Dove Creek faces tough road to 1A state tourney

The Dove Creek High School girls basketball team is no stranger to the Class 1A state tournament.

Under coach Jim Buffington, the Bulldogs have made the Great 8 five of the past six years.

This season, Dove Creek is on the right track again, with a 20-1 record heading into this weekend’s Region 1 tournament at home.

It won’t be an easy trip to the state tournament at the University of Northern Colorado, though. The Region 1 tournament is one of the toughest in the state.

“This is almost like a first-round game at the state tournament because of the caliber of teams at the regional,” Buffington said. “Once we found out we could play at home for the regional, it became pretty important to win district to play in Dove Creek.”

Dove Creek’s four-team regional includes Eads, the two-time defending Class 1A state champion.

The Eagles finished second in District 2 behind top-ranked McClave.

Eads plays Holy Trinity in the first round Friday and Dove Creek faces Wiley of the Arkansas Valley League.

“Our defense has been pretty strong all year,” Buffington said. “They are willing to pay the price and play good defense.”

Offensively, the Bulldogs are led by Kellie Deremo, who has signed with Regis University. The 6-foot senior averages 17.1 points per game and averages seven assists a game, among the state leaders.

Deremo also pulls down seven rebounds a game.

“Kellie makes our whole team better,” Buffington said. “There are games where she has 36 points, but also games where she has four points but 10 assists. If she is not scoring, that means she is setting someone else up to score.”

On the boys side of the 1A regional, the Crested Butte boys have been dominant on their way to a 22-0 record. The Titans are the No. 1 seed at the Region 6 tournament at Adams State College and will attempt to make it out of the four-team tournament that includes Eads, South Baca County and Norwood.

“In terms of where we might have landed we are happy,” Crested Butte coach Robin Loyed said. “We feel good about our chances but we have to play really well.”

Crested Butte is looking to make it back to the final eight teams after finishing fifth last season.

Loyed said last season’s success has better prepared this year’s group to make a run at the title.
“We had never been there in our history and we were shell-shocked by the whole scene,”
Loyed said. “But it is so helpful that we have been there because now we have a feel for 1A basketball around the state.”

Ouray won the District 1 tournament and will be the No. 1 seed at the Region 1 tournament at Dove Creek. Ridgway and DeBeque are the other teams on the boys side fighting for a spot at the state tournament.


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