2010-11 boys prep basketball preview capsules | PostIndependent.com

2010-11 boys prep basketball preview capsules

Jeff CaspersenPost IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post IndependentMike McGraw and the Glenwood Springs boys basketball team will try to defend last season's 4A Western Slope League crown in 2010-11.

With high school winter sports springing into action throughout the area, the Post Independent will be taking the next few days to preview what’s ahead. Here’s a school-by-school look at what to expect on the boys basketball front:

Head coach: Cory Hitchcock, first season.How the Demons fared in 2009-10: Glenwood Springs won its second straight 4A Western Slope League title with a 14-0 record and went 19-6 overall. After a first-round bye in the playoffs, the Demons took down Arvada, 72-63, in the second round before a 54-38 loss to Thomas Jefferson in the Sweet 16 brought their season to an end.Key players: Senior Kevin Flohr, senior Nick Ciani, senior Willy Pelland, junior Mike McGraw.Up-and-coming players: Senior Osvaldo Madrid, junior Kellin Casey, sophomore Collin Porterfield, junior Cody Derby.Key losses: Russell Collins, Danny Weller.Prognosis for 2010-11: The Demons return a solid core of players, including Flohr, the reigning 4A WSL Player of the Year. There’s no reason to think Glenwood won’t be competitive this season. Senior bigs Pelland and Ciani will complement Flohr’s sharp-shooting skills and junior Mike McGraw showed plenty of promise as a sophomore last season.If all goes well, what’s the best the team can accomplish? “If all goes well, we should have a good chance to compete for the league title and make it to the state playoffs,” Hitchcock said.

Head coach: Paul Harvey, third season.How the Titans fared in 2009-10: After a lackluster regular season, Coal Ridge caught fire in the postseason. The Titans finished fifth in the 3A WSL district tournament, qualifying for the state playoffs in the process. They came up short in a 57-51 loss to Pagosa Springs in the first round, ending their campaign with a 7-17 record.Key players: Senior Nathan Terrin, junior Darik Brown, junior Tyler Guettler, senior Rafael Fabela.Up-and-coming players: “We have a strong freshman class for our JV levels, but none for the varsity,” coach Paul Harvey said.Key losses: Andy Smedra.Prognosis for 2010-11: The Titans came alive in a big way at the end of last season. If they can build off their district tournament charge with a strong start to 2010-11, Coal Ridge could very well be in the mix for a high finish in a 3A WSL in which parity always reigns.If all goes well, what’s the best the team can accomplish? “There is no goal that is unrealistic with this group if all goes well,” Harvey said.

Head coach: Jake Higuera, second season.How the Cardinals fared in 2009-10: Grand Valley finished up with a 12-11 overall record. The Cardinals qualified for the state playoffs, losing to Manitou Springs, 74-53, in the first round.Key players: Senior Dylan Walters, senior Matt Donello, senior Bubby Beecraft.Up-and-coming players: Sophomore Trent Reidle.Key losses: Tyler Radel, Ian Holloway.Prognosis for 2010-11: The Cardinals will no doubt brandish the blue-collar flair that’s been so successful for them in recent years. With a deep roster, Higuera expects contributions from every corner of the roster, but is leaning on his senior captains – Walters, Donello and Beecraft – to lead the charge. There’s no reason to think Grand Valley won’t be around come playoff time.If all goes well, what’s the best the team can accomplish? “We really believe that we can go pretty far this year,” Higuera said. “This league is a tough league for us. We kind of have a chip on our shoulder of being the smaller guys playing up. We know it’s going to be a battle. We think, if we do the right things and give a tremendous effort, we should be in a lot of games.”

Head coach: Chris Lowther, ninth season.How the Bears fared in 2009-10: Rifle finished in the middle of the 4A WSL pack, posting a 9-13 overall record. The Bears will be playing in the 3A WSL this season.Key players: Senior Rian Creech, senior Taylor Boone, senior David Sours, senior Fernando Carreon, senior Jacob Withee, junior Parker Peterson, junior Von Church.Up-and-coming players: Junior Austin Booth (moved from Texas).Key losses: Tyler Rust, Tyrel Lenard, Ryan Davis, Dustin Ross.Prognosis for 2010-11: The Bears have some workhorses down low in Creech and Boone. Both are right around 6-foot-2. Lowther likes his team’s quickness. How Rifle adjusts to the always-tough 3A WSL will dictate how far they go.If all goes well, what’s the best the team can accomplish? “We’re pretty athletic,” Lowther said. “I’m pleased with how quick we are and the effort we’ve put in so far. I think our biggest strength is our speed and ability to be good defensively. That’s kind of what we’re leaning toward, using our quickness and being fast on the defensive side.”

Head coach: Larry Williams, third season. How the Rams fared in 2009-10: Roaring Fork finished in the middle of the 3A WSL pack, piecing together a 7-14 campaign. The Rams’ season came to an end at the league’s district tournament.Key players: Senior Jake Strack-Loertscher, senior Dalton Handy, junior Clay Gross.Up-and-coming players: Junior Jose Vega, junior Sam Carpenter, junior Trenton Reeds, sophomore Dakotah Grett, sophomore Trae Moxley.Key losses: Jake Hawkins.Prognosis for 2010-11: Roaring Fork has some bangers in the paint, namely the 6-2 Strack-Loertscher, who’s got double-double potential every time he steps on the court. Moxley is also blessed with size at 6-4. Handy, the Rams’ point guard, will have an impact on a team that could surprise some people in a league that’s always full of, well, surprises.If all goes well, what’s the best the team can accomplish? “We hope to compete for a league title,” Williams said.

New-look 3A Western Slope League: With Rifle dropping down into the Class 3A ranks, the boys and girls 3A Western Slope Leagues will have a new look to them in 2010-11.In order to free up schedules for more non-league contests, there will be two divisions: North and South.Comprising the North will be Aspen, Basalt, Roaring Fork, Coal Ridge and Rifle.The South will be made up of Grand Valley, Cedaredge, Hotchkiss, Olathe and Gunnison.

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