Boys Basketball Class 2A State Tournament 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 Holly vs #8 Mancos
Holly enters the state tournament at 24-0. Holly won the Arkansas Valley 2A/1A league. Holly competed in the District 6 tournament and entered with the #1 seed. Holly had to win just 1 game to qualify for the state tournament and they beat Hoehne 67-43 to qualify. In the Semifinals Holly beat John Mall 51-43 and, in the finals, Holly beat Fowler 59-45 to capture the District 6 crown and host a regional. Holly would enter the regional tournament as the #1 seed. Holly made quick work of their first-round opponent beating Thomas MacLaren 80-51. In the Regional Finals Holly was in a battle with Sargent. Holly built their lead in the 2nd quarter outscoring Sargent 11-5. Holly was able to hold their lead and beat Sargent 31-26. Holly would qualify for the state tournament as the #1 seed. Holly is lead by a trio of players. Sophomore Brigden Parker 15.3 ppg, senior Jarett Rushton 13.0 ppg, and senior Michael Rushton 11.5 ppg. Holly has 5 other players scoring over 5 ppg.
Mancos enters the state tournament at 17-6. Mancos competed in the 2A/1A San Juan Basin league finishing tied for first place with Ignacio. Mancos entered the District 3 tournament as the #1 seed and qualified for state beating Telluride 71-57. They faced Dolores in the District Championship and beat Dolores 47-36 to qualify for regionals and host. Mancos would enter Regionals as the #6 seed and would face Center in the First round. Mancos was able to snag the victory 43-29 over the young Center team. In the Regional Finals they played Heritage Christian. Mancos used a huge 26-9 fourth quarter to escape with the 64-55 win and qualify for state. Mancos is also led by a trio of players, junior Caden Showalter 15.9 ppg, senior Vassar Stephen 13.4 ppg, and freshman Show Showalter 12.2 ppg. Mancos has 5 players scoring over 5 ppg.
Mancos has improved a ton this season and most people probably picked them to not make it to state. Mancos height and size has been a problem for teams and I did pick them to make it to state. Mancos will now face a team that has a ton of height as well. Holly struggled in their game against Sargent and were pushed to the end. Sargent has the size to compete with Holly and now face a team that also has some size. Holly though I think is battle tested and the Sargent game may have woken this team up. I am going with Holly over Mancos.
#4 Highland vs #5 Limon
Highland enters the state tournament at 23-1. Highland competed in the 2A/1A Mile High League and won the league going a perfect 12-0. Highland lone loss was to 3A Frontier. Highland entered the District 7 tournament as the #1 seed and would need to win just 1 game to qualify for regionals. Highland qualified for regionals blasting Loveland Classical 79-45. Highland would continue to make quick work of their opponents beating Lyons 64-30 and then winning the District Championship beating Dayspring Christian 79-46. Highland would get the opportunity to host a regional and would enter regionals as the #3 seed. Highland would win their first game beating Meeker 52-34. Highland would face Sedgwick County in the Regional finals and what a game that would be. Highland jumped out to a quick 25-10 lead and would take a 39-28 lead into halftime. In the fourth quarter things would get interesting with Sedgwick County outscoring Highland 25-20 and nearly coming back. Highland though would grab the win 79-73 and advance to the state tournament. Highland is led by a Junior Tate Bessire 21.9 ppg and senior Koby Anderson 14.2 ppg. Highland has 6 players scoring over 6 ppg.
Limon enters the state tournament at 20-4. Limon competed in the 2A/1A Union Pacific league and would finish tied for second behind Byers. Limon would enter the District tournament as the #3 seed but needed just 1 game to qualify for the regional tournament. Limon would win their one game beating Lotus School 62-46. In the Semifinals Limon would upset #2 Byers in OT 66-62. Limon had some momentum and would upset #1 seed Denver Christian in the District championship 48-39 to win the District and host a regional. Limon would be the #4 seed in the Regional tournament. Limon would win their first-round game 60-39 to face Wray in the Regional Finals. Wray would give Limon all they could handle, and Limon would escape with the 55-53 win to qualify for the state tournament. Limon has not updated their stats since game 12 of the season but I do know they are lead by a pair of sophomore Caden Smithburg 14.6 ppg and Kory Tacha 10.5 ppg. Limon has 4 players scoring over 5 ppg.
