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Get all your coverage of Saturday's state tournament 🏀 games, including three takeaways from Platte Valley and Eaton/University

The opening weekend of the state basketball tournament is in the books. Now is when things really get
The Playbook
Get all your coverage of Saturday's state tournament 🏀 games, including three takeaways from Platte Valley and Eaton/University
By The Playbook • Issue #67 • View online
The opening weekend of the state basketball tournament is in the books. Now is when things really get interesting!
We’ll take a look at Saturday’s boys and girls games from the Round of 16, plus we’ll reveals the matchups, times and dates for a trio of Patriot League teams in the Round of 8 this week.

The Lead
Three takeaways as Eaton girls fend off upset bid by University in 3A girls basketball state tournament
By Quinn Ritzdorf, qritzdorf@patroitplaybook
EATON — After upsetting 12th-seeded Moffat County on Friday, No. 21 University visited fifth-seeded Eaton for the first Patriot League matchup in the state tournament this year on Saturday.
Eaton beat University by 15 and 13 points in their two games earlier in the season.
This one was much closer, though, as the Reds held off the Bulldogs 48-44. University led the entire game until the fourth quarter when Eaton went on an 18-4 run to end the game.
Eaton will play No. 4 Delta in the Round of 8 on Thursday at the University of Denver.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s second round/regional championship game:
University's Tayler Gollhofer hits a mid-range jumper with an assist from point guard Kylie Kravig.
University's Tayler Gollhofer hits a mid-range jumper with an assist from point guard Kylie Kravig.
1. University could not miss.
 The main reason the Bulldogs led most of this game was because their shooting was red hot. It seemed like they couldn’t miss.
University sank three shots from behind the arc and made 12 two-point baskets. The Bulldogs were even making their free throws. They shot 11 for 14 from the stripe for 79 percent.
The lights-out shooting kept University ahead most of the game, but when it mattered most they couldn’t even get a look at the basket because of Eaton’s defense.
“I’ll give University credit,” Eaton coach Todd Hernandez said. “They shot the ball well. They were shooting the ball well in warm-ups so I knew it was going to be one of those games.”
Eaton needs to work inside out rather than relying on the outside shot. Here the Reds get the ball to Sydney Booth in the post for the basket.
Eaton needs to work inside out rather than relying on the outside shot. Here the Reds get the ball to Sydney Booth in the post for the basket.
2. Eaton needs to work inside out.
While credit needs to be given to University for playing one heck of a game, Eaton really struggled offensively.
The main reason behind this was the Reds were settling for outside shots. When a team is hitting shot after shot like University was, it can cause the other team to hoist shots of their own.
That is what Eaton did, and they weren’t falling. However, they continued to shoot 3s and jumpers hoping they would eventually drop. They never did.
“Offensively, we got in the habit of making one pass and shooting a 3,” Hernandez said. “We weren’t looking inside. We weren’t running anything. Sometimes in games like this, they get caught up in the moment and try to do too much.”
Eaton is lucky to move on to the Round of 8. If the Reds want to continue to advance, they need to work inside out, especially since they have 6-foot-3 senior Sydney Booth making her presence felt in the paint.
They don’t need to always take paint shots, but they need to move the ball inside out rather than just around the perimeter.
Eaton switched to a full-court press in the fourth quarter and went on an 18-4 run to end the game and win 48-44 against University. The stellar defense started with Michaela Hill on University point guard Kylie Kravig.
Eaton switched to a full-court press in the fourth quarter and went on an 18-4 run to end the game and win 48-44 against University. The stellar defense started with Michaela Hill on University point guard Kylie Kravig.
3. Defense wins championships.
Hernandez made the call of the game when he had his team employ a full-court press in the fourth quarter, with the Reds down by 10 with about six minutes to go.
“At that point, we had fallen behind,” Hernandez said. “We wanted to speed them up a little bit and keep the ball out of Kylie (Kravig’s) hands. We got a little stagnant offensively, so we thought that might be able to kick start our offense.”
Eaton's coach Todd Hernandez talks about staying composed, getting away from their style of play, the reason for the full-court press and thoughts on moving to the Round of 8.
