Tiger girls No. 3, boys No. 4 for playoffs
In the days before the Colorado High School Activities Association released the Class 5A state basketball tournament bracket, Grand Junction girls coach Sam Provenza doubted his team would get a serious look from the selection committee, expecting a No. 4 seed.
Sunday afternoon, Provenza received a pleasant surprise when the Tigers landed the No. 3 seed in the Alice Barron Region. The Tigers (21-2) have a first-round bye.
Provenza said avoiding a top-seeded team during the opening rounds and being in a different region than national powerhouse Regis Jesuit was a relief.
That’s not to say the Tigers have it easy. In Friday’s second round, Grand Junction hosts the winner of traditionally strong Monarch (16-7), seeded sixth, and No. 11 Westminster (12-11).
The top two teams in the Alice Barron Region are Cherry Creek and Poudre. The second-seeded Impalas feature Colorado State recruit Myanne Hamm.
Fruita Monument’s girls snagged a No. 12 seed. The Wildcats (10-13) travel to fifth-seeded Castle View (16-7) on Tuesday, with the game time yet to be set.
“The loss to Grand Junction was kind of a sour ending for our seniors, so having a chance to put on the jersey at least one more time will be good for us,” Fruita Monument coach Michael Wells said. “No one really expects us to win over there, so we can just go out there and enjoy it.”
For the Tiger boys, the seedings were disappointing.
The Tigers (20-2), who were ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press poll, No. 7 in the Basketball Colorado Top 10 and No. 10 in the CHSAANow.com rankings, are one of four No. 4 seeds in the playoffs.
Since the tournament field expanded to 48 teams in 2011, only two 20-win teams have been seeded as low as fourth.
The Tigers have a first-round bye and host the winner of No. 5 Cherokee Trail (9-14) and No. 12 Rampart (17-6) on Saturday.
The winner of that game will likely play top-seeded Denver East, one of the most talented teams in the region. The Angels have two senior DI commits, and anywhere from four to seven DI prospects on the roster.
In Class 4A, the Rifle boys received a No. 5 seed and host Kennedy (3-20) in the Guy Gibbs Region in Wednesday’s opening round. Montrose (No. 9) and Delta (No. 11) are in the Mark Randall Region.
The Indians play No. 8 Lewis-Palmer (12-11), which has a 3-1 record against common opponents with Montrose this season. Delta (11-12) is at No. 6 Pueblo Central (14-9).
Palisade (14-9) is No. 7 in the Richard Tate Region and plays No. 10 Evergreen (11-12) on Wednesday at home.
Palisade’s girls (15-8) are seeded sixth and play No. 11 Niwot (7-16) during the opening round Tuesday at home.
Ninth-seeded Rifle (10-11) travels to No. 8 Sierra (15-8). The Bears are in the Tracy Hill Region with No. 2 Glenwood Springs (22-1), seeded No. 2.
Montrose (15-8) is No. 6 and hosts No. 11 Denver South (5-18).