Class 1A Girls Basketball Breakdowns


Picture by Joe Skerjanec & OTSportChek (Briggsdale vs Fleming)



All eight regional brackets begin play today, with the winners advancing to the Sweet 16. Teams are crisscrossing the state for these regional semifinals.


One team made it to this point in the season unbeaten and it’s the #1 McClave Lady Cardinals (21-0). The Lady Cards remained unscathed behind a mix of talented freshman and savvy upperclassmen. Three of their top four scorers are freshman, led by Abrielle Gomez at 14.7 points per game. She also grabs six rebounds and blocks more than two shots a game. Classmates Ashlynn Steinbrunn (7.1 ppg) and Zoe Martinez (5.9 ppg) are third and fourth in scoring, with junior McKayla Kiniston sitting second at just under 10 a game. Add team-leading totals of 7.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 7.5 steals and she’s one of the most impactful players on the court. The Lady Cards had a few narrow escapes on the season, winning seven games by single digits, including the District 2 title game over Kit Carson (57-48).

They will meet up with a familiar face to open the region, as #32 South Baca (8-12) is the draw. McClave handed the Lady Patriots a 44-14 loss in late-January. The Lady Patriots were bounced in the District 3 semifinals, 42-20, by Springfield. It was their fourth loss in the last seven games. After posting a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds in the quarterfinals, Kate Elmore was held to nine points and six boards in the semifinal loss, but she also recorded eight blocks. On the season she averages 11.4 points, 11.9 rebounds, and more than five blocks a game. In the previous meeting with McClave, she tallied 10 points, 12 boards, five steals, and five blocks. Gomez led the Lady Cards with 16 points, eight rebounds, four steals, and three blocks. McClave has won three straight in the series, but South Baca is 9-6 in the last 15.

Two more familiar foes square off in the other semifinal, with #16 Kim/Branson (12-8) taking on #17 Cheyenne Wells (7-13). They met in mid-January, with Kim/Branson snagging a 32-24 victory. That was the last game in a five-game winning streak for the Lady Mustangs, the last positive streak of more than two games for the rest of the season. They closed out with four straight losses, including a 34-33 defeat by La Veta in the D3 quarterfinals. Ysabel Gonzalez led the team with 10 points in that outing. Emmalee Buhrle stuffs the stat sheet, averaging 9.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and almost six blocks a game this season.

Cheyenne Wells dealt with some key injuries early in the season, and went 0-5 in High Plains league play. After breaking a five-game losing streak near the midpoint of the regular season, the Lady Tigers started on a three-game winning run. They could not maintain the momentum, losing their next three and five of their last seven. Their last loss was a 26-22 heartbreaker to Kit Carson in the D2 quarterfinals. Sophomore Paige Ryser leads a young squad with 11.4 points and more than four steals a game, and junior Shaylee Scheler adds 7.1 points and 2.5 steals. The Lady Tigers have one senior on the roster, Kassadee Dickey, who missed half of the season due to a serious illness.

In the first meeting between the two programs this season, Buhrle led the Lady Mustangs with 11 points and nine blocks. Scheler had 10 points and four steals for Cheyenne Wells. Ryser did not play in that contest. Kim/Branson has won three of the last four meetings in the series.


Entering the regional round on a 13-game winning streak, #8 Sangre de Cristo (19-2) is one of the hottest teams in the classification. The Lady Thunderbirds ran through the Southern Peaks league without dropping a game, and backed that up by dominating their way through last week’s District 6 tournament. They won their two games in the event by a total of 69 points, including a 54-40 win over Sierra Grande in the title game. They’ve only been held to fewer than 50 points once in their current winning streak. Four players average at least eight points a night for the balanced attack, led by Peyton Metz at 13.3, followed by Idahlia Garcia (9.8), Palma Enriquez (9.6), and Presley Wilson (8.3).

North Park (7-13) started the season 1-9, but the #25 Lady Wildcats bounced back to win six of their final 10. A 69-32 victory over Caprock Academy in the District 1 quarterfinal was their third straight down the stretch, but that run came to an end in a 68-24 semifinal loss to Dove Creek. Dezirae Gonzales posted a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead North Park in that contest. On the season, the junior averages 21 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 4.1 steals per game.

In what has been nothing short of an amazing resurgence, #9 Granada (18-3) is one victory away from matching the win total of the last four seasons, combined. It’s the first time the program has recorded more than eight wins in a season during the MaxPreps era, which dates back to the 2006-07 season, and is the first winning season in that span. Two of their three losses have come against McClave, the most recent by six points, and the other was to Kit Carson in the D2 semifinals. Marissa Valenzuela led the Lady Bobcats with 15 points in that 49-46 loss, and Trinidie Quintana recorded a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Lady Bobcats bounced back from that loss to beat Eads 49-26 for third place in the district.

