Playoff field narrows; teams into Sweet 16
What a difference one week can make.
One week ago, high school basketball teams in the 5A and 4A brackets were preparing for their first game. Today, the field has been narrowed to 16 teams with games beginning Wednesday in the 5A girls bracket.
The Central High School girls basketball team is the lone local representative after Grand Junction and Fruita Monument lost in the first round. The Warriors face Arapahoe at Colorado School of Mines at 6:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to play the winner of No. 1 Horizon’s game against No. 5 Fort Collins.
Central coach Todd Dixon said at this point in the tournament the teams are so talented, there is very little time to feel out the other team.
“You don’t want to use the first quarter to absorb who you are playing; you want to do that right now,” Dixon said. “You want to step on these teams immediately and not be intimidated.”
In the rest of the bracket, things played out the way they were supposed to. Rocky Mountain from the Sharon Wilch Region is the lone team aside from Fort Collins to make it to the Sweet 16 that is not a top four seed.
The Great 8 will be played on Friday with all games at the Denver Coliseum.
In the 5A boys bracket, both Grand Junction and Central made it to the second round but were bumped. The Tigers lost a 71-68 battle against Overland and were the only top four seed not to hold position. Central lost to Arapahoe 77-58 but notched 20 wins this season.
Overland advanced to face the only undefeated team in the 5A boys bracket, Fairview, who enters the game 24-0.
The 4A girls bracket has the largest contingent of Western Slope teams still alive as Montrose, Moffat County and Glenwood Springs all advanced to the Sweet 16.
The Indians defeated No. 8 seed Widefield last Friday 49-39 to push their record to 22-2.
Montrose plays Mitchell on Thursday at CSU-Pueblo at 5 p.m. The Marauders have the fewest wins of any 4A girls team left with 14.
On the other side of the bracket in the Tanya Haave Region, Moffat County got past D’Evelyn in the second round and plays Broomfield, the overall No. 1 seed, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the ThunderDome. If the Bulldogs win, they could meet Glenwood Springs in the next round. The Demons play Pueblo East in the Sweet 16 at 8 p.m. on Thursday at the ThunderDome.
In the boys 4A bracket, the lone Western Slope team remaining is Glenwood Springs. The Demons are 18-6 entering their Sweet 16 game with No. 3-seed Lewis-Palmer. They will play at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at the ThunderDome.