3A METRO LEAGUE BOYS’ BASKETBALL REPORT #4
By Doug Wright
Here is an update on the 3A Metro League boys’ teams, which are in the Metro League playoffs this week. The league tournament play-in games and quarterfinal games followed script as higher seeded teams won with the exception of #5 seed Colorado Academy edging #4 seed Bishop Machebeuf in overtime. A total of 7 of the 11 teams in the always competitive Metro League appear headed for the 3A State tournament thanks to strong RPIs, which we list for each team below. The remainder of the Metro League tournament will help determine where they end up in next month’s State tourney.
Metro League Tournament Results (# = League tournament seed):
Play-In Games (2/22). Losers are eliminated from post-season play.
#8 Peak to Peak over #9 Stargate Academy
#7 Kent Denver over #10 Prospect Ridge Academy
#6 Jefferson Academy over #11 Skyview Academy
Quarterfinal Games (2/25). Winners advance to Final Four; losers move to Consolation bracket.
#1 Lutheran over #8 Peak to Peak 91-38
#2 Faith Christian over #7 Kent Denver 48-40
#3 Manual over #6 Jefferson Academy 60-48
#5 Colorado Academy over #4 Bishop Machebeuf 57-52 (OT)
Semifinal Games (2/27 at Manual HS).
#1 Lutheran vs. #5 Colorado Academy
#2 Faith Christian vs. #3 Manual
Championship and Third Place Games (2/29 at Manual HS)
Championship Final Four Summary:
Lutheran (18-2, 10-0 Metro League, RPI #3) has dominated the Metro League this season, going undefeated and rarely challenged. The athletic and deep Lions have a formidable front line featuring 6’11” freshman Baye Fall and 6’7” junior Mamadou Sou. Fall is second in the league in scoring (19.9 PPG) and first in rebounding (10.6 RPG) and blocked shots (3.6 BPG). Their semifinal opponent, Colorado Academy (11-9, 6-4, RPI #26), has made a late season run to relevance in the league and in the RPI rankings. While very well coached, the Mustangs lack the size and athleticism to hang with Lutheran, as evidenced by a 23 point loss to the Lions two weeks ago.
The other semifinal features Faith Christian (17-3, 9-1 Metro League, RPI #2) against defending 3A State champion Manual (13-7, 7-3 Metro League, RPI #12). Faith Christian is, as always, a well coached, disciplined team that doesn’t beat itself. Manual has had a bit of an up and down season that included a 7 point loss to Faith Christian in late January. However, Manual has the league’s leading scorer in Jaden Stoffell (24 PPG), who starred in last season’s title run, along with talented sophomore Jordan Reed (15.6 PPG) and will be playing at home in the Thunderdome, which can carry a decent home court advantage. This could be a barnburner to close Thursday’s semifinal round.
The final between Lutheran and either Manual or Faith Christian should also be a very hotly contested game. Although Lutheran blasted Faith Christian by 31 during the regular season—the only league loss by the Eagles—Faith Christian has the ability to control tempo and force Lutheran out of its game. We’d nevertheless expect Lutheran to prevail in that matchup. Lutheran vs. Manual would be an up and down free for all. Manual took the Lions to double overtime on the road at Lutheran before falling 82-74. A rematch would be a fitting ending to the Metro League season, and perhaps a harbinger of another meeting in the State tournament as both teams should go deep in that tourney.
Predictions: Semifinals: Lutheran over Colorado Academy; Manual over Faith Christian
Final: Lutheran over Manual
Third Place: Faith Christian over Colorado Academy
Consolation Final Four Summary:
After a surprisingly strong Metro League season, Bishop Machebeuf (14-7, 5-5 Metro League, RPI #22) is the highest seed (#4) in the Consolation bracket after a narrow overtime loss to #5 Colorado Academy in the quarterfinals. The Buffaloes’ opponent is #8 seed Peak to Peak (9-12, 3-7 Metro League, RPI #42). Based on a 24 point margin of victory for Bishop Machebeuf over the Pumas in the league game, we expect the Buffs to easily advance to the Consolation finals.
The other Consolation semifinal features Jefferson Academy (14-7, 5-5 Metro League, RPI #21) and Kent Denver (11-10, 5-5 Metro League, RPI #24). Both of these teams have been tough outs during the regular season and are evenly matched; however, Jefferson Academy defeated the Sun Devils by a dozen points in the regular season and appears to have a slight edge overall. We expect a similar result this time. Fortunately, both teams have solid RPIs placing them safely in the 3A State tournament.
The final for the Consolation title (5th place), projected to be between Bishop Machebeuf and Jefferson Academy, also should be a competitive game. The Buffaloes defeated the Jaguars by 12 at home just a week ago; however, we think Jefferson Academy turns the tables on Bishop Machebeuf in the final league game of solid senior Jaguars guard Elian Soto (19.5 PPG).
Predictions: Semifinals: Bishop Machebeuf over Peak to Peak; Jefferson Academy over Kent Denver
Final (Fifth Place): Jefferson Academy over Bishop Machebeuf
Seventh Place: Game Not Played