Class 3A Boys Basketball First Half Thoughts and Observations
I don’t plan on posting my first rankings or first in depth look at the RPI or leagues until the week of January 7th I decided to post an article looking at the months of November and December.
We will start with a look at my preseason rankings. My Top ten was #1 Colorado Academy, #2 Sterling, #3 Vanguard, #4 Manual, #5 Resurrection Christian, #6 Kent Denver, #7 Coal Ridge, #8 Bayfield, #9 Colorado Springs Christian, and #10 The Academy. Out of the Top 10 Preseason teams 8 of the Top 10 are still in my latest rankings. Bayfield and The Academy are the two teams who have fallen out of the Top 10 and both are outside my Top 20. Looking at Bayfield and The Academy, Bayfield is 3-4 and have played a very tough schedule. Bayfield does not have a key win yet but with a very competitive IML league they will have their shots at quality wins. The Academy is 1-4 and have really struggled to get anything going this season. The Academy lost their first 4 games of the season but also played quality competition. The Academy will have to right the ship the rest of the way but should be in the hunt for a league title. Looking at some teams in the Top 10 you must look at Colorado Academy, Sterling, Kent Denver, Coal Ridge, and Montezuma-Cortez. Colorado Academy started the season as my preseason #1 team. Colorado Academy quickly fell from the #1 spot picking up a loss to 4A Littleton who is 2-7 on the season. Colorado Academy then picked up back to back wins before suffering their second loss of the season to 4A Steamboat Springs (6-2) which is a good loss. Colorado Academy now is on a 5-game winning streak with key wins over Platte Valley and Resurrection Christian. Kent Denver is 5-0 with a few impressive wins over Bayfield, St. Mary’s, Eaton, and La Junta. Kent Denver is banking on the play of James Doyle and Coby Gold to carry them and both are scoring over 20 PPG. Kent Denver gets tested right after break with a road trip to the San Luis Valley to face Alamosa and Monte Vista. Coal Ridge is also off to an impressive 8-0 start. Coal Ridge has some key wins over Lutheran, Meeker, Alamosa, Faith Christian, and Rifle. Coal Ridge currently has three players over 10 PPG and look to be a real threat from the Western Slope. Coal Ridge jumps right into league play after break. One last top 10 team to look at is Montezuma-Cortez. Montezuma-Cortez is 6-0 on the year and I got to see them play a few weeks ago. Cortez started the season beating a very good San Juan UT (7-2). Cortez does lack in the quality win department with their only other quality wins being over Olathe (3-4) and Mancos (4-4). Cortez does have their schedule pick up significantly with tournament games against Ignacio and Durango. Montezuma-Cortez then jump into league play against Pagosa Springs and Bayfield and we will learn quickly just how good this team is. Class 3A still has 5 undefeated teams remaining they are Sterling, Kent Denver, Montezuma-Cortez, Jefferson Academy, and Coal Ridge. At this point I will give 3 teams who impressed me before break, 3 teams who may have struggled a bit before break but could make noise after break, and then give my Top 3 teams for each league looking at results from before break.
My 3 Impressive Teams
I am picking these teams off quality wins and where in the preseason rankings they were.
Coal Ridge (9-0), Preseason #7
We knew Coal Ridge was going to be good but picking up 5 quality wins have them poised to be a real threat not just for the league crown but a Great 8 berth. They were ranked in my preseason Top 10 but they have really come out the gates and are playing good basketball.
Lutheran (5-2), Preseason NR
I did not have Lutheran in my Top 20 after losing a good senior class. Lutheran had some early season struggles losing to Coal Ridge and C.S Christian but after 3 quality wins over Frontier Academy, Resurrection Christian, and Platte Valley Lutheran has quickly moved back into the Top 10 and will look to make some noise in the Metro League
Alamosa (4-2), Preseason #20
Before Centauri and Montezuma-Cortez fans wonder why I am picking Alamosa over their two teams let me explain. Alamosa lost their starting 5 from last year and returned just 1 player who played big minutes last year. Alamosa then lost their first game of the year to Sanford but seemed to have awoken this young team. Alamosa has picked up 3 quality wins since that loss beating Lamar, Montrose, and Delta. Alamosa also played well against #3 Coal Ridge. We are going to learn a lot more about Alamosa right after break with games against Kent Denver and Pueblo East. Also the IML is loaded once again with all 6 teams looking competitive.
3 teams Who could make some noise after Break
The Academy (1-4), Preseason #10
The Academy may be 1-4 but have played a tough schedule. The Academy also plays in The Frontier League which is wide open, and you could see them start adding wins quickly
Roaring Fork (4-5), Preseason #12
Roaring Fork started the year at #12 in my preseason poll, but 6 straight losses had them fall out of my Top 20. I am not sure if there was an injury or something that slowed down Roaring Fork, but Roaring Fork was able to pick up 3 very impressive wins to close out 2018. Roaring Fork beat Pagosa Springs, C.S Christian, and Eaton. Roaring Fork could be a team to watch if they can continue playing at the high caliber.
Lamar (5-2), Preseason NR
I know picking a 5-2 team is interesting, but this Lamar team is a team who can make some noise. Lamar two losses are to Centauri and Alamosa both quality losses. Lamar also could be a team that finishes in the Top 3 or 4 in the Tri-Peaks league something they have not done in a while. Lamar has a lot of speed and if they can play consistent basketball could make noise in the Tri-peaks.
My League predictions for Class 3A were never posted and I will just post the Top 3 and will jump into more depth next week.
Confluence/Colorado 8 League
#1 DSST-Green Valley Ranch
#2 Fort Lupton
#2 Middle Park
#3 The Academy
#1 Kent Denver
#2 Colorado Academy
#2 Resurrection Christian
#3 Platte Valley
#2 C.S Christian
#1 Coal Ridge
#2 Roaring Fork