It’s time to start scouting

Area hoops teams learn their playoff fate

Coach Eric Sanchez and the Montrose High School girls basketball team earned a first-round bye in the 4A playoffs.



Sunday is typically a day of rest, but not for area high school basketball coaches in charge of playoff-bound teams.

From the moment the Colorado High School Activities Association released its Class 5A and 4A playoff brackets Sunday afternoon, those coaches put on their scouting hats. That means lots of phone calls and Internet searches in pursuit of information on first-round foes.

“There’s a lot of networking right now throughout the state,” said Grand Junction girls coach Sam Provenza, whose Tigers (18-4) drew the fifth seed in 5A’s Alice Barron Region and will host No. 12 Mountain Range (8-15) at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. “We’ll see what we can find out. This time of year, it’s more about what you’re doing than the other team.”

Elsewhere in the 48-team 5A girls bracket, Southwestern League champion Fruita Monument (17-6) landed the fourth seed in the Rhonda Blanford-Green Region and will enjoy a first-round bye. In Friday’s second round, the Wildcats will host either No. 5 Loveland (17-6) or No. 12 Rangeview (10-13).

In Class 4A’s field of 48, Palisade’s girls (10-13) drew the 10th seed in the Richard Tate Region and will travel to No. 7 Denver South (10-11) for an opening-round game on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the bracket, Montrose landed a first-round bye in nabbing the No. 2 seed in the Carol Callan Region. The Indians (18-4) will host a four-team Sweet 16 tournament Friday and Saturday. They’ll open Friday against either No. 7 Pueblo East (13-10) or No. 10 Durango (13-9).

Rifle (15-7) was also slotted into the Callan Region and will host No. 11 Thomas Jefferson (10-11) in Tuesday’s first round.

Delta’s girls received a first-round bye along with the No. 4 seed in the Tracy Hill Region. The Panthers (18-4) will host a Sweet 16 tournament Friday and Saturday and will open Friday against either No. 5 Longmont (14-9) or No. 12 Vista Peak (3-20).

BOYS

Like Provenza, Palisade boys coach Brian Tafel is chasing down information on his team’s first-round playoff opponent. The Western Slope League champion Bulldogs (17-5) drew the Bill Weimar Region’s No. 5 seed in the Class 4A bracket and will host No. 12 Wheat Ridge (8-15) in the first round at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Palisade brings a six-game winning streak into the playoffs. The most recent in that string of wins was a 63-41 rout of Durango in Saturday’s Southwestern/Western Slope District title game.

“I could tell Saturday before the game that our kids were focused,” Tafel said. “They were confident. Obviously, that translated to a really good win. It’s something to build on moving forward.

“The kids are excited to go face some of the top teams in the state from the other side of the mountain. I think we’re confident and excited for the challenge, for sure.”

Elsewhere in 4A, No. 7 Rifle (13-9) and No. 10 Montrose (10-13) were both seeded into the Maceo Brodnax Jr. Region and will square off against one another Wednesday in Rifle.

In Class 5A, Southwestern League champion Grand Junction (17-5) gets to sit out the first round, drawing the No. 4 seed in the Glenn Wilson Region. The Tigers will face either No. 5 Fort Collins (14-9) or No. 12 Rock Canyon (6-17) at home in Saturday’s round of 32.


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