Health is a big question mark for #24 Genoa-Hugo (8-14) as the Lady Pirates enter regionals. Their second-leading scorer on the year, Hailey Ewing (5.6 ppg) missed time during the season due to a concussion, and freshman point guard Amy Pinon left last week’s District 7 championship game loss with an injury. The Lady Pirates were able to stay close to Kiowa for a half, but a 30-15 second half allowed the Lady Indians to pull away for the 51-29 victory. Baylee Kelly, who leads the team in scoring at 7.6 ppg, had seven in that loss. Ewing led with eight.


Playing in the mixed Union Pacific league turned out to be a blessing for #5 Stratton (14-8), as the Lady Eagles saw three teams in the 2A field, including one of the top three seeds (Burlington). They lost two of those three games by nine and eight points, but responded with four straight wins to earn the District 5 title. The Lady Eagles beat Idalia twice to bookend the run, taking a 47-41 win in the championship clash. Sedonia Isenbart, who went for 24 in the regular season finale against Idalia, led the way with 13 the second time around. The junior, who averages just over 18 ppg, has scored double figures in the last 21. She was held to nine in a season-opening loss to Akron, while her minutes were being limited as she returned from knee surgery last February.

Prairie (8-12) faced a tough schedule this season, with the #28 Lady Mustangs dropping seven games to 2A opponents. They also had to face Fleming and Briggsdale, which resulted in three more losses. Alliyah Nelson exploded for 18 points in their District 4 semifinal loss to Fleming (55-37). It was her fifth game of 12 or more in her last six, and a season-high.

Awaiting the winner in the other half of the bracket will be either #12 Idalia (14-8) or #21 La Veta (11-11). Idalia won the YWKC title in unbeaten fashion, but finished second to Stratton in D5. Only one of their losses came by more than 11 points, and four were by single digits (two in OT). The Lady Wolves lost Kierstin Wingfield five games into the season to a knee injury, but saw Jenna Wieser make her season debut the next game. Wieser has averaged 11 points, more than six and a half rebounds, almost three assists, and 3.5 steals since returning from an injury of her own. Jaylyn Kechter has recorded seven double-doubles on the season and leads the team with 12 points and nine boards a night. Krista Wieser (9.5 ppg) and Ailyn Monarrez (7.5 ppg) combine for 17 points a game.

La Veta knows a thing or two about tough schedules, as the Lady Redhawks have three losses to 2A regional qualifiers, and all of their remaining losses were to teams playing in the 1A regionals. They had a four-game winning streak snapped by Springfield in the D3 finals, 65-33. Kendyl Eddleman, one of the more dynamic players in the classification, was held to six points in that loss, more than seven points below her season average. Sophomore Aspen Autry led with 17. She’s been on a tear recently, posting double figures in 12 of her last 13 games. Four of those were over 20 points, including a career-high 29 against Cotopaxi. She already has seven games of more than 20 points in her career.


Dove Creek (19-2) is a program that tends to fly under the radar across most of the state. The #4 Lady Bulldogs have been one of the more consistent programs in 1A, winning at least 13 games every year since the 2017-18 season. A win in the semifinals would give them their second straight 20-victory campaign. The Lady Bulldogs ride an 18-game winning streak into their regional contest against #29 De Beque (10-10), They have scored at least 55 points in all but two of those wins, and have topped 60 in six straight. Rylee Hickman (21) and Kylie Gatlin (18) combined for 39 points in their 64-16 D1 championship game win over Nucla.

De Beque felt the bite of the Lady Bulldogs (82-23) early in the season, just one of many contests the Lady Dragons had against regional qualifiers in multiple classes. They enjoyed a four-game winning streak in late-January, that culminated in an early-February win over 2A Plateau Valley (49-44). PV is hosting a 2A region this weekend. The Lady Dragons could not carry that momentum the rest of the way, as they lost their final four games, and five of their last six. They were bumped out of the D1 semifinals by Nucla, 46-29. Avery Rigsby (10) and Rachel Graham (9) combined for 19 points in that loss, right on their combined total for the season.

In the earlier meeting, which was the third straight for Dove Creek in the series, the Lady Bulldogs got 17 from Lexi Gray, 14 apiece from Hickman and Gatlin, and a dozen from Kalie Gatlin. Graham led De Beque with 12 and Ally Sandidge added 10.

After starting the season 12-1, with a 10-game winning streak, the season closed on a sour note for #13 Cheraw (14-6). The Lady Wolverines dropped five of their final seven games. Abby Provost (15) and Crislyn Miell (10) combined for 25 points in their 43-41 loss to Eads in the D2 quarterfinals. On the season, they both average right around 10 a game.