This is probably the second best game of the first round. Limon at full strength may be my pick in this game but I do know of one injury that has slowed this team down. Granted Limon has played well at the end of February winning the District tournament when I thought it would be Byers. Highland was challenged for the first time in a while by Sedgwick County. Highland is still one of the teams I think can win the whole things. I am going with my gut here and picking Highland over Limon.
#3 Fowler vs #6 Byers
Fowler enters the state tournament at 20-4. Fowler won the Santa Fe League and entered the District tournament as the #2 seed. Fowler would need to beat Rye to qualify for state and Fowler picked up a solid 65-30 win to qualify for the regional tournament. Fowler would then advance to the District finals beating Rocky Ford 54-38. Fowler would fall to Holly in the District finals but qualified for regionals as the #9 seed. Fowler would the long treck to Vail Christian for the Regional tournament. Fowler snagged their first win beating Clear Creek 66-49 and would face Vail Christian in the Regional Finals. Fowler would use a huge 20-4 fourth quarter to full away and never looked back. Fowler would win the game 59-41 to qualify for the state tournament. Fowler has been led by their big men Sophomore Val Leone 14.2 ppg and Junior Jonathan Mobbley 10.8 ppg. Fowler also has 6 players scoring over 5 ppg.
Byers enters the state tournament at 17-6. Byers competed in the 2A/1A Union Pacific League and won the regular season title going 6-0. Byers would enter the District tournament as the #2 seed. Byers as the #2 seed would automatically qualify for regionals. Byers would face Limon in the semifinals and would fall in OT 66-62. Byers bounced back nicely beating Clear Creek 66-43 to finish third in the District tournament. Byers would end up as the #10 seed in the Regional tournament and would make the treck to Simla. Byers faced Paonia in the first round at Regionals and won 51-36. Byers would now face a hot Telluride team who upset Simla in the first round. Byers would escape the fate of Simla and beat Telluride 51-39 to qualify for State. Byers is led by a trio of players. Senior Hayden Mccuen 13.2 ppg, senior Brady Shelley 12.7 ppg, and junior Zaine Mikita 11.8 ppg. Byers has just 4 players scoring over 5 ppg.
Fowler and Byers on paper matchup well with both teams brining in plenty of size. This was my toughest pick of the first round. Byers and Fowler both played tough schedules, and both are battle tested for this game. I am going with Fowler in this game, but I expect a 5 point or less game.
#2 Yuma vs #7 Denver Christian.
Yuma enters the state tournament at 21-2. Yuma is your defending state champion and are eager to defend their crown. Yuma won the 2A/1A Lower Platte league going a perfect 8-0. Yuma would enter the District tournament as the #1 seed and automatically qualify for the regional tournament. Yuma would face Akron in the semifinals and beat them 57-31. Yuma would then face Wray for the third time this year but Yuma would capture the District title 51-32 and would host a regional. Yuma would enter regionals as the #2 seed. Yuma would move into the regional finals beating Lyons 67-37. Yuma would face John Mall in the regional finals and would use a big 1st quarter to build their lead. Yuma would beat John Mall 65-44 and qualify for the state tournament. Yuma has been lead by senior Jacob Chrisman 15.7 ppg and freshman Clay Robinson 10.7 ppg. Yuma has 5 players scoring over 5 ppg.
Denver Christian enters the state tournament at 17-6. Denver Christian finished second in the 2A/1A Mile High league going 10-2. Denver Christian would enter the District 4 tournament as the #1 seed with head to head wins over Limon and Byers. Denver Christian would also automatically qualify for regionals getting a bye in the first round. In the semifinals Denver Christian would narrowly escape Clear Creak 44-39 to advance to the District finals. Denver Christian would face Limon in the District finals and Limon would upset Denver Christian 48-39. Denver Christian would now be no the road at regionals and would make the treck down to Sanford for their regional. Denver Christian in the first round would hold off the upset minded Plateau Valley 44-43. Denver Christian moved into the Regional finals against Sanford. It was a back and forth game but the difference in the game was Denver Christian outscoring Sanford 10-3 in the fourth quarter to win 36-34. Denver Christian has been lead by senior Eu Asefaw 11.9 ppg and Senior Jeff Amidon 11.4 ppg. Denver Christian does have 7 players scoring over 5 ppg.
Denver Christian has proven they can play with anyone with wins over Limon and Byers. Denver Christian also nearly upset Highland early in February. Denver Christian though will be facing a team who is us to playing in the state tournament. Yuma experience I think is the difference in the game. Yuma has played well all season and I think their size with Jacob Chrisman is the difference. I am going with Yuma over Denver Christian.