CLASS 1A BOYS BASKETBALL DISTRICT PREVIEW – WEDNESDAY
BY: KERRY SHERMAN
It’s a pretty light schedule in Class 1A boys today, with only six games on the slate. District 5 has four quarterfinals, and District 4 was scheduled to have two, but snow has forced those to be postponed until tomorrow. The other two games are semifinals in District 3.
DISTRICT 3 (LA JUNTA HIGH SCHOOL)
With every team remaining in the bracket for District 3 sitting outside the top-16 in the CHSAA Selection and Seeding Index, there’s a chance that the champion might not get to host a regional. However, top-seeded La Veta began Wednesday 17th in the metric, with upwards mobility likely, should the Redhawks win a pair of district games.
They make their district debut against #4 Primero on Wednesday. The Redhawks won their final six regular season games, with one early in that streak coming against Primero. La Veta got 22 points and six assists in the 72-60 victory, while Race Lessar (15) and Trey Medina (12) combined for 27. The Bulldogs used a 41-24 second half to pick up a quarterfinal victory over South Baca on Monday. Freshman Jace Robinson led four Bulldogs in double figures with 18 points. Primero also had four in double figures in the earlier loss to La Veta, with Brett Kendall’s 19 leading the way.
Springfield, the #2 seed, began the day 23rd in the Seeding Index, which should keep the Longhorns in the regional field. But, even a district title might not be enough to earn the right to host a regional bracket. The Longhorns open their postseason against Walsh, who upset #3 Kim/Branson 57-56 in the quarterfinals on Monday. Just about two weeks back, Springfield beat the Eagles 60-53, with Cooper Stolebarger missing a double-double by a rebound (11 points, nine rebounds). He was one of four Longhorns in double figure scoring.
DISTRICT 5 (HOME SITES)
The top two seeds in District 5 each host half of the bracket for the quarterfinal round, with Stratton and Otis earning those honors. The top-seeded Eagles just edged Otis for the #1 spot, and they will open against #8 Bethune. Stratton beat Idalia on Saturday to snap a three-game slide, all against teams in the top-18 of the 2A index. The Eagles had a six-game winning streak midway through the season that included a 49-44 signature victory over 2A #6 Merino. Despite being separated by only 10 miles, the Eagles and Bobcats did not meet during the regular season. Bethune enters the postseason on a four-game losing streak. The Bobcats also had a six-game slide earlier in the season.
The earlier game at Stratton has #4 Idalia facing #5 Hi-Plains. Idalia ended the season with three straight losses, right on the heels of six straight wins. The Wolves suffered six losses on the season by single digits. Hi-Plains was slow out of the gate, dropping six of its first eight. The Patriots would endure another rough stretch with three consecutive losses before winning four of their final six. Idalia won a thrilling 61-54 overtime contest against the Patriots in early January, with Kale Morris leading all scorers with 25 points. Cooper Seaman, Bex Seaman, and Merit Ruddell each had 13 for Hi-Plains.
Otis may not remember what it feels like to lose a game, as the Bulldogs have not had that experience since their first game back from the holiday break. Prior to going on their current 14-game winning streak, Otis lost consecutive games to Stratton in what is their lone losing streak. The Bulldogs host #7 Flagler, a team they just beat 71-22 last Friday. Charlie Kendrick (18) and Jack Willeke (16) combined for 34 points in the win. Camden Bledsoe entered the game needing 20 points to reach 1000 in his Flagler career. He got 13 of them. The Panthers lost their final two games of the season, and have had three other streaks of at least two straight defeats.
Arickaree heated up late in the season, winning its last four games to jump up to the #3 seed. The Bison won those games by a total of 114 points. Sophomore guard Jake King made his season debut just prior to that winning streak after recovering from a foot injury. He’s averaging just over nine points a game, which gives the Bison seven players over five points a contest. Logan Wright is tops at close to 16. Lone Star won three of its last five games, but the Longhorns were hurt by losing streaks of five and four games during the season. They played Arickaree tough in a 54-44 regular season loss, but could not overcome a ten-point halftime deficit. Abraham Martinez led Lone Star with a dozen points in that loss. The Wright Brothers, Logan (18) and Austin (14) combined for 32 for the Bison, and each added eight rebounds.
CLASS 1A GIRLS BASKETBALL DISTRICT PREVIEW – WEDNESDAY
BY: KERRY SHERMAN
After Tuesday’s loaded 1A girls district schedule, Wednesday only has two games to be contested. It’s semifinal time in District 3, while the lone quarterfinal game in District 4, which has been postponed to Thursday because of snow, is essentially a play-in game.
DISTRICT 3 (LA JUNTA HIGH SCHOOL)
After receiving a bye through the quarterfinals, the top two seeds in District 3 finally get to hit the court in the semifinals. Springfield is the #1 team in the bracket and the Lady Longhorns ran through the Arkansas Valley league without a loss. They began the season 5-0, and had another four-game winning steak, but they also had a three-game slide during the season. The Lady Longhorns won three of their last five and seven of nine. One of those was a 26-18 victory over #4 South Baca, who took a 40-24 win over Walsh in the quarterfinals on Monday. Kate Elmore recorded 16 points and 13 rebounds on Monday, but she was held to just three points and seven boards in the earlier loss to Springfield. Kendall Myers led the Lady Longhorns with 10 points.
The other semifinal will have #2 Kim/Branson taking the court for the first time since falling to Springfield last Friday. The Lady Mustangs will face #3 La Veta, who earned the semifinal berth with a 54-22 win over Primero on Monday. Aspen Autry led the Lady Redhawks with 26 points, while Kendyl Eddleman stuffed the stat sheet, recording 18 points, 23 rebounds, seven steals, six assists, and six blocks. Kim/Branson owns a 45-42 win over La Veta during an earlier five-game winning streak. Eddleman (12) and Autry (9) were limited to 21 combined points in the loss, and the Lady Redhawks were led by Tami Morgan’s 17 points. Faith Vernier (18) and Emmalee Buhrle (15) paced the Lady Mustangs.