By STEPHEN JIRON
Courier Sports Editor
ALAMOSA — All throughout the valley prep basketball is heating up looking to better their position all while preparing for district placing tournaments.
CHSAA’s RPI rankings are accurate as of press time and are unofficial until the end of the regular season. To check in on rankings be sure to visit CHSAANow.com.
3A- Intermountain League
9. Centauri (9-2)
The Falcons opened the season with a winning streak that spanned the La Junta Holiday Shootout, where Centauri took first place. At that tournament the Falcons would dispatch No. 11 Lamar en route to defeating Sanford in the first place game.
Centauri’s first loss of the season came at the hands of No. 14 Delta by a 14 point margin. Entering their league games the Falcons are currently 1-1 with a win over Monte Vista (4-6) and a loss to No. 12 Pagosa Springs (8-1).
The Falcons' weekend may serve to test their mettle. On Friday Centauri will visit Bayfield (7-4), the defending champs have seemingly taken a step back with the graduation of six seniors. Thursday night's RPI ranking of No. 26 isn’t sending any chills down any one’s spine. But Bayfield has proven they still have more than enough in the tank to compete in the Intermountain League (IML) with last Saturday’s narrow victory over previously undefeated Montezuma-Cortez.
After facing down the Wolverines Centauri will meet the No. 5 team themselves when the road trip continues against Montezuma-Cortez.
16. Alamosa (6-4)
Alamosa has gotten a chance to test themselves against two top five teams thus far this season with games against Coal Ridge (10-1) and Kent Denver (9-1).
As the Moose settle into a groove they have benefitted from consistent play from Ian and Chad Jackson who rank number one and two on the team in points scored respectively.
Alamosa has also enjoyed the emergence of junior Brenden Crowther on the perimeter. The Moose look to have some key pieces falling into place heading down the stretch. Now not only will Alamosa get a chance to sample of the talent within the highly competitive IML but they’ll also get a chance to see how they stack up.
First up is a trip to Cortez to meet the fifth ranked Panthers on Friday, they’ll follow that up by staying on the road for a game with Pagosa Springs on Saturday.
13. Sanford (5-4)
Three wins to start the season for Sanford was capped by taking second place at the La Junta Holiday Shootout in December. Centauri has been a thorn in Sanford’s side as they account for half of the losses on Sanford’s schedule while not even being in the same class.
The other two losses were to Escalante and class 3A’s Pagosa Springs. Sanford earns their spot in the rankings as they have been largely playing their season within class 3A, going 4-3 in the upper class. Not a bad preparation for the Southern Peaks League.
The SPL has three teams tied with a 5-4 record; Sanford, Sargent and Del Norte. Sanford will get a little respite before facing their fellow 5-4 teams as they’re scheduled to host Center this Friday.
26. Sargent (5-4)
A rough start to the season did little to derail the Farmers. After starting the season 1-3, Sargent has rallied to go 4-1 through their next five. Holding one third of the three way tie in the Southern Peaks the Farmers will get their chance to claim a lead this Friday.
Del Norte’s Tigers will be in town for some inter league action. After that Sargent is scheduled to head south to settle the second half of the three-way tie with a Saturday afternoon meeting with Sanford.
29. Del Norte (5-4)
The Tigers have had a season of peaks and valleys thus far. Matching every win with a loss in a perfect pattern until their return from Christmas break, where they put together their first winning streak this season. The two game streak was filled with wins over Crested Butte and Center.
Despite the highs and lows Del Norte still holds stake in the lead for the Southern Peaks League.
They'll be able to tighten that hold when they set out to try and extend their current winning streak. Del Norte will be looking for their first win against a team with a winning record when they go on the road to meet Sargent. They’ll then follow that up with a home contest against Custer County (2-7) on Saturday.
4. Sangre de Cristo (6-1)
The T-Birds opened the season with praise from the pre-season poll. Sangre de Cristo remains prevalent as the polls have had the T-Birds placed third for the past two weeks. The combination of top scorers Cole Christensen and Jake Slane has had the T-Birds on a roll with a first place finish at their home tournament to start the season and wins over 2A opponents Sargent and Del Norte.
The T-Birds even picked up a win against rival Creede this past week. The lone smirch on an otherwise perfect record came in SDC’s first game in the New Year against Rocky Ford (6-5).
But the rest of the season promises to be very forgiving. Aside from a two game series with Cotopaxi (5-4) and the season closer against Kim-Branson (7-4), Sangre de Cristo’s remaining opponents own a shared record of 15-50.