We are trying something new at Mile High Prep Report this basketball season. I have reached out to a few people who work/cover High School Sports at Radio Stations or other Media. Most of us Radio Folk watch at least 6 games Boys & Girls a week and see more basketball than most. I have asked for them to write an article for me when they can on their region/school.
I am really looking forward to seeing how these articles progress this season and hopefully can continue this for years to come.
I am still looking for more people to join the coverage and if your interested email me at Anthony5910@gmail.com or message me on Facebook.
Our first article comes from Doug Wright who is covering the 3A Metro League. Doug is the PA announcer for Colorado Academy and has attended at least 5 straight 3A State Tournaments for boys and girls.
3A METRO LEAGUE GIRLS’ BASKETBALL REPORT
By Doug Wright
As we move into the new year, Colorado high school basketball league play begins shortly. Here’s a look at the 3A Metro League girls’ teams, and our projected order of their finish in the league, based primarily on their 2019 non-league performance. Overall, we do not expect the Metro League to produce State championship contenders this season, with the exception of Lutheran. We expect teams ranked 2-6 will be competitive with each other, as will teams ranked 7-12. How six teams respond to their new coaches may have a significant impact on the final results in the league this season.
#1 Lutheran (6-1) again appears to be the class of the girls’ Metro League. Led by junior guard Stephanie Schultz (14.4 PPG), the Lions have a good blend of young and experienced players. They posted strong December wins over perennial State championship contender Pagosa Springs (avenging two losses to the Pirates last season, including in the State championship Elite Eight) and Manitou Springs in their holiday tournament as well as convincing victories over Colorado Springs Christian and league foe Skyview Academy, offset by a lone loss (albeit by a large margin) to juggernaut and likely repeat State Champion St. Marys. Lutheran likely will run the table in the Metro League and may again make noise in the State tournament.
#2 Jefferson Academy (4-2) had a strong December under new girls’ coach Mark Sharpley, who also coaches the JA boys’ team, with a narrow season-opening loss to a solid Grand Valley squad and a loss to Patriot League contender Platte Valley book-ending four solid victories. Seniors Rachel Moreno (12.6 PPG) and Lily Thimson (10.7 PPG) lead the Jaguars, who look to rebound from a disappointing 2018-2019 season.
#3 Kent Denver (2-3) has struggled in the early going versus some strong competition, including losses to Manitou Springs and Eaton. With a deep senior class led by Natalie Gendelman (8.8 PPG) complemented by sophomore Amanda Licht (9.2 PPG), who had an outstanding freshman year averaging 13.5 PPG, look for the Sun Devils to make strides during league play under long-time coach Richard Judd.
#4 Faith Christian (2-5) played a brutal December schedule against some of the top Class 3A teams in Colorado, including Delta, Alamosa, Manitou Springs and at perennial power Sterling. That experience should help new coach Dominic Vigil’s squad, which features potential Metro League Player of the Year senior Ashley Finch (14.3 PPG, 9.4 RPG). A convincing December win over league rival Peak to Peak indicates that the Eagles should be very competitive in league play.
#5 Skyview Academy (4-1) lost a ton of talented players to graduation following its outstanding 20-4 2018-2019 season and could be rebuilding this season, as evidenced by a 38 point December loss to Lutheran. However, senior Hannah Banko (13.5 PPG, including a 23 point game vs. Conifer) brings experience from that magical season, and it appears that newcomer Ekko Hopkins (13.0 PPG) may provide support to keep the Hawks in the top half of the Metro League.
#6 Colorado Academy (4-2) also suffered significant graduation losses. One returning talent for new coach Reggie Morton is forward Ella Freimuth, who is averaging a double-double (10.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG) through non-league play. Sophomore guard Erishai Okra (9.8 PPG) also is contributing scoring punch. An open question is whether CA’s supporting cast of new starters is strong enough to move the Mustangs up in the standings.
#7 Prospect Ridge Academy (2-4) looks to build on an outstanding 2018-2019 season, the first winning season in the school’s short existence. However, this will be a tall order under new coach Ellie Kempf because a strong core of graduating seniors led PRA last season. December losses to Patriot League stalwarts Resurrection Christian, Brush and Eaton indicate that the Miners’ returning cast may not have the firepower to replicate last season.
#8 Manual (2-2) returns two starters who have been prime contributors for the Thunderbolts thus far: Senior Rose Watson, who ranks first and third, respectively, in Metro League rebounding and scoring at 10.8 RPG and 14.3 PPG, and junior Jacqueline Salazar-Alvarez, averaging 10.5 PPG. Following a weak December schedule, it remains to be seen whether the ‘Bolts can jell under coach Sydney Price to challenge the teams in the upper echelon in the league.
#9 St. Mary’s Academy (2-3) and long-time coach Phil Gentry suffered through a winless campaign last season with a young and inexperienced team. With a year under their belt, the Wildcats have already showed improvement this season. A 28 point December tournament loss to Kent Denver, however, indicates that SMA may need another year to challenge for a first division finish in the Metro League.
#10 Bishop Machebeuf (2-5) has a new coach, Jim Bartok, who will try to turn around a Buffs team that slumped last season. Sophomore Karla Muratalla (9.7 PPG) shows promise, but convincing losses to Patriot League teams Platte Valley and Eaton infer that 2020 will be a rebuilding season for Machebeuf.
#11 Peak to Peak (1-5) has played a stout early season schedule under returning coach Dan Seidman. Senior Aiyana Rockwell and sophomore forward Mattie Stevens (8.2 PPG) lead the Pumas, who unfortunately appear to be poised for yet another losing season in the Metro League.
#12 Stargate School (1-4) is a new high school in its third season of CHSAA competition and second season in the Metro League. While showing some improvement last season under Coach Fred Oliva, the young Eagles struggled to remain competitive in the tough Metro League. We expect Stargate, who are led by junior Erica Derby (9.0 PPG), to continue to improve over time, but it appears this season will also be one of growing pains.