Area teams begin playoff run
The road to reaching the finals of the state basketball tournament is not easy. But the first step for four of the seven area prep teams who advanced to this year’s big show will be on home turf.
Action in Colorado high schools’ version of March Madness gets under way Tuesday with two Class 4A first-round games involving Rifle’s boys and girls teams.
A second-place finish at last weekend’s District 6 tournament earned the 18-4 Rifle girls, the No. 3 seed in their eight-team quadrant, a home game Tuesday against No. 6 Arvada Ralston Valley (14-9) from the Jeffco League.
The winner plays either Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain (21-2) or Pueblo Centennial (14-7) on Friday, March 5.
In the boys 4A tournament, the 9-12 Bears received the No. 8 seed and have to travel to No. 1 Colorado Springs Harrison (9-12) on Thursday. The winner takes on either Cheyenne Mountain (17-5) or Pueblo South (15-7) in the second round on Thursday, March 4.
Three of the four area Class 3A state tournament qualifying teams host first and second round games this weekend.
Undefeated Roaring Fork (22-0) are the No. 2 seed in the 32-team boys tournament. Playoff action for the Ram boys begins Friday against No. 31-seeded Salida (9-14) in Carbondale.
The winner of that first-round match takes on the survivor of the Denver Christian (15-8) vs. Eagle Valley (17-5) game on Saturday.
The format’s the same for the girls tournament.
Friday’s first-round games in Carbondale pit No. 5 Roaring Fork (20-2) against No. 28 Manitou Springs (14-8) in one contest and No. 12 Denver Bishop Machebeuf (18-3) from the Metropolitan League battling No. 21 Roosevelt of the Patriot League in another game.
The two winners play each other Saturday.
Further upvalley, the No. 8 seeded Basalt Longhorns (18-4) have a first-round game Friday with No. 25 La Junta (11-12) at the “Big House.” The winner of that matchup plays either No. 9 Eaton (18-5) or Trinidad (11-11) on Saturday.
For the second straight year, Basalt (7-15) is the No. 32 seed in the 3A boys tournament. That means the Longhorns will take a day-long bus trip to Pagosa Springs for Friday’s first-round game with the No. 1 seeded 20-0 Pirates.
The times for all Class 4A and 3A playoff games have yet to be determined by the host schools.
The schedule for the Grand Valley girls is set.
The Class 2A, District 5 runner-up Cardinals face Dolores County from the San Juan League in a West Regional game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Grand Junction High School.
Winners from both the Grand Valley-Dolores County and the North Park-Nucla games move to the 2A state tournament in Pueblo the following weekend.
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Playing on the road at Cedaredge Tuesday, the Coal Ridge High School volleyball team scored a tough win in five sets, 3-2, over the Bruins.