Teams jockeying for playoff position in final games
The final weekend of prep basketball’s regular season is always hectic.
The senior players are honored and saddled with the knowledge it may be their last game on their home court, and there are always plenty of bumps and bruises at the tail end of the season.
And, of course, there’s the playoff positioning.
The Glenwood Springs boys team is in the most precarious position of area Class 4A teams headed into the final weekend.
The Demons play their final home game tonight against Delta, and it’s as close to a must-win contest as prep teams get in the regular season.
Glenwood (4-6 Western Slope League, 7-10 overall) is tied for fifth place with Delta (4-6, 8-9), and the loser will likely find itself in a pigtail contest Tuesday night against last-place Battle Mountain for the right to play in the district tournament.
A victory tonight would give the Demons a season sweep over Delta, and, therefore, a game lead and the head-to-head tiebreaker.
A victory could also give Glenwood a chance to move past Saturday night’s road opponent, Palisade (5-5, 8-8), given Palisade falls at Rifle tonight.
A weekend sweep is certainly an attainable goal ” the Demons downed Delta 65-54 in their first meeting and handled Palisade 89-64 ” but it won’t be any easier given some recent injuries.
Senior Oscar Jurado has been playing limited time with a fractured leg and is questionable for tonight. Sophomore post Chris Benson suffered a sprained ankle Tuesday and is out, according to head coach Kevin Flohr.
“Down the road I see (Benson) as being one of the best basketball layers to come out of Glenwood, if he decides to work that hard,” Flohr said. “I really feel bad because he’s going to miss out on an opportunity and an experience.
“At the same time, the team should have the resilience to react to it.”
If Sean Flohr plays the next two games like he did in the first meeting with Palisade, the injuries may be a moot point.
The Glenwood junior, ranked third in Class 4A at 24.5 points per game, hit for 11 three pointers in the first meeting with the Bulldogs.
If Sean Flohr doesn’t have the super-hot hand, however, much of the burden of Benson’s absence will fall on the shoulders of John Faris.
“Unless people are ready to step up and start having the courage to take the shot, we’re going to have a tough (time),” Kevin Flohr said.
On the girls side, the Demons are in much better shape.
Glenwood (6-4, 9-8) sits third in the league and needs only to split the weekend set maintain its spot.
The Demons won both previous meetings with Delta (0-9, 4-12) and Palisade (4-6, 5-12) by margins of 62-42 and 48-43, respectively.
The girls games start at 6 p.m. on both nights and the boys begin at 7:30 p.m.
The Rifle Bears girls team has already clinched the league title and is now focused on completing the league slate with a perfect record.
The Bears (10-0, 14-3) wraps up the season with a pair of home games and downed both this weekend’s opponents ” Delta and Palisade ” by more than 20 points in their previous meetings.
The Rifle boys team is currently in third place in the league at 6-4 (8-9), but needs a victory over Palisade tonight to maintain the position.
Palisade earned a 69-58 victory on its home court over the Bears earlier this season and a sweep would bring the Bulldogs’ record even with Rifle and also give them the tiebreaker advantage.
The girls games begin at 6 p.m. and the boys start at 7:30 both tonight and Saturday.
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After losing the 3A Western Slope League race in a tough, five-set loss to Basalt on April 15, the Coal Ridge High volleyball team finds its playoff fate partly out of its own hands.