By STEPHEN JIRON
Courier Sports Editor
ALAMOSA — The 3A Intermountain basketball league (IML) houses three different schools in the San Luis Valley and all three of them will begin their league schedules on Friday evening. Centauri will host Monte Vista and Alamosa will go on the road to meet Bayfield.
When it comes to the IML the example to follow seems to have been set by Montezuma-Cortez (8-0). With an undefeated record Cortez sits atop the IML and occupies the No. 4 spot in CHSAA’s unofficial RPI rankings. But the rest of the Intermountainers are fighting to keep pace.
Number two in the IML is Centauri (8-1) . The Falcons narrowly missed seeing what Cortez was all about at the Mountain Top Classic in La Jara. Both teams finished with undefeated records at the round robin competition.
After opening the season with seven straight wins, the Falcons relented the streak in a 54-40 loss to No. 10 Delta (5-2). The Falcons would close the holiday season with their second meeting against Sanford, taking the rematch easily by a score of 60-29.
At present the Falcons are holding steady in the number five spot according to RPI. This weekend Centauri will test their might against Monte Vista (3-4).
The Pirates have their own set of question marks. Monte Vista is battling to find consistency. The Pirates faced four 2A teams in their first four games going 2-2. Then in their first foray into 3A the gold and green would taste success knocking off Buena Vista (4-5) by a score of 64-49. They would then play 4A opponent Pueblo Central (7-5) close, falling by a four-point margin.
The Pirates would get another opportunity to measure their progress with then first ranked Kent Denver in town. Like Alamosa the night before Monte Vista kept the Sun Devils close but ultimately finished with a 65-63 defeat.
If one were to just look at the record for the Mean Moose (5-4) and nothing more one might think that they were struggling. After all staying one game ahead of .500 is not terribly impressive. However the record doesn’t show the fact that Alamosa has already faced two of the best that 3A has to offer in No. 1 Coal Ridge and No. 2 Kent Denver (taking the latter to overtime).
Not only that but the boys in maroon have come out on the other end with a winning record and a top twenty ranking according to RPI. Alamosa will open their league schedule with a chance for revenge on the road against the defending 3A champion Bayfield (5-4). Both IML games are set for 7 p.m. starts.
Like the boys Centauri’s girls sport an 8-1 record, unlike the boys that record is enough to put them atop the IML. This year’s Falcons look to be making up for last year’s season with an eye on finishing what they started. The lone imperfection in Centauri’s record remains a 54-47 loss to the number one team in 2A basketball Del Norte.
Despite that the Falcons have cashed in against top ten teams like Delta and Cedaredge to the effect of the Falcons placing number four in the state in the 3A class. Centauri will open their league schedule against a young Monte Vista (2-5) team.
Four of the five top scorers for Monte Vista are freshmen. While the Pirates have been able to pick up wins against the likes of La Junta (3-7) and Buena Vista (3-6) entrance into their league schedule will be a baptism in the crucible. The Pirates will be facing the IML’s top three teams (Centauri, Pagosa Springs and Alamosa) in their next three league games.
The Mean Moose (6-3) hold the No. 15 spot in CHSAA’s unofficial RPI rankings. Alamosa’s girls could not pull off a win against now third ranked Delta (6-1), falling by one point. Since then Alamosa has built up some steam for their Friday meeting with Bayfield (2-4). The Mean Moose have picked up two in a row and will go on the road in search of a third. Both IML games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. starts.