With a roster of only eight, #20 Otis (8-13) went through some rough stretches this season. The Lady Bulldogs opened the year with five straight losses and had another three-game skid late in the season. But, they strung together three straight wins late in the season to secure a spot in regionals, and reached the D5 semifinals, where Stratton beat them 59-35. Balance has been important for the Lady Bulldogs, who have four players averaging at least 8.3 ppg. Alli Hornung leads at 9.3 ppg, followed by Aedyn Tribelhorn (9.1), Hailey Stivers (8.8), and Madilyn Willeke (8.3).


The two-time defending state champions, #2 Flatirons Academy (20-1) enters the regional bracket as one of the favorites to hoist the hardware again. The Lady Bison’s lone loss this season (66-64) was to Resurrection Christian, who made the Sweet 16 in Class 4A. Emma Cox went for 29 points and 13 rebounds, while Emily Dehaan added 21 points in that contest. Kenlee Durrill, who leads the team at just over 16 points, was held to six, but she did distribute six assists. She leads the state at 7.3 dimes a game. Scoring depth makes the Lady Bison such a tough out, as four players score at least 10 a game. Behind Durrill are Cox (15.5), Dehaan (14.9), and Annabelle Rakers (10.2).

The first team to get a shot at the Lady Bison in the state bracket is #31 Wiley (6-13) who has the fewest wins of any team in the field. The Lady Panthers started the season 0-4, with every loss coming against a regional qualifier. Each of their 12 losses to in-state opponents was against a team in regionals. They suffered losses in their final three games, including a tough 43-39 defeat by Granada in the D2 quarterfinals. Wiley had fallen to the Lady Bobcats 66-25 in December. In the most recent loss, Fatima Gomez went for 12 points and 11 boards, as well as recording four assists. She averages just under eight points and 7.5 rebounds a night.

Hi-Plains (11-8) was one of the more surprising teams in the state, with the #15 Lady Patriots matching their win total of the past two seasons, combined. They had a three-game winning streak snapped in the D5 quarterfinals by Arickaree (40-37), the same team they ousted in the quarters last season. Still, they Lady Patriots enter regionals with wins in six of their last eight. The other loss came against 2A Akron. Hi-Plains also had a one-point OT loss to Cheyenne Wells right before this hot streak. Caelan Church has elevated her play to give the team right around 10 points and six rebounds a night.

Belleview Christian (11-10) enters the regional bracket with a bad taste in its mouth. The #18 Lady Bruins had a three-game winning streak snapped by Flatirons Academy 66-6 in the finals of the District 8 tournament. They went 5-2 down the stretch, with both losses coming to the Lady Bison. The earlier one was by a 66-16 count. Bethany Long has been a special player throughout her high school career, averaging a double-double of 10.9 points and 10.5 rebounds over her four years for the Lady Bruins. She is just nine boards away from a 700 point/700 rebound career.


Springfield (15-6) has shown at times this season an ability to play at a very high level. The #7 Lady Longhorns won nine of their final 11, going 5-0 inside the Ark Valley and beating La Veta 65-33 for the D3 title. Of their losses, two were against Kit Carson, two to Granada, and one was against McClave. The remaining defeat came to a Kansas program. Brakelle Westphal led Springfield with 21 points in the district championship contest, while Kendall Myers (12), Bay Ellis (11), and Madison Varnado (10) all joined her in double digits. Ellis made it a double-double by grabbing 14 rebounds.

Flagler (8-12) struggled with top competition this season, as the Lady Panthers (#26) only picked up three wins in 15 games against regional qualifiers. The Lady Panthers dropped both of their last two games against Otis, 63-51 in the regular season finale, and 49-37 in the quarterfinals of the D5 tourney. Jaylie Stone leads a trio of scorers in double digits this season at 12.7 points. Madison Crisp adds 10.6, and Allison Daly is at 10.2. Daly is a major threat on the perimeter.

Should Springfield win its semifinal, the Lady Longhorns are guaranteed to find a familiar face in the Sweet 16. Squaring off in the bottom half of the draw is #10 Kit Carson (15-7) and #23 Sierra Grande (12-10). Kit Carson was tested throughout the season, with the Lady Wildcats playing 21 of their 22 games against regional qualifiers. They went 14-7 in those games. Three of the losses came to McClave, with the final one coming in the D2 championship 57-48. They trailed by 25 entering the fourth quarter. Tess Johnson, who had scored 20 in a 49-46 semifinal win over Granada, led the Lady Wildcats with 23 in the loss to McClave.

