Class 3A prep basketball tourney begins today
All or nothing.
Win or go home.
Do or die.
Feel free to use all of the sense-of-urgency cliches you’d like to when it comes to today’s first round of the Class 3A Western Slope League boys and girls basketball tournaments, which begin today at various sites around the state.
That’s because this year, the first round of the tournament is a do-or-die, win-or-go-home game for all of the teams involved. That’s because of the changes that have been made in the league this year that dropped the number of state basketball tournament qualifiers from five last year to four this year. That stemmed in part from Cedaredge dropping down a classification to Class 2A this season, dropping the nine-team league down to eight teams.
With that, the eight-team league will send half of its teams to the Class 3A state tournament, which begins next week. That means that the winner of today’s league-tournament games will earn state-tournament berths. Winners will also advance to the tournament’s semifinal round on Friday and Saturday, which will be played at Grand Junction Central High School. Winners will earn higher seeds in the upcoming 32-team state bracket, which will be determined by the Colorado High School Activities Association next Sunday.
League champions and high finishers in the WSL standings get home-court advantage for today’s first-round tournament games.
Among the Garfield County schools that have home games today are Coal Ridge, Grand Valley and Roaring Fork.
Both the Coal Ridge boys and girls basketball teams will host Gunnison tonight, with the girls game beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the boys game following at 7 p.m.
At Grand Valley, the Roaring Fork girls will play in the first game of the night, which begins at 5 p.m. The boys game, which will feature second-place finisher Grand Valley and seventh-place finisher Basalt, will start at 6:30.
And lastly, the Roaring Fork boys, who finished third in the WSL standings behind first-place Moffat County and second-place Grand Valley, will host sixth-place Aspen at 6 p.m. today.
Both of Grand Valley’s basketball teams, along with the boys hoops teams from Coal Ridge and Roaring Fork, are looking to return to the state tournament after appearances last season.
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The Longhorns track and field prowess was most evident with their runners, winning multiple events and showing they are to be a factor for podiums, if not state championships, later this month at the state meet in Lakewood.