Cory Hitchcock is pretty happy about the second chance his Glenwood Springs High School boys basketball team has, especially after the kind of performance the Demons put together in the Class 4A Western Slope District Tournament this past weekend in Grand Junction.
“We thought our season was over,” the Demons coach said in reference to their two losses in the tournament. “I’m glad that we’ve been given a lifeline.”
Glenwood’s season still has a proverbial pulse thanks to the Colorado High School Activities Association, which included the Demons in the 48-team state tournament bracket that was released on Sunday. Glenwood was under the impression its season had ended since it was unable to clinch one of the tournament’s six automatic berths, but the Demons (15-7 overall) were given one of the tournament’s nine at-large berths by the CHSAA selection committee.
With that, both the boys and girls hoops squads from Glenwood Springs and Rifle high schools will be in their respective tournament brackets. The Glenwood boys feel it was their body of work over the course of the season that swayed the selection committee in Denver.
“We beat Steamboat Springs twice, we split with Palisade, and we beat Aspen and Faith Christian, teams that are always one of the top 3A teams, too,” Hitchcock said. “The great thing about this is that we don’t have any big weights on our shoulders and really nothing to prove because of the way this came down, so our boys can just go out there and play and have fun.”
The Demons, who will be the No. 11 seed in the 12-team Richard Tate Region, open at No. 6 Green Mountain (13-9) on Wednesday. The winner will move into the second round against third-seeded Vista Peak (18-5) on Friday.
The top four seeds in each boys and girls tournament region are given a first-round bye.
The Rifle boys (17-4), who this season won the school’s first Class 4A Western Slope League championship in 11 years, were given a No. 5 seed in the Guy Gibbs Region, partially thanks to its loss to Durango in this past Saturday’s district tournament title game. The Bears will host 12th-seeded Kennedy (3-20) on Wednesday, with the winner moving on to the second round to play at fourth-seeded Mead (15-8) on Friday.
Durango, meanwhile, was given the No. 4 seed in the Richard Tate Region.
In the girls 4A state tournament, Glenwood Springs (22-1), winners of the 4A WSL title and this past weekend’s district tournament, earned a No. 2 seed in the Tracy Hill Region and a first-round bye in the state tournament. That means the Demons won’t play until Friday, when they’ll host either Golden (12-11) or Kennedy (12-11) in the second round.
The Demons, based on their seeding in the bracket, would be guaranteed a home game in the state tournament for both the second and third rounds. The tournament’s Great 8 round is scheduled for March 8 at the Denver Coliseum.
The Rifle girls (10-11 overall) appear to have narrowly missed a chance to host a first-round game in the 4A state tournament. The Bears were given the No. 9 seed in that same Tracy Hill Region. They’ll go to Colorado Springs to play a first-round game at Sierra (15-8) on Tuesday, with the winner moving on to play in the second round at top-seeded, and top-ranked, Broomfield (23-0) on Friday.
Game times for the tournament will be determined by the participating schools and will all likely be determined today.
Class 3A Western Slope League District Tournament
The Aspen boys and Grand Valley girls, each of whom won their respective league championships, will each be the top seeds in the Class 3A Western Slope League District tournament.
Thanks to that, the Cardinals (15-4) on Tuesday will play the winner of today’s play-in game between Aspen (1-18) and Basalt (1-17). That winner will clinch one of the district’s five automatic berths in the 3A state tournament and move into Friday’s tournament semifinals at Palisade High School.
Other girls tournament games Tuesday will include Roaring Fork (4-15) at Olathe (15-4), and Coal Ridge (12-7) at Moffat County (13-6).
In the boys tournament, Coal Ridge (10-9) will host Roaring Fork (9-10) at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Meanwhile, third-seeded Grand Valley (12-7) will host No. 6 Gunnison (6-13), also on Tuesday.
The top-seeded Aspen boys (16-3) on Tuesday will host the winner of today’s play-in game between Basalt (3-16) and Olathe (1-18).