Titan boys claim No. 3 seed in 3A state playoffs
Coming off of a season sweep of the 3A Western Slope League regular season and district tournament championships for the second straight season, the Coal Ridge Titans boys basketball team claimed a No. 3 seed in the 3A state playoff bracket, announced Sunday morning. The No. 3 seed is the highest seed for the Titans in school history.
“We’re beyond excited about being number three in the state, and we’re very fortunate to come through a very tough league and have such a high mark,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Paul Harvey said. “Now we have to live up to that ranking.”
Coal Ridge (20-2, 9-0 3A WSL) will host the regional bracket in New Castle, Friday and Saturday, as the No. 14 Manual Thunderbolts (14-8, 6-3 3A Metro League), No. 19 Pagosa Springs Pirates (14-6, 7-3 3A Intermountain League), and the No. 30 Frontier Academy Wolverines (9-11, 2-8 3A Patriot League) make their way to Coal Ridge High School for the regional bracket of the 3A state playoffs.
The Titans will match up with the Wolverines Friday night at 7 p.m., while the Thunderbolts and Pirates will tip off at 5:30 p.m. Should the Titans beat the Wolverines, they’ll take on the winner of the Thunderbolts-Pirates matchup Saturday afternoon for a chance to reach the Great Eight in the 3A state playoffs.
“They were our first-round matchup last season, and they still have Zach Hidalgo on the roster, so we know what they’re about,” Harvey said. “They lost some of their supporting cast, but Hidalgo is one of the top scorers in 3A. They’re frisky and very tough; it won’t be a pushover by any means.”
The Wolverines, who average 56.9 points per game, are led by Hidalgo’s 22.5 points per game, while the Titans, scoring 63.9 points per game, are led by junior Kevin DiMarco’s 15.6 points per game, and senior Brandon Herrera’s 15.5 points per game.
Coal Ridge beat Frontier Academy last season in the regional tournament, 77-57.
Along with the Titan boys, the Roaring Fork Rams boys basketball team earned a high seed in the 3A state playoffs, coming in at No. 13 after dropping the district championship game to the Titans on Saturday afternoon at Grand Junction Central High School.
“I’m pleased with the spot,” Roaring Fork Head Coach Larry Williams said. “We’re going to Platte Valley, and they didn’t win their district tournament, so I like our chances if we play well.”
Roaring Fork (19-3, 8-1 4A WSL) will hit the road as the No. 13 seed, traveling to No. 4 Platte Valley (18-4, 9-1 3A Patriot League). The Broncos will host the No. 20 Colorado Academy Mustangs (13-9, 6-3 3A Metro League) and the No. 29 St. Mary’s Pirates (10-12, 8-3 3A Tri-Peaks League), as well as the Rams in the regional bracket. The Rams will match up with the Mustangs Friday night, while the Broncos will host the Pirates following the Rams and Mustangs’ matchup. Should the Rams win Friday night, they’d take on the winner of Platte Valley-St. Mary’s on Saturday with a chance to reach the Great Eight.
“They [Colorado Academy] are well-coached and have really good guards that shoot well and drive well,” Williams said. “It’s hard to say [how we match up with them], but I like the matchup. If we play well, we’ll have to stop the dribble penetration, which we’ve struggled with at times in the past.”
Colorado Academy has two players averaging more than 16.0 points per game this season, with junior DeAnte Dennis scoring 18.3 points per game, and junior Alex Mushkin averaging 16.0 points per game, as the Mustangs score 61.7 points per game as a team, compared to the Rams’ 60.9 points per game, led by senior Justin Thompson’s 20.4 points per game.
Joining the Titans and Rams in the 3A state playoffs is the Grand Valley Cardinals boys basketball team, which earned a No. 15 seed after finishing third in the 3A district tournament this past weekend.
Grand Valley (17-5, 6-3 3A WSL) will travel to No. 2 Alamosa (18-3, 9-1 3A Intermountain League) for the regional tournament, where the Maroons will also host the No. 18 Colorado Springs Christian Lions (15-7, 9-2 3A Tri-Peaks) and the No. 31 Cedaredge Bruins (9-12, 2-7 3A WSL). The Cardinals will take on the Lions Friday night at Alamosa, while the Maroons will match up with the Bruins. The two winners will then match up Saturday afternoon for a bid into the Great Eight of the 3A state playoffs.
The Lions average 62.1 points per game, with three players in double figures, led by junior Kolby Walker’s 15.2 points per game, and senior Noah Hopkins’ 14.4 points per game. The Cardinals average 66.6 points per game under veteran head coach Scott Parker, as standout senior point guard Kade Hurst leads the team with 18.0 points per game.
One other 3A Western Slope team to make the 3A state playoffs is the No. 16 Delta Panthers, who have to travel to No. 1 Sterling.
On the girls’ side, the Grand Valley Cardinals earned a No. 15 seed in the state playoffs after finishing as the runner-up in the 3A district tournament, while the Roaring Fork Rams earned a No. 30 seed.
The Cardinals (15-7, 7-2 3A WSL) will travel to No. 2 Pagosa Springs (18-3, 9-1 3A Intermountain League), as the Pirates host the No. 18 University Bulldogs (17-5, 7-3 3A Patriot League) and the No. 31 Middle Park Panthers (16-6, 11-1 3A/2A Frontier League). Grand Valley will match up with the Bulldogs, who are led by junior forward Madelyn Malm’s 11.1 points per game. As a team, University averages 46.7 points per game. The Cardinals are led by junior Shaya Chenoweth’s 24.2 points per game, and average 46.9 points per game.
Roaring Fork (11-9, 4-5 3A WSL) will travel to No. 3 St. Mary’s (21-1, 11-0 3A Tri-Peaks League), as the Pirates will host the No. 14 Colorado Academy Mustangs (15-7, 7-3 3A Metro League), and the No. 19 Salida Spartans (12-11, 6-5 3A Tri-Peaks League). The Rams will match up with the Pirates Friday night. St. Mary’s, averaging 62.1 points per game, is led by sophomore Josephine Howery’s 14.5 points per game, while the Rams — averaging 36.3 points per game — are led by junior Logan Erickson’s 12.4 points per game.