CLASS 1A GIRLS BASKETBALL WEEKLY PREVIEW
BY: KERRY SHERMAN
The first month of the season, which featured a number of tournaments, is in the rearview mirror, and the mad rush to the postseason has begun with schools returning from their holiday breaks. The final week of games in December were greatly impacted by the weather, causing many postponements. January has already seen the same, with Monday’s snow storm. Tuesday’s clash between Arickaree and Deer Trail was moved to Wednesday because of school a school cancellation.
The aforementioned contest between Arickaree and Deer Trail will pit a pair of unbeaten teams against each other. Because of postponements, Arickaree only played one game in December, a convincing 45-27 victory over Genoa-Hugo. Sophomore Raeya Schrock posted a solid stat line of seven points, eight rebounds, five steals, and four assists in the win.
The Lady Eagles went 3-0 in December, winning their own tournament thanks to victories over Bethune (22-13) and Pikes Peak Christian (47-25). They followed that up with a dominant 50-5 win over Cripple Creek-Victor, in which Alex Donovan went for 18 points and seven steals.
The action begins to pick up a bit on Thursday with four games on tap. Fourth-ranked McClave (6-0) hosts #17 Cheyenne Wells (2-3) in the High Plains opener for both squads. The Lady Cards went 3-0 in the Border Wars, beating three Kansas schools, and then followed that up by taking the title in the prestigious Lamar Holiday Tournament. Freshman Abrielle Gomez leads McClave in scoring at 15.2 points a game, and McKayla Kinniston adds 10 a night.
Things haven’t started the way the Lady Tigers had expected after making their first trip to the state tournament in a generation last season. They struggled against the Kansas schools in the Border Wars, going 1-2, and then split a pair of games in the Idalia tournament, falling to #2 Briggsdale and beating Longmont Christian. Paige Ryser is looking to back up a solid freshman campaign and is averaging 10 points a game. No one else even averages six points, but the Lady Tigers do get production on a nightly basis from 11 players.
Stratton (1-2) hosts Otis (0-4) in a rescheduled contest that was postponed before the break by snow. It’s a rematch from the third place game of the Akron Holiday Tournament, which Stratton won 42-37. Otis took a 29-26 lead into the fourth after being tied at 18-all at the half, but the Lady Eagles came on strong in the final eight minutes to steal the victory. They enter the week ranked 11th, just five points out of the top ten. Sedonia Isenbart has been on a bit of a pitch count as she recovers from knee surgery last February. She scored 20 in the first meeting with the Lady Bulldogs.
Outside of a 20-point loss in their season opener, the Lady Bulldogs have been in every game. Their other three losses were by two, 12, and then the five-point loss to Stratton. Hailey Stivers, one of only two seniors on the roster, averages just a tick over 11 points a game. She had 11 in the first clash with the Lady Eagles.
A share of the early lead in the 5280 will go to the winner of Rocky Mountain Lutheran (3-3) and Mile High Academy (2-0). The Lady Eagles got off to a 2-1 start, but then dropped two of their final three games before the break. Ginny Shade (12.3 ppg) and Eva Vogel (8.0 ppg) combine to for just over 20 points a night. As a team, Rocky Mountain Lutheran is scoring 32 a game. Shade leads Class 1A in steals with 8.3 per game.
Mile High Academy’s defense was stingy in the two December wins, allowing a total of 27 points. However, their 26-20 victory over Longmont Christian serves as a bit of a measuring stick for the team, as that was the highest point total for the Lady Warriors in their seven losses. They were held to a total of 14 points in the Idalia Tournament, against two of the top 20 teams in this week’s poll.
The weekend slate will see the rescheduled Fleming Tournament get underway, with Arickaree taking on Gilpin County (3-1) and #3 Fleming (3-0) squaring off against Flagler (2-3) on Friday. Fleming took down a pair of 2A LPAA teams (Haxtun, Caliche) in December, with Kally Kirkwood stuffing the stat sheet at 16 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 4.7 steals. Madi Serrato adds 12 points a game.
Flagler took third in the Kiowa Tournament to begin the season, and the Lady Panthers followed that with a second place finish in their own tourney the next week. They ride a two-game losing streak into 2023 after falling to Genoa-Hugo 36-33 right before the break. That loss was especially painful, as they were outscored 17-9 in the final frame.
The top-ranked and two-time defending champs, Flatiron Academy (7-0) returns to action with a trip to Resurrection Christian (4-4). That first month of the season was impressive for the Lady Bison in the fact that every win was against teams that are either 2A or 3A. They’ll look to keep that streak going as they face the smallest 4A program. Three-time first team all-stater, Kenlee Durrill, leads a high-powered attack at 17.1 ppg. Emily Dehaan (2nd team all-state last year) adds 13.7, and Emma Cox (1st team all-state) gives 11.6 a night. Annabelle Rakers is also averaging double figures at 10 points a contest. Durrill is tops in 1A with 6.9 assists a game and her scoring has her sixth.
Resurrection Christian lost its final four games of December after a 4-0 start. The Lady Cougars are led by Mackenzie Flikkema at 14.9 points, and Olivia Klein, a 3A honorable mention all-state performer as a freshman, with 13 points a game.
