Glenwood boys, Rifle girls earn first round byes; Glenwood girls host first round game
After capping off the 4A Western Slope League regular season in style Thursday night against the Rifle Bears, the Glenwood Springs Demons boys and girls basketball teams will host playoff games this week inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.
Finishing off the 4A WSL season undefeated as league champions, the Demon boys finished 11th in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s RPI rankings, helping them earn a No. 11 seed in the 4A playoff bracket and a first-round bye, which happens to be the highest seed the Demons have earned under veteran head coach Cory Hitchcock.
“We’re in a great spot,” Hitchcock said following the bracket release Sunday morning. “I really like our matchup and our region. I’m very happy with the seeding; the boys have had a great year. We put ourselves in this position by playing a tough nonconference schedule against some of the best teams in the state, and we have some good wins on the schedule. That helped us out a lot. I’m very pleased with where we’re at, and I’m very pleased that a Western Slope team gets to host a second-round matchup. Montrose got the 16 seed and gets to do the same thing as us, so it’s always good when you can get a Front Range team to travel over to you.”
The Demons await the winner of No. 22 Mesa Ridge Grizzlies (16-7, 13-3 4A Colorado Springs Metro League) against No. 43 Green Mountain Rams (9-14, 5-9 4A Jeffco League) on Wednesday night. Fortunately for the Demons, Hitchcock is very familiar with both teams, considering the Demons played against the Rams last summer.
“Mesa Ridge is very athletic and played in a really good [Colorado] Springs league with teams like Cañon City and Widefield,” Hitchcock said. “We’ve played against Green Mountain a lot during the summer time, so I’m familiar with their program and know their coach very well. Green Mountain has a really good shooter [senior Alex Telles], really good guards and match up well with us.”
Glenwood will host the winner of Wednesday night’s Grizzlies-Rams matchup on Saturday at Glenwood Springs High School, with tip-off tentatively scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Feb. 24.
Along with the Glenwood boys, the Demon girls will host a first-round 4A state playoff game for the second year in a row. Riding high after knocking off the 4A Western Slope League champion Rifle Bears in the final league game of the season, the Demons jumped from No. 34 in the RPI rankings, which would have put them on the road for the first round, all the way up to No. 29, giving them a chance to host a state playoff game for the second year in a row.
Coming off of a 15-8 (10-2 4A WSL) season under head coach Rhonda Moser, the Demons will host the No. 26 Mountain View Mountain Lions (13-10, 9-5 4A Northern League) Tuesday night at 6 p.m. inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium.
Despite improving by four wins from last season, the Demons actually fall one spot in the playoff seeding this year, but that isn’t something that’s concerning to Glenwood.
“We’re super excited,” Moser said Sunday morning following the bracket release. “I told the girls this [Sunday] morning, you had to earn that home bid this year. It wasn’t as if we rode into the season knowing we’d play at home. The win against Rifle [last Thursday, 42-34] was the difference this year.”
In the matchup against the Mountain Lions, the Demons will have to deal with a physical team, Moser said. Fortunately for Glenwood, a hounding defense and some serious athleticism for the Demons will play a key role in the matchup. After losing to Erie last season in the first round on their home floor, the Demon girls look to make a deeper run this season. Should Glenwood win Tuesday night, they’ll travel to No. 4 Windsor to take on the Wizards (19-4, 13-1 4A Tri-Valley) for a second-round matchup.
For the second straight year, the terrific Rifle Bears’ girls basketball team received a first-round bye, slotting in at No. 14 in the 4A CHSAA state playoff bracket. Last season, Rifle came in at No. 13 last season and made a Great Eight run in the state playoffs. This season, as the 14-seed, Rifle (21-2, 11-1 4A WLS) awaits the winner of Tuesday’s first-round game between No. 19 Discovery Canyon Thunder (14-8, 8-6 5A/4A Pikes Peak League) and No. 46 Roosevelt Roughriders (7-16, 1-13 4A Tri-Valley League).