Six local teams heading to 3A hoops playoffs
Following the conclusion of the 3A Western Slope League district tournament this past weekend, six local basketball teams will head into the 3A state playoffs as seedings were announced Sunday afternoon.
After knocking off the Coal Ridge Titans to win the tournament, the Grand Valley boys basketball team will host a first-round matchup with the Frontier Academy Wolverines on Friday at Grand Valley High School with tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m.
The Cardinals enter the state playoffs as a No. 7 seed with an 18-3 record overall.
Along with the Cardinals’ boys team, the Grand Valley girls earned a birth in the state playoffs as a No. 16 seed. They’ll open up the playoffs with a matchup against No. 17 seed Colorado Springs Christian Lions (16-6.)
Grand Valley compiled a 17-5 record on the year.
Outside of Grand Valley, Coal Ridge will send both the boys and girls basketball teams to the state playoffs.
The Titans’ boys team earned a No. 14 seed in the playoffs thanks to a 15-7 record on the year. They’ll open the playoffs at Manitou Springs against the No. 19 seed Buena Vista Demons (13-10.)
The Titans’ girls (9-13) team earned a No. 28 seed in the playoffs. They’ll take on the Lutheran Lions (18-4) on Friday at Lutheran High School.
Following a third-place finish at the 3A district tournament, the Basalt Longhorns boys basketball team also earned a playoff berth as the No. 17 seed. The Longhorns (17-5) will face off with the No. 16 seed Pagosa Springs Pirates (13-8) Friday at Denver Science & Tech Stapleton High School.
Joining the Longhorns will be the Roaring Fork Rams boys, who earned the final spot in the 3A playoff bracket as the No. 32 seed following their fourth-place finish at the 3A district tournament.
The Rams (9-13) will take on the Denver Science & Tech Stapleton Knights (21-1) Friday at 5:30 p.m.
Outside of 3A, the tremendous ride for the Rifle boys and girls basketball programs in 2015-16 came to a crashing halt last Friday at the hands of the Evergreen Cougars in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs.
For the girls, despite sophomore guard Elly Walters’ 21 points, the Bears fell prey to the Cougars, 41-36.
Walters’ 21 points was a game-high for both teams, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the balanced Cougars attack.
Along with Walters, junior forward Samantha Hinkle chipped in with eight points, but the Bears left plenty of points on the court, namely at the free throw line, according to head coach Kristy Wallner.
“I love my team and we played extremely hard and executed our game plan,” Wallner said. “We just came up short. We went 6-for-13 from the free throw line and missed three layups in the fourth quarter, but I’m just extremely proud of my kids.”
With the loss, the Bears ended the season with a 17-7 overall record.
On the boys side of things, the Bears knew they were going up against a tough Evergreen team that featured a Princeton-style offense that would be tough to defend. Unfortunately for Rifle, they just couldn’t make enough stops to slow down the Cougars, falling in the first round, 65-50.
After one half of play the Bears trailed the Cougars 33-20 as Rifle scored just five first-quarter points. In the second half the Bears stayed even with the Cougars, but they weren’t able to overcome the first-half deficit to knock off the No. 4 seed Cougars.
In the loss, junior forward Jacob Boone led the way with 17 points, while senior forward Max Doose added nine points off the bench. Senior guard Luis Carreon added eight points for Rifle.
Rifle closed out the year with a 19-5 overall record.
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