Warriors excited to be a host in playoffs

Central high school’s Kahler Grandbouche and Delta’s Eli Baier go up for the jump ball during Tuesday night’s game at Central High School.

The Central High School boys basketball team is in the playoffs, and the Warriors got just what they wanted: A home game.

When the Class 4A and Class 5A playoff brackets were announced Sunday, the Warriors (19-4) received a No. 5 seed, which means they will host a first-round game Thursday, taking on Northglenn (12-11) in the RW Truscott Region.

“We are excited to be at home,” Central coach Phil Cain said. “We like playing at home and it was one of our goals to get a home game.”

Cain said he expected to be a five seed and will spend the next few days fine-tuning the Warriors’ game and researching the Norse.

Northglenn finished ninth in the Front Range League and ended the season on a three-game losing streak.

By winning the Southwestern League title, Grand Junction (15-7) earned a No. 4 seed and a first-round bye. The Tigers host the winner of the Overland/Monarch game on Saturday in the John Casey Region.

In the 4A bracket, winning four straight games to end the season helped seal a playoff berth in Steve Phillips’ first season at Palisade. The Bulldogs (6-17) earned a No. 12 seed and travel to play Cheyenne Mountain (15-8) on Wednesday.

“I am surprised, to begin with,” Phillips said. “I think our kids are going to be excited about the opportunity and they have played well lately.”

If Palisade advances, the Bulldogs play Niwot (15-8) in the second round of the Bill Weimar Region.

Glenwood Springs earned the highest seed from the Western Slope League, finishing 17-6 and earning a No. 2 seed in the Ron Shavlik Region. Delta (8-11) is in the same region as the No. 12 seed, along with No. 7 Montrose (13-9).

Montezuma-Cortez (17-6) got the No. 4 seed in the Guy Gibbs Region, which also features No. 6 Steamboat Springs (16-6) and No. 7 seed Moffat County (15-8).

On the girls side, Central (16-7) was awarded a No. 3 seed and will host a second-round game Friday in the Kaye Garms Region.

“We are a seasoned road team, as we only had six home games, but we won them all,” Central coach Todd Dixon said. “But there is no doubt you would rather be playing at home.”

Central will take on the winner of Ponderosa (13-8) and Smoky Hill (8-15).

After Friday’s Grand Junction-Fruita Monument girls game, both teams sat with eight wins, wondering if both, one or neither would make it to the playoffs. The answer was both. Fruita and Grand Junction are seeded 11th in their respective regions.

Grand Junction (8-15) is in the Carol Callan Region and travels Wednesday to play Columbine (17-6). The Tigers lost 70-50 to the Rebels earlier in the season at the Wildcat Invitational.

“I think we are a completely different team now, but I am sure they are, too,” Tigers coach Sam Provenza said. “We are looking to see if we can improve on the first performance.”

Fruita Monument (8-12) travels to Cherry Creek (12-11). The Wildcats hope to learn from their trip last season in the playoffs, when they lost by 30 to Columbine.

“They came out and just clicked and we were down 30 before we could blink our eyes,” Wildcats coach Dan Schmalz said. “Cherry Creek will be tough, but we have better overall talent this year, so we should be able to adjust to whatever they do.”

Durango (14-9) earned a No. 6 seed and will host Mountain Vista (10-13) in the first round.
In the 4A bracket, Palisade

(5-18) survived losing its final three games to earn a No. 12 seed. The Bulldogs are in the Lou Piel Region and play Tuesday at Wheat Ridge (17-6).

“We knew it was a long shot,” Palisade coach Toni Gunther said. “But we were telling the kids to be ready for practice Monday.”

Montrose (21-2) is the No. 1 seed in the Brenda House Region, with Rifle (15-7) No. 6 in the region. Delta (7-12) is the No. 11 seed in the Piel Region, Eagle Valley (8-14) is No. 11 in the Tracy Hill Region and Glenwood Springs (18-3) is No. 2 and Moffat County (15-8) No. 4 in the Tanya Haave Region.

Times for all the games will be set today.


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