CLASS 1A GIRLS BASKETBALL WEEKLY PREVIEW
BY: KERRY SHERMAN
Everyone is chasing Flatirons Academy in Class 1A girls, but the two-time defending champs aren’t making it an easy chase. The Lady Bison are 7-1 heading into Thursday night, with all of their previous contests coming against teams from 2A and up. They will finally face an opponent from 1A, as they open 5280 play against Front Range Baptist. That’s one of the games highlighting the upcoming schedule, but the week has already had a handful of clashes that require a quick glance back.
Fleming, sitting fifth in the CHSAA Selection and Seeding Index on Thursday morning, picked up a sixth consecutive win by dropping Lone Star 66-19 on Tuesday. Lexi Schaefer led the way with 19 points and Kally Kirkwood added a dozen.
Right behind the Lady Wildcats in the Seeding Index is Granada, who improved to 6-1 on the season with a 66-25 win at Wiley on Tuesday. The Lady Bobcats are within two wins of matching their highest victory total of the MaxPreps era. They won eight games last season. Five players average eight points a game or better, led by Kiana Herrera at just under 14 a night.
Cheraw is the ninth-ranked team in the Seeding Index and the Lady Wolverines picked up a 28-21 win at home against 2A Crowley County on Tuesday. They led 21-9 at the half, and then had to hold on for the win.
Idalia added a 49-13 victory on the road at Deer Trail, with the Lady Wolves posting shutouts in the opening and closing quarters. Jaylyn Kechter had a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds for the 10th-ranked team in the Seeding Index, while the sister duo of Jenna Wieser (11) and Krista Wieser (!0) combined for 21 points. Alex Donovan led the Lady Eagles with seven. They have dropped two of three to begin the new year. Deer Trail is 17th in the most recent Seeding Index.
Another game involving a top-20 team in the Seeding Index saw Stratton (14th) going on the road and cruising past Cheyenne Wells, 50-28. It was a nice bounce back for the Lady Eagles, who put up a strong effort on Saturday in a 46-37 loss to #2 Briggsdale.
Flatirons Academy nearly claimed a win against a 4A team in its last outing, as the Lady Bison fell 66-64 at Resurrection Christian Last Friday. The Lady Bison fell behind 24-10 in the first eight minutes of the contest, but they found their footing and came on strong over the final three periods. On a night when Kenlee Durrill was held to a season-low six points, Emma Cox led the comeback with 29 points and 13 rebounds. Emily Dehaan added 21 points. For Durrill, it was the first time since her freshman season that she had been held to fewer than eight points in a contest.
This will be the first contest for Front Range Baptist in more than a month. The Lady Falcons last saw action on December 10th, when they beat Union Colony Prep 27-22. They have lost six straight in the series with Flatirons, with their last victory coming in 2018.
Briggsdale puts its unblemished record on the line when the Lady Falcons host Akron, the third-ranked team in 2A. Jenna Krise is coming off a 34 point, 13 rebound performance in the win over Stratton. The big challenge for the Lady Falcons will be slowing Addi Kessinger, who averages 23.6 points and 15.3 rebounds a contest. For good measure, she adds close to five blocks a game.
McClave also puts an unbeaten record on the line, when the 8-0 Lady Cards host Springfield. McClave, ranked third in the Seeding Index, picked up two nice wins last week, beating Cheyenne Wells 56-21 and 2A Simla 46-37. Freshman Abrielle Gomez recorded her second career double-double in the victory at Simla, posting 18 points and 10 rebounds to help power the Lady Cards to the win.
Springfield split a pair of games over last weekend, falling 53-44 at Granada and then beating Cheyenne Wells 35-27 on Saturday. That win stopped a three-game skid, with losses to Granada on both ends of the losing streak. The Lady Longhorns have dropped three straight to McClave, with their last win coming in the 2020 state tournament. That was the last of a five-game winning streak in the series.
Kiowa is currently fourth in the Seeding Index and the Lady Indians will put a six-game winning streak on the line when they host Deer Trail. They opened the month with a huge 49-43 win over #7 Kit Carson last Saturday. Kiowa trailed 27-23 at the half and utilized a 19-10 fourth quarter to earn the comeback victory. Jordan Perreault led everyone with 21 points, and the duo of Kendra Byrd and Paola Vidales combined for 21 points and 19 rebounds.
Donovan had a string of three consecutive games with double figure scoring snapped in the loss to Idalia on Tuesday. The senior matched her career-high of 21 in a win over Hanover last Saturday. Deer Trail has lost five straight to Kiowa, with the program’s last win coming almost exactly a decade ago.
