State basketball: Area teams prepped for Class 3A tournament
Five teams from Garfield County will play in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament, with begins today at various sites across Colorado. Winners of the eight regional rounds of the state tournament advance to the Great 8, which takes place at Colorado School of Mines in Golden May 12-14.
Here’s a quick look at some of the matchups those teams will have:
The Grand Valley boys (17-5), who have been seeded as high as seventh this season in the Associated Press Class 3A basketball poll, come into the tournament as the No. 10 seed in the 32-team bracket. The Cardinals might have had a chance to nab one of two at-large spots as a regional host for the state tournament had it not been for their losses against Roaring Fork (15-7) and Coal Ridge (11-11).
Still, Grand Valley comes into the tournament as one of the highest scoring teams in the 32-team bracket. The Parker Bros. — Sam and John Parker — are averaging a combined 38.8 points per game. Gunner Rigsby and Tanner Magee each average 11.3 for a team that averages 70.1 points.
The Cardinals open the tournament against No. 23 Manitou Springs (16-7), the fifth-place finisher in the Tri-Peaks League. Game time is 7 p.m. today in Alamosa, with the winner playing the seventh-seeded Mean Moose (16-5) and No. 26 Titans on Saturday.
The Coal Ridge boys, according to coach Paul Harvey, will have to make history if they want to advance. Never, he said, has a team seeded as low as the Titans won a first-round tournament game since the tournament became a 32-team bracket.
But the Titans have been playing well lately, with victories against Gunnison on March 3 and Grand Valley on March 7 in the Western Slope League District Tournament third-place game. Plus, the Titans led district tourney champ Moffat County at halftime before falling 69-53.
Plus upsets like that have happened at Coal Ridge before: the 27th-seeded Coal Ridge girls beat sixth-seeded Eaton, 53-49, in a 2010 first-round game on their way to advancing to the Great 8 in Fort Collins.
The Roaring Fork boys have made a habit of reaching the 3A state tournament. This is the fifth consecutive year and the 11th time in at least the past 13 seasons Roaring Fork has been in the state tournament field.
The 15th-seeded Rams (15-7) will play No. 18 Denver School of Science and Technology (17-4) at 7 p.m. today. The winner takes on second-seeded Colorado Springs Christian (21-1) or Bruce Randolph (12-10) on Saturday, and coach Larry Williams likes his team’s chances.
“We beat a really good team [in Grand Valley] on Friday and we had the league champs [Moffat County] on the ropes,” Williams said. “We’re playing really well right now.”
Grand Valley’s girls (13-9 overall) have been on a downswing as the season has come to a close, falling against Moffat County and Coal Ridge in this past weekend’s league tournament. And playing against ninth-seeded St. Mary’s (20-2) at 5 p.m. today looks daunting on paper.
On the basketball court, however, Grand Valley nearly beat St. Mary’s on Dec. 12, leading for almost the entire game before falling 51-49. Plus, the Cardinals have Kyra Chenoweth, whose 18.4 points-per-game average ranks her fourth in all of Class 3A. Meanwhile, the Pirates are led by Olivia Florek (14.6 points). The winner faces either No. 8 Bennett (17-5) or No. 25 Liberty Common (16-5) on Saturday.
The Coal Ridge girls (11-11), who rallied from an early 11-point deficit to beat Grand Valley, 48-42, in the district tournament third-place game this past Saturday, are the No. 20 seed. The Titans will face 13th-seeded Valley (14-8) of the Patriot League at 6:30 tonight in Manitou Springs, with the winner facing either the fourth-seeded Mustangs (20-2) or No. 29 Jefferson Academy (14-8).
The Titans have gotten contributions from seemingly everyone on their roster as the season has progressed. The most consistent contributor, however, has been 5-foot-10 post player Kaitlyn Detlefsen, who finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds during coal Ridge’s 51-29 win against Gunnison on Feb. 24. Meanwhile, Valley plays in a league that includes Sterling (22-0), the No. 1 overall seed in the 32-team tournament.
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