Local 3A basketball teams set sights on state tourney
Grand Valley High School’s boys and girls basketball teams shared a bus all season when they played games on the road. They’ll likely get at least one more road trip together this weekend.
Both squads will head down to the Colorado Springs area this weekend for the regional round of the Class 3A state tournament, which begins on Friday. It’s the weekend when the Cardinals — along with the Coal Ridge and Roaring Fork boys — will make a push to advance to the Class 3A State Championships March 13-15.
The Western Slope League champion Grand Valley girls (17-5) earned the No. 10 seed because they finished third in this past weekend’s district tournament. That finish likely knocked them out of the running to host a regional, which is awarded to the top eight seeds in the 32-team tournament.
The Cardinals open Friday against 23rd-seeded Kent Denver (14-8) at 5 p.m. at Manitou Springs High School just west of downtown Colorado Springs. The winner moves on to play either The Pinnacle (13-9) or host Manitou (16-6) for a spot in the tournament’s Great 8.
Ironically, the winner of each regional tournament will head back to the Colorado Springs area the following weekend. The 3A State Championships have moved to Clune Arena on the Air Force Academy campus. The Colorado High School Activities Association decided to move the tournament from its previous site, Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
Grand Valley High’s boys basketball team (14-8) has made a tremendous turnaround from last season, when a poor start to the season forced them to dig out of a proverbial hole from the beginning of the season. There was no such problem this year for the Cardinals, who were in the thick of things practically from the beginning.
The Cardinals earned the tournament’s No. 14 seed and will play No. 19 The Pinnacle (17-5) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Colorado Springs Christian School. The winner will play either third-seeded CSCS (19-3) or Frontier Academy (12-11) at 1 p.m. Saturday for a spot in the state championship tournament.
Grand Valley beat Coal Ridge in the third-place game of this past weekend’s district tournament at Palisade High School.
Coal Ridge (11-11), like Grand Valley, made loads of improvements this year after winning just four games last season. Friday, the Titans have a chance to triple that win total when they play another Colorado Springs school, St. Mary’s (18-4), at 7 p.m. Friday on the campus of Denver School of Science and Technology. The winner gets either host DSST (17-5) or James Irwin (14-8) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Roaring Fork boys (11-11) hosted a regional last season, but players lost to injury and graduation took their toll on the Rams early in the year. Roaring Fork still rebounded to reach the regional, however, and earned the 32-team tournament’s No. 27 seed. They’ll play at fourth-seeded Colorado Academy (20-2) on Friday, with the winner playing either Platte Valley (16-6) or Monte Vista (14-7) on Saturday.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.