SAN LUIS VALLEY—As the basketball season enters the final two weeks of the basketball season, Kevin Schaefer of Colorado Preps has written these league breakdowns to help figure out where teams are as post season play approaches.
Class 3A Intermountain League
On the boys’ side, Alamosa took control of the league chase a week ago Friday as they downed Pagosa Springs (45-35) to gain sole possession of first place but any advantage created by that win was lost when the Moose lost back-to-back games against Centauri and Monte Vista last week. With those results and others last week, Pagosa Springs is now alone in first (3-1) with Alamosa (4-2), Centauri (3-2) and Monte Vista (3-3) still in the picture. A key game between Pagosa Springs and Centauri slated for last Saturday was also postponed so even more chaos could have been created based on that game which will now be played on the 22nd. Pagosa Springs and Alamosa rematch this Saturday but the Pirates also host Bayfield the night before. Alamosa has just the one game with the Pirates while Centauri also has just one date hosting Bayfield on Saturday. The IML will have three qualifiers to the district tournament.
We may have already known the league champion on the girls’ side by now but the scheduled rematch between No. 1 Centauri and No. 5 Pagosa Springs scheduled for last Saturday was postponed to February 22nd. Since those two teams seem to be the best in the league, the outcome of game two would have likely determined the champion. Centauri rallied past Pagosa Springs 26-24 in the first meeting and that game separates the two in first and second. Alamosa and Bayfield each has three league losses and are both battling for third. The Moose won the first game 53-52 with game two slated for the 21st so the winner likely nabs the third spot but Alamosa could move closer to second by winning at Pagosa Springs this Saturday.
Class 2A Southern Peaks League
The league champion will be determined on Friday when Sanford (5-0) meets Sierra Grande (6-1). The teams are 1-2 in the league race and the winner should end up the conference championship. The Indians are favored but most fans don’t expect a repeat of their 66-34 blowout of the Panthers on December 14th as Friday’s battle should be much more competitive. Sanford is unbeaten against 2A foes this year and features a very good basketball team that has both an inside game with Chance Canty and Brett Crowther and several shooters that can knock down the three such as Calder Larsen, Dalton Rodriquez and Dustin Faucette. Canty could be the best freshman in Class 2A and the Indians do not have a senior on the roster so this run could continue for the next few years. Defensively they’re also fundamentally sound and will try to slow the pace a bit against the run and gun Panthers. Sierra Grande is averaging 68 points a game but is coming off a 100-point effort in last Friday’s win over Center. It was their sixth straight victory. Ricardo Howard (23), Tomas Vigil (21), Elijah Ontiveros (16), Braydon Wakasugi (14), Adam Gomez (10) and Michael Ontiveros (10) all reached double figures in the win. The team also combined for 20 assists as they broke free for several easy fast break baskets. They will look to push the pace on Friday. Sangre De Cristo and Sargent (5-2) are tied for third with Sargent claiming a 56-34 head-to-head win. The T-Birds though do own a win over Sierra Grande so if the Panthers lose to create a three way tie for second, a different tiebreaker other than head-to-head will be needed to seed the teams for districts. Sangre also has a league date at Sanford on the 22nd remaining so that outcome will also factor into the picture. Sargent has won four straight and despite three road games, the closing schedule favors them a bit. They’ll be favored at Cripple Creek this Friday before heading to Center and Custer County next week. The finale with the Bobcats should be the most difficult.
Sangre De Cristo’s 52-43 road win at Del Norte last Thursday gave the league championship to the Lady Thunderbirds. It was the eighth straight win for T-Birds who last lost to 3A top ten member Pagosa Springs (50-33) in the first game back from the Christmas break. They close with league games against Sanford and Cripple Creek in the final week. Sangre of course would like to keep winning all the way through the district tournament with hopes of earning a higher regional tournament placement. Sorting out second place will be a bit more difficult as Del Norte, Custer County, Sargent and Sanford are all 4-2. There is only one head-to-head matchup involving those four teams remaining on the schedule and that game takes place on the 22nd between Sargent and Custer County in Westcliffe. Sanford is the only one of the four that has yet to face first place Sangre Cristo and that contest takes place on the same night in Sanford. Those two games will help break up the four way tie possibly leaving fans with a two way tie for second and fourth leaving head-to-head results as the tiebreaker for seeding the district tournament.
Class 1A Southern Peaks League
La Veta (9-0) has dominated the boys’ league slate this year and along the way has built a two game lead on second place Cotopaxi (7-2) and a three game edge on Primero (5-3). The Redskins have just one league game remaining with Cotopaxi on Saturday so they’ve already clinched the league championship. Also up this week is an important game with Sangre De Cristo on Thursday. We list it as important as it gives the Redskins a strong opponent from a larger class (2A) to help prep for the district tournament next week. All three of their losses are against larger schools (Sargent and Trinidad) or an out of state opponent (Springer NM). Kyon Kreutzer is the top scorer (13.5) and rebounder (7.4) for the Redskins and he adds 2 assists and 2 steals as well. After being held to just seven points in last week’s loss to Sargent, he exploded for a season high 24 in the Saturday win over Creede. Cotopaxi has two league games remaining as they face both La Veta this Friday and Centennial next Saturday. They need wins in both to stay ahead of Primero for second since they lost to the Bulldogs earlier in the season.
Centennial (6-0) has a two game edge on Cotopaxi (5-2) on the girls’ side and a three game advantage over third place La Veta (5-3). The Rams however have lost two straight overall against 2A opponents Center and Sierra Grande. They return to league play at Primero this Saturday and then go to Creede next Friday. Wins in both will give them the conference championship and make their regular season finale with Cotopaxi mean nothing to the title picture. Centennial won the first game 57-19 and would be heavily favored in the rematch anyway. Cotopaxi and La Veta hook up on Friday with the outcome determining second place. Round one went the Redskins 46-26 and if they repeat that win, then they capture the runner-up spot and get a better seed for districts. Senior Ashton Rinker led the way in game one with 16 points with sophomore Rena Trujillo adding a dozen. Together they outscored the entire Cotopaxi lineup.