Two big match-ups in the southeast corner also highlight the Friday night schedule. Seventh-ranked Kit Carson (4-1) visits Eads (4-3) and #8 Springfield (5-2) visits #13 Granada (3-1).
We start with the High Plains opener for Kit Carson and Eads. The Lady Wildcats won the championship at the Flagler Tournament, outscoring their two opponents 122-50. They then opened the Lamar Holiday Tournament with a very tough 30-24 win over Eads. The Lady Wildcats took the win with an 8-0 fourth quarter. Kit Carson fell to McClave 43-34 in the semifinals, and then claimed third place with a 42-22 win over Springfield. Lindsay Mayhan is the lone player in double figures on the season at 10.6 points a night, but the senior duo of Tess Johnson and Kenzie Waggoner aren’t far behind at 9.4 apiece.
Eads closed the first month of the season by winning its final two games, earning the consolation championship of the Lamar Holiday Tournament. After the tough opening round loss to Kit Carson, the Lady Eagles took out Wiley and Holly to earn the hardware. They have won three of their last four, using a 9-7 fourth quarter to beat Greeley County (KS) 26-24 in the Border Wars. Freshman Tailee Weeks-Johnson matches Mayhan, scoring 10.6 points a game, but the production drops off behind her. No one else averages more than five points.
Springfield got out of the gates 5-0, but losses to Granada (45-41) and Kit Carson left a sour taste in the mouths of the Lady Longhorns, as they finished fourth in the Lamar Holiday Tournament. They trailed Granada 30-26 at halftime of their semifinal contest, and held a slim 37-36 lead going into the fourth, only to be outscored 9-4 in the frame. Brakelle Westphal had a double-double in the loss, scoring 25 points and ripping down 13 rebounds. The senior is averaging 16.2 points and 7.8 rebounds, leading the team in both categories.
The LHBT was good to the Lady Bobcats, who broke what was at least a 26 game losing streak to Holly in the opener, posting an 81-41 victory. TorLin Riddle registered 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Trinidie Quintana added 16 points and 14 boards. The semifinal win over Springfield was the second straight for the Lady Bobcats, who had lost at least 19 straight in the series before getting a win last January, earning their first trip to the title game in 21 years. They came up short in that game against McClave, 54-31.
Tenth-ranked Idalia (3-2) nearly beat 2A Akron in the finals of the Akron Holiday Tournament, but a late run by the Lady Rams led to a 45-35 loss by Idalia. The Lady Wolves picked up two straight wins after that defeat, and pushed Briggsdale in a 49-38 loss in the finals of their own tournament. They will host St. Francis (KS) who comes in at 4-1 on the season. Freshman Jaylyn Kechter nearly averages a double-double, checking in at 13.6 points and 9.2 rebounds. Krista Wieser (9.0 ppg) and Ailyn Monarrez (8.6 ppg) give first year head coach Myles Johnson three scoring threats.
Several top teams are in action on Saturday, including #6 Dove Creek (6-2) who travels to Telluride (0-7) in the San Juan Basin opener for both teams. The Lady Bulldogs spent the month of December in tournaments, picking up a pair of championships after finishing fourth in the Centauri tourney. They rolled through the tournament at Rangely, and then did the same at their own event. Lexi Gray, who earned honorable mention all-state last year, leads the way with 12.9 points and 10.1 rebounds a game. Rylee Hickman pitches in 11.5 ppg and seven boards.
Points have been hard to come by for the Lady Miners, who have been held to single digits in four of their losses. Their season high is 12, against North Park and Montezuma-Cortez. The program has dropped 30 straight games and has not posted a winning season since 2011-12.
Kit Carson travels to #5 Kiowa (5-0) for a top-ten showdown. The Lady Indians won the title at their own tournament to open the season and then rolled through three non-conference games to close out 2022. Kendra Byrd is fourth in the classification at 19.2 points per game, and she gets plenty of help from Jordan Perreault (13.2 ppg) and Paolo Vidales (10.6 ppg). The trio combines for 20 rebounds. Perreault is third in the state with 4.8 assists a night, and Vidales is fifth in steals (5.4).
Second-ranked Briggsdale (4-0) opened the season with a 49-33 win over 3A Yuma and the Lady Falcons never let up, winning their next three games by 37, 39, and 11. Jenna Krise is tied for the state lead in scoring at 23 points a game. She’s also second in assists (6.0), as well as being among the leaders with eight rebounds and 3.5 steals a night. Macie Klem (11.8 ppg) and Peyton Nicklas (11.5 ppg) provide two more strong scoring threats. They’ll take on Stratton, who has Sedonia Isenbart averaging 13.3 points, and Sophie Isenbart, who adds 6.7 points and 8.7 rebounds.
Eighth-ranked Sangre de Cristo (6-1) finally gets back to work as the Lady Thunderbirds visit Del Norte (3-3) on Saturday. Their lone blemish came in the semifinals of the Holiday Tournament against the host, Simla. Their best wins in the month came in the Center tourney, when they beat the 2A hosts and #12 Cheraw. Peyton Metz leads a trio of double digit scorers at 14.7 ppg. Her six steals a game are good for second in the classification. Palma Enriquez (13.0 ppg) and Presley Wilson (10.0 ppg) join Metz in doubles. After an 0-3 start, 2A Del Norte closed the early part of the season with three straight wins.
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