Sierra Grande did not face quite the same loaded schedule as that of Kit Carson’s, but the Lady Panthers still saw their fair share of regional qualifiers. They struggled to a 1-10 mark in those games, with the lone win coming early in the season over South Baca. Mariana Loya is a hidden gem for the D6 runners-up, averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds a game.

This will be the first meeting between the programs since 2009. Kit Carson won that regional contest 47-29.


Fresh off a 20-win campaign last year, #6 Kiowa (18-3) can add its third such season under coach Rick Carothers by winning the region and advancing to the Great 8. The Lady Indians came up one win shy of that accomplishment last year, as they fell in the regional finals. They have been very good at home this season, posting a 9-1 mark, which improves their chances of making it to UNC next week. After falling to Briggsdale by 20 late in the season, Kiowa went on to win its final three games, earning the D7 title along the way. Kendra Byrd leads three Lady Indians in double figures at 16.6 ppg, with Jordan Perreault (13 ppg) and Paola Vidales (10.6) joining her.

Front Range Baptist (9-10) helped its cause by beating Rocky Mountain Lutheran 39-19 in the third place game of the D8 tournament. It was just the second win in the last five games for the #27 Lady Falcons and their third in the last eight. They went 1-6 in games against regional qualifiers. Katie Jaques (10.2 ppg) and Libby Sutton (9.1 ppg) provide a solid 1-2 attack for the Lady Falcons.

The bottom half of the draw has two teams that nearly met earlier this season, with #11 Fleming (13-7) facing #22 Arickaree (10-10). Arickaree played in Fleming’s tournament in early-January, but could not make it to the finals to square off against the Lady Wildcats. It was a rough closing stretch for the Lady Wildcats, who faced regional qualifiers in their final eight games, going 4-4 in that run. The losses were to the #1 seed in 1A (McClave), #2 in 1A (Flatirons Academy), #2 in 2A (Sedgwick County) and #3 in 1A (Briggsdale). They pushed the Lady Falcons to OT in last week’s D4 title game, before falling 50-41.

Under their third head coach in as many years, and in their first season away from the athletic co-op with Woodlin (not to mention the first with a new mascot), Arickaree was 4-5 at the midpoint of the regular season. The Lady Bison dropped two straight before winning five of their next six. They closed the season 1-2, upsetting Hi-Plains in the D5 quarters and falling to Idalia 63-34 in the semifinals. Janiya Smith had a career-high 22 points in the win over Hi-Plains and averages just over 10 a game. Cora Schrock is just under 10 ppg.

Fleming is 5-0 against Arickaree, including a 4-0 mark as Arickaree/Woodlin. The last of those was in early 2021, a 51-19 Lady Wildcat victory.


After reaching and losing the state championship game last year, #3 Briggsdale (19-2) has been on a mission to finish the deal this season. The Lady Falcons won their first 11 games before dropping the title game rematch to Flatirons Academy 53-47. They put four more wins up, before losing to 2A Sedgwick County by one. They are on another four-game streak after beating Fleming in the D4 title contest last week. Junior Jenna Krise, who went over 1000 career points earlier in the year, had 22 to go with three blocks in that win. Kayl Klem added nine points and six boards. Peyton Nicklas, a senior, broke the school record for career made three-pointers earlier this season. She’s 50 out of 149 this season.

Rocky Mountain Lutheran (9-10) lost both of its D8 tournament games, including a 39-19 decision to Front Range Baptist in the third place game. The Lady Eagles (#30) enter the regional bracket having lost six of their last seven overall. Half of those losses were by single digits. On a team that struggles with offensive production, Ginny Shade carries a big portion of the workload. The junior averages 14.5 points and 8.4 rebounds, while also snaring more than seven steals and blocking close to three shots.

The High Plains league and District 2 were as deep as any in the classification and #14 Eads (11-11) is a testament to that. They finished fifth in league play and just took fourth in the D2 bracket, earning a top-16 seed with 11 losses. You have to go back to early-January to find a game against an opponent that is not playing this weekend. Among their nine in-state losses are a pair of single digit defeats by Kit Carson, two to McClave, two to Granada, and one to Cheraw. Those are just to teams in their league and district. Tailee Weeks-Johnson has had a very good freshman season, averaging 10 points and six rebounds, while also collecting more than 3.5 steals a contest.

Nucla (11-9) has definitely been pressure tested this season, dropping four contests to 2A regional qualifiers, plus four to Dove Creek. The #19 Lady Mustangs also took two out of three from De Beque and they have a win over North Park. Candis Staats leads the way at 15 points and close to nine rebounds, while Lisa Sutherland adds 10 points, better than 11 rebounds, and more than 3.5 steals a contest.