Five SLV teams claim regional titles Saturday

Seven Valley teams advance to state tournament

VALLEY­—The San Luis Valley basketball season lives on for one more week and fans will have their pick of where they want to go as seven teams have qualified for a chance to vie for the state title across three different venues across northern Colorado, starting on Thursday morning.

Alamosa 50, Delta 38 (B)

BAYFIELD­—After learning of the upset of the No. 5 seeded Bayfield Wolverines at the hands of the No. 28 seeded Delta Panthers in the semifinals of the regional tournament, the Alamosa Mean Moose were geared up for the title game. They learned not to underestimate the Panthers and came ready to play on Saturday as they pulled out a 50-38 win to clinch their third straight regional championship.

Alamosa, who played in their sixth straight regional title game, now heads to the Great Eight at Hamilton Gym on the campus of The University of Denver on Thursday. As the No. 12 seed, the Mean Moose will take on the No. 13 seeded Faith Christian Eagles to advance to the Final Four. New this year, if a team loses in the quarterfinals, they are done for the season. There will, however, be a third place game contested on Saturday afternoon.

In the regional title game, Alamosa overcame a vary narrow first half to put some distance between them in the third quarter by outscoring the Panthers 12-3 and then closing out the game by matching the Panthers point-for-point in the final quarter.

To start the game, Alamosa took a 12-9 lead after one quarter as an unlikely hero emerged in senior Armando Gonzalez. The big inside body came up big with several rebounds before putting down two field goals for five points.

The second quarter saw Alamosa get outscored 9-8 as they earned five points from junior Angelo Ramirez, who scored a 3-pointer and a field goal.

In the huge third quarter, Alamosa hit four field goals and went 4-of-9 from the free throw line. Senior Ryan Brubacher finally broke through as he scored all five of his points in the quarter. Brubacher struggled to hit shots from anywhere early in the game that came after the Rye Thunderbolts held him to just three points the day before.

In the fourth, the Mean Moose turned to their fourth quarter leader in junior Noah Romero. Romero scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to help the Mean Moose seal the game.
Alamosa finished the game with 16 field goals including three treys. They finished the game 14-of-26 from the charity stripe.

Centauri 51, Grand Valley 45 (G)

CENTAURI—In a game that saw 17 personal fouls on the Centauri Falcons including junior Ember Canty fouling out in the fourth quarter, the Falcons did not waver as they were able to emerge victoriously with a 6-point win over the Grand Valley Cardinals on Saturday.

The Falcons, now 22-1 on the season including an 18-game winning streak, now move on and the No. 2 seeded team in the state will play in the Class 3A Elite Eight against the No. 10 seed Liberty Common Eagles.

The regional title game was much different than Friday night's 65-28 blowout of the Buena Vista Demons as the Cardinals kept within striking distance throughout the entire game.

Centauri jumped out to a 15-8 lead after one quarter and saw the 7-point lead grow by two after the second quarter to 26-17 at the halftime break.

In the third, both teams kept pace with each other with 13 points to make the score 39-30 headed into the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter saw the Falcons get outscored 15-12 , however, the 9-point lead was enough for the win.

Centauri was led by sophomore Melissa Wilson, who was 4-of-8 from the field including a 3-pointer, for 13 points, and junior Alyssa Gomez, who scored 11 points.

Despite 16 turnovers, the Falcons as a team, shot 14-of-41 (37 percent) from the field and 19-of-30 (63 percent) from the free throw line.

Sanford 43, Norwood 37 (B)

GUNNISON—In winning three consecutive Class 2A State Championships during the previous three seasons, it wasn’t often (if ever, really) that Sanford’s boys appeared as off their game as they were mid-Saturday in the West Regional’s Pod H finale.

But after trailing by as great a margin as 18-4 early in the second quarter to the regional’s 7-seed, #3 SHS staged possibly the weekend’s best comeback, avoided the upset, and kept alive an outside chance to four-peat this weekend via a 44-37 victory over Norwood inside Western State Colorado University’s Paul Wright Gymnasium.

Held scoreless for the opening 5:10 before junior guard Zach Sittler got them on the board with a deuce, the Indians (16-7) ignited their rally with a 7-0 burst in the second—including a Sittler three-pointer—and closed to 22-18 at halftime, with senior guard Casey McDaniel striking for two treys and nine of his team-high 17 points.