When Granada hosts Holly, the Lady Bobcats will be looking to make it two wins over their neighbors this season. Granada snapped what had been at least a 26-game losing streak to the Lady Wildcats, beating Holly for the first time in the MaxPreps era 81-41 in the opening round of the Lamar Holiday Tournament last month. Granada, behind 24 points from ToriLin Riddle, pulled away from an eight-point halftime lead to claim the lopsided win.
Among the highlights of Friday’s schedule is the non-league clash between Stratton and Fleming. Behind the cousin duo of Sedonia Isenbart and Sophia Isenbart, who averaged a combined 20 points a game in December, the Lady Eagles have steadily improved through the first month and change of the season. Sedonia nearly went for 30 points in last week’s win over Otis, and as she nears the one year mark since tearing her ACL in a loss at Burlington, she continues to look more like the explosive player she had been prior to that injury. Sophia, a freshman, gives the Lady Eagles a strong option in the post.
Fleming has had Stratton’s number, winning 54-36 last season, as well as all seven meetings against the Stratton/Liberty co-op prior to that. Stratton’s last win in the series came back in 2009, before anyone involved in this go-round were even in kindergarten.
If Kiowa can get past Deer Trail on Thursday, the Lady Indians would set the stage for a showdown with 3A Fountain Valley in the Swallows Charter tournament. Both could enter the contest 7-0 overall. It’s the first meeting between the two since 2013. The aforementioned trio of Perreault, Byrd, and Vidales combined for more than 43 points a game, and Lauryn Morehead adds just under nine more.
Dove Creek opens San Juan Basin play at home against Nucla, who is also beginning league play. The Lady Bulldogs sit just inside the top-10 of the Seeding Index at ninth, while Nucla is just outside the top-20, checking in at 21st. Dove Creek has won five straight since suffering a 68-67 loss to 3A Centauri in the opening weekend of the season. One of those wins came against the Lady Mustangs in tournament play right before the break, 43-25. Rylee Hickman and Kylie Gatlin each had 11 in the win, which was the last outing for the Lady Bulldogs.
Nucla has won three of its last four contests, with the loss to Dove Creek as the only setback during that stretch. Haylee Smith leads a trio of Lady Mustangs in double figures at more than 16 points a night. Candis Staats (14 ppg) and Lisa Sutherland (11.7 ppg) give close to 26 points between them. A win by Nucla would be its first since 2017, a span of 12 games.
The wide open YWKC has a pair of important early calendar games on tap, with Idalia hosting Otis and Arickaree welcoming in Hi-Plains. Idalia owns a win over Hi-Plains in league play from last weekend, giving the Lady Wolves the early lead in the league. They also hold a victory over Otis (44-32) in the Akron tournament. Otis shares the league lead thanks to a lopsided win over Bethune last week.
Hi-Plains will look to even its league mark against an Arickaree squad that has not been at full strength since their season-opening win over Genoa-Hugo. That could change this week, as the team was hoping to get two starters, Raeya Schrock and Wynter Van Ness, back from injury.
Most of the top-ten will be in action on Saturday, with Flatirons Academy (vs Evangelical Christian), McClave (at Kim/Branson), Briggsdale (vs Weldon Valley), Fleming (vs Prairie), Kit Carson (vs Hi-Plains), Cheraw (at Sierra Grande), and Idalia (at Wiggins) all having games that will draw attention.
For Kim/Branson, that will be the third straight day with a game, as the Lady Mustangs host La Veta on Thursday and Cheyenne Wells on Friday. They bring a three-game winning streak into that stretch. Last Friday’s 46-13 win over Primero ended a streak of five straight decided by single digits. The Lady Mustangs won four of those five, with the lone loss coming at Cheraw, 27-22.
Of the games on the slate for next Tuesday, most have a 1A team clashing with an opponent from a bigger classification. Dove Creek at Mancos, Kiowa at Gilpin County, Prairie hosting Wiggins, Caprock Academy hosting Rangely are all big cross classification contests on tap. With all four of those contests featuring a top-25 team from 2A, and three of the four having a top-25 team from 1A, winners could see big jumps in their Seeding Index positioning in the release one week from today.
Hi-Plains visiting Stratton and Sangre de Cristo traveling to La Veta are the top contests with two teams from 1A squaring off. If either underdog is able to pull off an upset, they would also be in line for a big jump next Thursday. Sangre has five players averaging at least six points a night, with Peyton Metz pacing the squad at close to 15 a game. That balance will challenge the Red Hawks, who beat Custer County 43-40 on Tuesday to break a four-game skid.