Instead, Colorado Springs Christian closed out the Coursers – and the regular season – with a 56-45 victory to run the table on the Tri-Peaks League.

Eight days later, The Vanguard School made certain history didn’t repeat itself. Facing the top-seeded Lions in the semifinals of the district tournament, the Coursers rallied to force overtime, eventually securing a 43-41 OT victory.

One day later, The Vanguard (17-5) down Ellicott 63-49 to capture the district championship and earn the No. 5 overall seed in the 3A state tournament that gets underway Friday.

It isn’t just the Coursers though who are riding a hot streak. A 55-49 loss to Merino back on Feb. 4 had Sedgwick County sitting just 10-5 overall. But the Cougars reeled off seven consecutive victories against ranked opponents, including wins over No. 1 Merino and No. 2 Wiggins in the District 2 tournament.

Sedgwick County (17-5) is the No. 2 seed in the 2A state tournament.

The first two rounds of regional play run Friday and Saturday for Class 3A, 2A and 1A. The winners of each regional advance to the Great 8 next Thursday.

Here is a quick look at this weekend’s first two rounds in each of the three classifications:

Class 3A

Colorado Springs Christian’s loss in the Tri-Peaks district semis dropped the Lions (20-2) to the No. 3 seed in the tournament. Undefeated Peyton (21-0) is the No. 1 seed, with Centauri (19-2) the No. 2 seed. Yuma, which won the Metro/Confluence/LP district title, is the fourth seed.

Peyton, which closed out the regular season with a victory over Yuma, easily rolled through its two games in the Black Forest/Santa Fe district. AJ Mannering scored 22 points in the Panthers’ 53-34 victory over Fountain Valley in the title game.

Centauri downed Ignacio 46-30 in the Intermountain title game. The Falcons have won 16 in a row since a two-point loss to The Vanguard School in December.

Yuma will have Western Slope League champion Grand Valley (16-6) in its regional. The Cardinals fell to North Fork in the district title game, the team’s second loss to the Miners in a span of 15 days.

Defending 3A champion Platte Valley is the No. 6 seed after winning the Patriot tournament. The Broncos (15-7) have won 13 of their last 14 games. St. Mary’s, which finished second in the Tri-Peaks in the regular season, is the seventh seed.

North Fork and Ellicott are the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds, respectively.

Class 2A

With defending champion Holyoke not in the field of 32, a new champion will be crowned next weekend.
The Lower Platte League is well-represented in the field. Merino and Sedgwick County are the top two seeds. Wiggins dropped to the No. 9 seed, and will play in a regional hosted by No. 8 Fowler, which won the District 6 tournament. The Grizzlies have won eight of their last nine, and avenged a loss earlier this season to Hoehne by defeating the Farmers 45-42 in the district championship. Fowler opens with No. 25 Haxtun, another Lower Platte squad, Friday.

No. 15 Wray finds itself in a regional hosted by league foe Sedgwick County. Akron, the No. 10 seed, will need to get past Evangelical Christian and then potentially No. 7 Rangely, which won District 5. The Panthers have 10 consecutive games.

Burlington overcame top-seeded Simla in District 8 to win the tournament and lock up the No. 3 seed. The Cougars (17-4) haven’t lost since falling to Limon on Feb. 4, and the team avenged that with a semifinal victory over the Badgers in the district tournament.

Limon is the 13th seed in a regional hosted by No. 4 Dayspring Christian. The Eagles (17-4) won District 4. Simla is the No. 11 seed in Del Norte’s region. The Tigers (17-5) edged Sanford for the second time in eight days to win District 1.

Gilpin County, the District 7 champion, is the No. 5 seed. The Eagles (17-4) could draw a 16-win Heritage Christian team in the second round. Gilpin County edged Heritage Christian 35-33 back on Feb. 2.

Class 1A

The top three seeds in the 1A state tournament – McClave, Flatirons Academy and Briggsdale – just happen to have represented the classification in the Final 4 a year ago. Flatirons Academy knocked off Briggsdale to win the championship.

At 21-0, McClave is the only unbeaten team in the tournament. The Cardinals topped Kit Carson 57-48 in the District 2 title game behind 19 points from freshman Abrielle Gomez.

Flatirons Academy allowed a combined 14 points in two games to win District 8. The Bison (20-1) lost only to 4A Resurrection Christian during the regular season – by two points, no less – and own a victory over Briggsdale as well as 2A’s top-seeded Merino.

Briggsdale (19-2) claimed District 4 with an overtime victory over Fleming. The team’s only other loss was a one-point defeat to 2A Sedgwick County.

Dove Creek, the District 1 champion, is the fourth seed. District 5 champion Stratton is the fifth seed, and in an interesting twist, could be matched up in the second round with an Idalia team the Eagles have defeated twice – including last Saturday’s district title game.

District 7 champion Kiowa earned the No. 6 seed, with No. 11 Fleming in the same regional. Springfield won District 3 and is the No. 7 seed, with a strong Kit Carson squad potentially looming in the second round. The Wildcats defeated Springfield twice during the regular season.

Sangre de Cristo (19-2) won District 6 and received the No. 8 seed, but has No. 9 Granada (18-3) standing in its way. The Bobcats lost twice to McClave this season and then to Kit Carson in the district semifinals.