Boys Basketball Class 1A State Tournament First Round Breakdown and Predictions
The end of the long season is in sight and 8 teams will battle for a state championship. I will give a quick look at how the 8 teams got here plus give my predictions for the first-round games. I will post my full 1A prediction later today.
#1 De Beque vs #8 Prairie
De Beque comes into the state tournament at 22-0. They rolled to a regular season league title winning the 2A/1A Western Slope league title. At Districts De Beque rolled to an easy District title blasting Norwood 90-28 and Ouray 70-30. De Beque would play the #2 team from District 7. De Beque made quick work of Genoa-Hugo taking a 33-9 lead into half. De Beque would beat Genoa-Hugo 78-34 to qualify for the State Tournament. De Beque is led by a pair of sophomores Brennan Rigsby is averaging 22.5 ppg and Wes Ryan is averaging 19.2 ppg. 4 players are averaging over 5 ppg.
Prairie comes into the state tournament at 17-7. They tied for first in the North Central league but had the tiebreaker on Peetz. Prairie went into the District tournament as the #2 seed behind Peetz. Prairie won their first two games to reach the District finals. Prairie would lose in the District Championship to Merino 68-57 but qualified for Regionals. At Regionals Prairie would go in as the #7 seed and would need back to back upsets to qualify for the State Tournament. Prairie would get the first upset beating Arickaree/Woodlin 73-65. In the Regional Championship Prairie would again pull another upset beating Mile High Academy 62-48. Prairie qualified for the State Tournament as the #8 seed. Prairie is led by 4 seniors. Devin Littlefield 16.9 PPG and Jade Cass 10.2 ppg lead Prairie in scoring. Prairie has 4 players scoring over 5 ppg.
De Beque comes into the state tournament as the favorite to win the whole thing. De Beque rolled a solid Genoa-Hugo squad but with their own league not qualified a single team into the 2A State tournament a few questions do arise. Prairie has two teams from their District in the State tournament. Prairie has played a tough schedule. De Beque though offensively will give anyone fits and I am not sure if Prairie can keep up scoring wise. Prairie offensively must be able to score into the 80. My pick for this game is De Beque.
#4 Haxtun vs #5 Evangelical Christian
Haxtun comes into the state tournament at 16-7. They played in the 2A/1A Lower Platte and finished in 4th place. Haxtun went into the District tournament as the #2 seed. Haxtun took care of businesses in their first round game winning big. Haxtun then was challenged in back to back games but beat Otis 45-36 and then upset the #1 seed Arickaree/Woodlin 70-60. Haxtun would qualify for regionals as the #3 seed and receive a bye. Haxtun would face Peetz in the Regional Finals. Haxtun would have to knock off the defending state champions to qualify for state. Haxtun would take care of business and beat Peetz 62-50. Haxtun qualified for the state tournament as the #4 seed.
Evangelical Christian comes into the state tournament at 19-3. Evangelical Christian played in the Black Forest League and won their league going 6-0. ECA went into the District tournament as the #1 seed and received a bye in the first round. ECA would need to win just 1 game to qualify for regionals. ECA took care of business in the Semifinals beating Pikes Peak Christian 71-43. In the District Finals ECA would capture the crown beating Genoa-Hugo 50-36. ECA would face the #2 team from District 1 at regionals and that was Ouray. ECA was in a close game at halftime winning 19-10. After the third quarter things remained close with ECA holding the 26-19 lead. The fourth quarter ECA finally pulled away outscoring Ouray 22-6 and winning 48-25. ECA qualified for the state tournament as the #5 seed.
This is a very interesting matchup. ECA has not played the toughest schedule. ECA best win during the regular season is a triple OT game against Front Range Christian and beating Peyton 44-42. ECA is on a hot streak right now. Haxtun played a tough schedule and took 2A #2 Yuma to double OT. Haxtun also picked up wins over Kit Carson and Merino in February to solidify themselves as a threat in the state tournament. Haxtun is my pick to win this game.
