SAN LUIS VALLEY— It’s the holiday season and with the seasonal cheer, comes the midway point in the prep basketball season. Many look forward to a frenzy of basketball playoff positioning in the coming months. CHSAA updates their RPI rankings daily, the rankings are unofficial until the end of the season, for complete listing visit CHSAANow.com.
Last year the Falcons entered the post season with one loss coming at the hands of Pagosa Springs a month prior. Entering the district tournament the Falcons would relent once again to Pagosa’s Pirates. The loss did little to deter Centauri as they entered the State bracket seeded No. 5 and breezed through Round 1 and 2 at the local level. Centauri’s season ended at the Great 8 level at Denver University where they lost to Colorado Springs Christian 52-37.
This year the Falcons are off to a relatively hot start winning their opening four games and are currently on a three game winning streak. Centauri boasts two girls who average near or above double point totals per game in Melissa Wilson and Brenna McDaniel. Junior Mia Garcia is third on the team in scoring but currently leads the team with 2 double-doubles.
Centauri will stay home this Friday when they host 2A’s Sanford (4-1) starting at 6 p.m. After the break the Falcons will begin their league schedule with games against Monte Vista (2-4) and Pagosa Springs (4-1) on Jan. 11th and 12th respectively.
The Mean Moose have been battling to stay above .500 in the early going. It’s a mixed bag for the Moose looking forward. Thankfully Alamosa will be entering a softer portion of their schedule, the Moose will face four teams with losing records in their next five games, one of which resides in 2A.
Unfortunately, after Alamosa hosts Ignacio on Jan. 5 they will go on a seven game road trip where they’ll meet Intermountain League favorites Pagosa Springs (4-1) and Centauri (7-1) in concurrent weeks.
It’ll be all hands on deck for the Moose whose leading scorer Lilly Lavier is currently ranked fourth in the state with six steals per game. Alamosa has also gotten a strong contribution from second year standout Emily Lavier who is second on the team in scoring with a team leading thirteen baskets from downtown.
Alamosa will come back from the Christmas break with a non-league game against Ignacio (2-3) Sat. Jan. 5 starting at 3 p.m.
Last year the Tigers finished their stellar season on a low note, falling to Holyoke 54-43 at their home regional tournament.
This year Del Norte has already avenged one of their losses from last year dispatching Centauri (7-1) 54-47 en route to claiming the title at this year’s La Junta Holiday Shootout. The Tigers, with their leading scorer Kendra Parra and leading rebounder Lacie Jones each ranked in the state statwise, have proven themselves dangerous thus far.
Looking at Del Norte's schedule however the Tiger’s biggest hurdle this season may not even be any of the teams they'll face moving forward but rather staying focused as they enter the post season. With wins already logged against the more dangerous teams on their schedule, Del Norte more will likely need to keep thoughts of an undefeated season from distracting them.
Despite being number one in the RPI rankings the CHSAA polls seem unconvinced, as Wray currently holds the top spot in their top ten rankings with four more first place votes than Del Norte.
Crested Butte (0-5) will provide Del Norte an opportunity to get back in the groove after the holidays on Jan. 11 at 5:30 p.m.
Sanford started their season on a hot streak with four straight wins. Their first loss remains their only loss and the fact that it came to No. 1 Del Norte should also soothe the burn.
Offensively Sanford relies on Freshman Cheyenne Caldon who in her first year leads the team with 8.6 points per game. The lead in rebounds goes to junior Mackenzie Peterson with 27. Sanford, with a 1-0 record in 3A’s Intermountain League, will look to continue to test themselves against 3A talent.
Friday Sanford will cross the highway to meet neighbor and 3A class Centauri. Then when Sanford returns from break they will play 3A opponents on back-to-back nights in Ellicott and Pagosa Springs.
The T-Birds closed the regular season with only two losses last season. Both losses came back to haunt Sangre in the post season. Antonito defeated Sangre de Cristo a second time to claim the district title. Kim-Branson’s second victory over the Thunderbirds came at the regional level and ended Sangre de Cristo’s season prematurely.
This year the T-Birds have less to worry about from Antonito. Sangre de Cristo experienced their first loss of the season this last weekend falling to 2A juggernaut Del Norte. But with all five of last year’s starters the Thunderbirds are poised for another strong run.