Maverick senior center/forward Kade Brantingham pretty much dictated interior play, muscling his way for an impressive 21 points (including 7-of-7 at the free-throw line), but had little support as Sanford’s deeper roster held shooters Sayre Stropko (5 points), Donovan Graves (4) and Devyn Rummel (1) to a combined 10 points.

With the contest still close at 40-37 after a Rummel freebie inside the final minute, NHS (14-10) lost Rummel to fouls with 40 seconds remaining—a full 5:09 after initially losing their lead, when SHS junior Maguire Peterson somehow tipped in a McDaniel breakaway miss for a 32-31 advantage.

Fittingly, Sittler would ice the game with two FTs (the Indians were 9-of-12 as a whole, while Norwood finished 13-of-18) and 26 ticks left, and the ball found its way back into McDaniel’s hands before time expired.

Up next, Sanford will face Julesburg-based Sedgwick County in the State Championships’ “Great Eight” phase, with tipoff slated for 1:15 p.m. Thursday inside the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.  Again strong in the northeasterly Lower Platte Activities Association this winter, the Cougars will go into the battle standing 22-1 following their East Regional, Pod A-winning 55-49 win in Denver over Burlington (15-9).

Del Norte 55, Ignacio 34 (B)
GUNNISON—Junior Carlos Parra pumped in eight field goals and eight free throws in eight attempts Saturday afternoon, torching a depleted Ignacio roster for 28 points as Del Norte forcefully clinched a spot in this weekend’s Class 2A State Championships, 55 to 34 in the West Regional’s Pod G finale.

Sophomore regular Kade Glover logged nine points in support and senior reserve Hafen Campbell chipped in six, but with Parra surprising the Bobcats for two triples and ten of the Tigers’ 15 first-quarter points, IHS (15-7) was forced to play from behind and never came any closer than 32-25 during the third quarter.

Campbell’s half-dozen all came during the second, as 5-seed DNHS (20-4) built up a 29-19 pad against the regional’s #2.  Parra’s third and fourth three-pointers then fell in the third, which ended with Del Norte comfortably ahead, 39-25, inside Western State Colorado University’s Paul Wright Gymnasium.

Parra then got Ignacio—minus regular scoring threat Kruz Pardo, top reserve Calvin Levato and fellow backup Daniel Weaver—for eight points in the fourth quarter, in which he went 4-of-4 from the charity stripe and the Tigers as a whole went 9-of-10 to finish 18-of-25.

It was announced Sunday that Del Norte will first meet Pod F champion Paonia in the “Great Eight,” Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. inside the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.  Concluding the two-day regional in Gunnison, PHS improved to 21-2 this season with a 63-33 rout of Telluride (13-9) on Saturday night.

Del Norte 50, Meeker 33 (G)

GUNNISON—Needing only five minutes, 41 seconds to amass a double-digit advantage in the West Regional’s Pod G championship Saturday morning, the Del Norte Lady Tigers had little difficulty in dispatching Meeker 50-33 and earning a place in this weekend’s Class 2A State Championships.

Freshman standout Kendra Parra went off for 10 points in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 22.  Senior Bailey Jones also helped put the 5-seed Cowgirls (14-10) down—and pretty much out—early with seven of #2 DNHS’ 23 points during the opening eight minutes.

Complicating matters even more before the stanza concluded, MHS sophomore forward Megan Shelton was hit with a technical foul with 1:28 left, giving her three total already and greatly hindering Meeker’s ability to defend against 6’0” senior Devin Dallas (11 points, seven in the third quarter).

Jones finished with 10 points and seven Lady Tigers scored at least one in the blowout, in which DNHS led 23-8 after one quarter, 30-15 at intermission and 42-22 after the third.  Senior Halle Ahrens was MHS’ only individual reaching 10 points, while Shelton and sophomore reserve Tori Lasker each managed five.

Up next in the “Great Eight,” Del Norte (21-2) will face Haxtun at 7:00 p.m. Thursday inside the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.  Representing the northeasterly Lower Platte Activities Association, HHS improved to 19-4 overall with a 42-31, 6-over-5 upset of Colorado Springs Evangelical Christian Academy (18-5) in the East Regional’s Pod E finale held at 4A Aurora Vista PEAK.