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 BOYS’ 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 boys’ teams, and our projected order of their finish in the league, based primarily on their December 2019 non-league performance. There appear to be several contenders in this typically strong league, which includes defending State champion Manual High School. We expect Lutheran to claim the league title, although teams ranked 2-4 should be contenders. Teams ranked 5-8 will be competitive with each other and may surprise the top four teams. Some non-league games remain before Metro League play begins, and we’ll have a better sense of how these teams stack up by mid-January.
#1 Lutheran (4-2) lost a lot of firepower to graduation following its 2019 state championship Elite Eight run. However, a freshman has been brought in to more than fill the void: 6’11” Baye Fall is a human highlight film, averaging 27.8 PPG (many on rim-shaking dunks), 11.8 RPG and 4.4 blocks per game. His supporting cast includes 6’7” junior Mamadou Sow and junior Tommy Apodaca (11.8 PPG and 9.2 assists per game). Lutheran’s two losses came in a Las Vegas tournament and on a buzzer beater at home on Saturday to a 7-0 Resurrection Christian team that is a State championship contender. The Lions’ length and athleticism may allow coach Bill Brandsma’s squad to overwhelm most of its Metro League opponents.
#2 Manual (3-2) looks to continue its return to glory following its 10-0 2019 Metro League championship campaign and a terrific run to the 2019 State championship title. This will be a tall order, because the Thunderbolts lost to graduation one of the best 3A players in recent memory, Jaden Bowles. However, the always dangerous ‘Bolts return senior Jaden Stoffel (28.6 PPG), a versatile and talented player who shone in the State championship run. Sophomore Jordan Reed (13.4 PPG) has emerged as a secondary scorer. Manual played a tough December schedule, with its only two losses to Class 5A teams, and ended December with a win over a tough DSST-Green Valley Ranch squad. Coach Omar Henry proved last season that he can mold his athletes into a cohesive unit; can he do it again in 2020?
#3 Faith Christian (5-2) has had a consistently strong boys’ basketball program. This year appears no different under new coach Abram Ziemer, as evidenced by December wins over Tri-Peaks League teams Manitou Springs and 2019 State runner-up Vanguard along with narrow losses to Class 3A powers Alamosa and Sterling. Seniors Caleb Ruter (17.6 PPG) and Isaiah Kroll (13.2 PPG) and junior Caleb Clark (13.4) provide balanced scoring for the Eagles.
#4 Jefferson Academy (7-0) had a strong December under long-time coach Mark Sharpley, who also is coaching the JA girls’ team this season. Led by senior guard Elian Soto (25 PPG) and a strong supporting cast, the always well-coached Jaguars should challenge for a Metro League title.
#5 Kent Denver (2-3) looks to replace the graduated James Doyle with a cast led by Coach Todd Schaye’s son, 6’6” junior Logan Schayes (15 PPG) along with senior Pace Billings (14.6 PPG). Sophomore Duke Benson (11 PPG) also has provided scoring punch to date. Following a lackluster December for the Sun Devils, upcoming non-league games against Intermountain League teams Alamosa and Monte Vista will give us a better sense whether Kent will make noise in the Metro League this season.
#6 Colorado Academy (3-4) closed a decade of impressive results via a typically tough December schedule, with a host of games against Class 4A schools to prepare for the bruising Metro League campaign. The Mustangs lost its two leading scorers to graduation and are very young this season. Promising sophomore forward Ahbil Woldeyohannes leads CA in scoring (11.9 PPG) and rebounding. Always well-coached under long-time coach Steven Hyatt, Colorado Academy will be competitive but is undersized and therefore will likely struggle against bigger, athletic teams like Lutheran and Manual.
#7 Bishop Machebeuf (2-3) has a strong boys’ basketball tradition and is looking to bounce back after a few lackluster seasons. A narrow December defeat to a strong Eaton team offers a ray of hope. Senior Darius Richards (12.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG) is the team leader for this squad, followed by sophomore Will Yebio (12.4 PPG). Four non-league games remain before the Buffs commence their 2019 schedule, so we’ll have a better sense by mid-January of their potential league placement.
#8 Peak to Peak (4-3) looks to flip the script after a disappointing 2018-2019 campaign. The Pumas started the season strong with four wins but faltered with three losses at the Glenwood Springs Invitational. A month-long break doubtless leaves a bad taste in the mouths of Matthew Smith’s squad as their next game isn’t until January 16. As competitive as the Metro League is, we don’t see this team moving into the first division this season; however, this is a veteran team with four seniors averaging between 8 and 12 PPG so it’s possible they could surprise.
#9 Prospect Ridge Academy (1-5) finished in the second division of the Metro League last season. The Miners of coach Scott Iten will need secondary scoring to support junior Sam Cullison (12 PPG) and senior Zack Root (9.7 PPG) in order to stay with its Metro League opponents this season.
#10 Skyview Academy (3-2) has struggled to be competitive in the Metro League. After a winning December record, seniors Jake Gregory (10 PPG) and Luke Wright (10.2 PPG) hope to change that for coach Tom Lederink’s Hawks—a tall order given the talent present across the league.
#11 Stargate School (2-4) is a new high school in its third season of CHSAA competition and second season in the Metro League. The Eagles were 1-9 last season in the tough Metro League. With another year under their belt, the seniors on this team led by Nathan Guerrero Jr. (17 PPG) may help Stargate post a couple more league victories this season under new coach Jason Gray.