State prep playoffs get under way on Tuesday
Now that the state prep basketball playoff brackets have been filled out and distributed, all that’s left is waiting for the games to be played.
Five area teams have advanced to first-round playoff games after playing their way in at last weekend’s district tournaments in Palisade (Class 3A schools) and Grand Junction (Class 4A).
Action gets under way Tuesday evening with playoff games at opposite ends of the valley.
The Rifle boys (16-6) have been seeded No. 12 in the 32-team state bracket and have drawn No. 21 Fountain of Fort Carson as their first-round opponent.
The Trojans, out of the Colorado Springs Metro League, are 13-10 after last week’s play in the District 2 tournament.
Meanwhile, further eastward, the Basalt girls (21-1) have earned the No. 4 seed in the 3A state tournament and, hopefully, get to host two playoff games.
The Longhorns have drawn No. 29 Denver Lutheran (11-11) as their first opponent. If they get past the Lights from the Metro League, Basalt plays the winner of the Rangely-Pagosa Springs game on Friday at the Big House.
Roaring Fork’s boys also open the state playoffs Tuesday.
The No. 24-seeded Rams (10-11) will be in Leadville for their first-round contest against No. 9 Lake County (18-4). The winner of Tuesday’s Ram-Panther game faces either Bennett or Aspen in the second round on Friday.
On Wednesday, the playoff spotlight turns toward Carbondale as the 13-6 Roaring Fork girls face the Frederick Warriors (15-7) from the 3A Long Peaks League.
The Rams are the No. 13 seed in the 3A girls tournament, and could host another playoff game on Saturday if No. 30 Trinidad should post an upset win over No. 3 Estes Park on Wednesday.
In the Class 4A girls tournament, Rifle (12-10) was selected as the No. 26 overall seed in the 32-team bracket.
The low ranking sends the Bears traveling east to the Metro Denver area on Wednesday for a game with No. 7 Evergreen (18-3), which plays in the tough Jeffco League.
Other 3A and 4A first-round playoff games involving Western Slope League schools include the University boys (13-9) at Eagle Valley (17-5), Aspen girls (14-7) at Platte Valley (15-7) and the Cedaredge boys (21-1) hosting Las Animas (14-8) on Tuesday.
Wednesday’s schedule includes the Palisade girls (9-13) at Longmont Skyline (20-2), Lyons (15-7) at Cedaredge girls (18-4) and Delta (11-11) boys at Canon City (17-5).
Starting times for all first-and-second round state playoff games will be determined by the host school.
Winners from this weekend’s second-round games advance to the quarterfinals. Those games will be played on March 14.
Admission prices for first-and second-place games are $5 for adults and $4 for students and seniors.
The ticket prices are determined by the Colorado High School Activities Association.
All 3A tournament games will take place at the Air Force Academy campus gym in Colorado Springs, followed by the semifinals the next day, then concluding with the championship game on March 16.
The 4A tournament follows the same pattern.
Those games will be held at two venues. The Denver Coliseum host the girls tournament, while the boys finish up at the Pepsi Center.
Ticket prices for the 3A tournament games are $7 for adults and $6 for children 12-and-under and seniors 60-and-above.
The same prices apply for the 4A girls games at the Denver Coliseum.
Upper level tickets for the 4A boys quarter and semifinal games at the Pepsi Center are $11 for adults and $10 for children and seniors.
Tickets for the championship games are $12 and $10 respectively. All ticket prices include a $1.75 per-ticket box office fee.
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.