Preps ready for season-ending hoop games
It’s going to be a wild weekend for area prep basketball teams as they wind up the regular season starting Friday.
A number of key games with playoff implications dot the boys and girls varsity schedules.
In Class 4A, the Rifle boys (8-2 in league, 12-5 overall) can clinch first place in the Western Slope League with a win over Delta (6-4, 8-9).
The Bears have a one-game lead over second place Battle Mountain after beating the Huskies 62-48 in Rifle last week.
On the other side of the coin, the Glenwood Springs boys’ playoff fate will be determined at a pigtail game early next week prior to the District Tournament at Mesa State College in Grand Junction.
The Demons (0-10, 1-16) conclude the WSL season with back-to-back games at Delta on Friday and at home Saturday against Palisade.
Meanwhile, the Rifle and Glenwood girls are in a battle for second place in the 4A WSL.
The Bears (7-3, 9-8) are a game up on the Demons (6-4, 10-7), but that could change quickly, considering both teams have league games on Friday and Saturday.
Glenwood hosts Delta on Friday, then Palisade on Saturday. Rifle has to travel to Palisade first, then concludes the season at home with Delta on Saturday.
The playoff picture for area teams in the 3A Western Slope League will become clear after this weekend.
On the boys side, Roaring Fork (5-4, 8-9) is currently tied for fifth place with Gunnison heading into Friday’s league finale with Paonia in Carbondale.
A combination of a Ram win and a Gunnison loss to Aspen would protect Roaring Fork from having to play a pigtail game to enter the 3A District Tournament.
If the Rams lose, they will host a pigtail game on Feb. 26 in Carbondale.
Basalt’s boys concluded league play last week with a 40-37 win over Eagle Valley. The Longhorns are in seventh place and cannot move up in the league standings.
They will play a pigtail game at home on Feb. 26 against No. 10 Paonia.
On the girls side, Basalt and Roaring Fork have secured their slots in the District Tournament.
The Longhorns earned the regular season championship and No. 1 seed at districts by going 10-0 in league play.
Roaring Fork and Rangely are tied for third place with identical 7-2 league records, but the schedule favors the Rams in the race for third.
Roaring Fork hosts fifth-place Paonia (6-3) on Friday while the Panthers draw a tougher opponent in second-place Cedaredge (8-1).
The Roaring Fork and Basalt girls open play in the double-elimination tournament at Rifle High School on Feb. 28.
The format of the 3A District Tournament is different from past years.
Six teams will advance from districts to a 32-team state bracket, just like the structure used in Class 4A last year.
The District Tournaments for 3A will be played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28-March 2, with a bracket that will yield places 1-6.
The girls will play in Rifle on Thursday and Friday and the boys will play at Palisade Thursday and Friday.
The boys and girls championship and third-place games all will be played in Palisade on Saturday, March 2.
The fifth- and sixth-place games will feature the girls in Rifle and the boys in Palisade.
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This game. This rivalry. This season. It hasn’t meant this much in a long time.