#3 Walsh vs #6 Merino
Walsh comes into the state tournament at 18-5. Walsh played in the 2A/1A Arkansas Valley league finishing tied for 1st. Walsh entered the District tournament as the #1 seed and would just need to win 1 of two games to qualify for Regionals. Walsh would get that win in the semifinals blast Wiley 67-37. Walsh would face Springfield in the District championship but would lose 76-61. Walsh would enter Bracket 2 as the #2 seed. Walsh would face Sierra Grande in the first round and would win 48-35. Walsh then would need to upset Cheraw to qualify for state. Walsh would see themselves pushed to the limit. Walsh was trailing by 3 with 4 seconds left when Coy McDonald would drain a three as time expired to force OT. Walsh would then outscore Cheraw 6-2 in OT to snag the win 57-53. Walsh qualified for the state tournament as the #3 seed.
Merino comes into the state tournament at 14-10. Merino played in the 2A/1A Lower Platte League finishing 6th in league. Merino would enter the District tournament as the #5 seed and would need to upset #4 Longmont Christian to have any shot at the state tournament. Merino was able to pull the upset beating Longmont Christian 44-39. Merino would then use the momentum to upset Peetz 71-61 and then Prairie in the District Championship 68-57. Merino record is very deceiving and that showed in the District Tournament. Merino would enter regionals as the #5 seed and would face Stratton/Liberty in the first round. Merino beat Stratton/Liberty in a close 60-56 game. Merino would need to pull another upset to qualify for state facing #2 Front Range Baptist. Merino at one point was trailing in the game but a big comeback and Merino would pull the upset beating Front Range Baptist 61-54. Merino qualifies for the state tournament as the #6 seed. Merino is led by senior Nathan Batt 12.1 ppg. Merino does have 6 players scoring over 5 ppg.
Walsh is riding high after a huge OT win over Cheraw. Walsh has a lot of length and their size will cause problems for most teams. Walsh has been ranked most of the year but they are playing a team who is playing really good basketball. Merino may be playing the best basketball entering the State tournament. Merino loves to pull upsets and will be primed to pull another upset. Merino must find an answer for Walsh length. I am going with the upset here Merino over Walsh.
#2 Sangre De Cristo vs #7 Kit Carson
Sangre De Cristo comes into the state tournament at 21-1. Sangre De Cristo played in the 1A Southern Peaks League winning the regular season league title. Sangre De Cristo would enter Districts as the #1 seed and would qualify for state beating Primero 86-36 setting up a third meeting with Creede in the District Championship. Sangre De Cristo and Creede would play each other close thru 3 quarters before Sangre De Cristo caught fire and pulled ahead winning 75-52. Sangre De Cristo would receive a bye at regionals and would need to win just 1 game to qualify for state. Sangre De Cristo would have a rematch in the Regional Finals against Kim/Branson. Sangre De Cristo would build a quick 23-9 lead after the first quarter but Kim/Branson hung tough outscoring Sangre 14-10 in the second. After Halftime though Sangre De Cristo woke up outscoring Kim/Branson 24-10 and would qualify for state beating Kim/Branson 69-42. Sangre De Cristo is led by a trio of players. Cole Christensen 17.9 ppg, Jake Slane 16.3 ppg, and Manual Lopez 11.1 ppg. Sangre De Cristo has 5 player scoring over 5ppg.
Kit Carson comes into the state tournament at 15-9. Kit Carson played in the High Plains league finishing tied for first place with Cheraw. Kit Carson would enter Districts as the #3 seed. Kit Carson would put themselves in good position for Regionals beating Eads 62-47. Kit Carson though would fall in the semifinals to McClave 63-59. Kit Carson though rebounded nicely beating Granada 50-30 to qualify for regionals. At Regionals Kit Carson would enter as the #3 seed in Bracket 3. Kit Carson would need 2 straight upsets to qualify for state. Kit Carson got off on the right foot beating Creede 73-70. Kit Carson would then face Springfield in the Regional Finals. Kit Carson led the entire way using a 13-7 second quarter to build a small lead. Kit Carson would hold on late to win 41-35 over Springfield and qualify for State. Kit Carson is led by Jayden McCombs-Farmer 12.9 ppg and Sullivan Farmer 9.4 ppg. Kit Carson has 6 players scoring over 5 ppg.
This could be a high scoring game. Both teams want to run, and both teams excel at running. Kit Carson does not have the size to really matchup with Sangre De Cristo but that has not stopped Kit Carson this year. Sangre De Cristo does have the speed to matchup with Kit Carson and Jake Slane on the inside must come to play. I am going with Sangre De Cristo over Kit Carson in this game.