Eaton's coach Todd Hernandez talks about staying composed, getting away from their style of play, the reason for the full-court press and thoughts on moving to the Round of 8.
This was the reason Eaton won the game. Its defensive pressure, especially from Michaela Hill on University’s primary ball handler, Kravig, completely changed the game.
The Bulldogs weren’t able to get the open looks they had the other three quarters, and the Reds forced multiple turnovers that led to easy offense.
Eaton's senior Michaela Hill talks about trusting her teammates, her defensive pressure and what it meant to win her last home game.
Eaton's senior Michaela Hill talks about trusting her teammates, her defensive pressure and what it meant to win her last home game.
“Kravig is a very good player,” Eaton senior Michaela Hill said. “We are a very good defensive team, and knowing that if I do my job on Kravig, my team will do their job.”
Platte Valley girls basketball coach Tonya Schissler chats with her team during the fourth quarter against Alamosa on Saturday in Kersey. (Photo by Bobby Fernandez).
Platte Valley girls basketball coach Tonya Schissler chats with her team during the fourth quarter against Alamosa on Saturday in Kersey. (Photo by Bobby Fernandez).
Three takeaways from Platte Valley’s loss to Alamosa in the second round of the 3A girls basketball state tournament
By Bobby Fernandez, bfernandez@patriotplaybook.com
KERSEY — Already with 16 more wins than it had a year ago, Platte Valley stepped in to its home gymnasium Saturday dead set on improving that win total by 17.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, a rough-and-tumble, relentless Alamosa squad was even more intent on assuring Platte Valley’s improvement extended no further.
In fact, the aptly named Mean Moose didn’t allow the Broncos hardly anything — loose balls and 50-50 rebounds, breathing room to execute in the halfcourt, space to get off jumpshots or drive to the hoop, etc., etc., etc.
In the final three quarters of a Class 3A girls basketball state tournament second round game/regional championship, ninth-seeded Alamosa put the clamps on nearly everything No. 8 Platte Valley tried to orchestrate, topping the Broncos 39-30.
The Mean Moose (17-6) move on to Round of 8 game against top-seeded St. Mary’s (23-1) on Thursday at the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gym.
Platte Valley ends its season at 20-4.
Here are three takeaways from the Broncos’ season-ending game:
Platte Valley senior Faith Fetzer feeds junior Kassandra Shoemaker for a layup off a high pick-and-roll.
Platte Valley senior Faith Fetzer feeds junior Kassandra Shoemaker for a layup off a high pick-and-roll.
1. Platte Valley threw a curveball, defensively, at Alamosa, but the Mean Moose were quick to adjust.
Through all the scouting and the game film, Alamosa coach Shawn Cody had seen Platte Valley employ a pretty straight forward defensive scheme, playing straight-up man-to-man.
On Saturday, though, the Broncos mixed things up in an attempt to slow the Mean Moose’s deadly transition game.
“They just shocked us with a 1-3-1 (zone),” Cody said. “That’s the last thing I expected to see. It took us about a quarter and a half to adjust to it.”
Platte Valley was forcing turnovers and getting out in transition in the initial 10 or so minutes, going up 8-7 after one quarter and 13-7 a couple minutes into the second quarter.
Alamosa composed itself, attacked gaps in the zone and went on a 7-0 run to take a 14-13 lead with 3:30 left in the first half. The Mean Moose extended that run to 13-2, leading 20-15 at halftime.
Alamosa maintained the lead the rest of the way, aside from a single possession in which the Broncos briefly took the lead in the fourth.
Freshman point guard Brooke Bunting feeds fellow freshman guard Cora Schissler for a layup.
Freshman point guard Brooke Bunting feeds fellow freshman guard Cora Schissler for a layup.
2. Alamosa was the first to get to seemingly every loose ball.
At times, it look liked the Mean Moose were playing with six players on the court.
After that initial quarter, they began to force plenty of loose balls and they were the first to get to most of them. They also controlled the game on the offensive glass, wrestling a slew of 50-50 balls from the clutches of Platte Valley players.
“They’re everywhere all the time, just giving you pressure,” Broncos coach Tonya Schissler said. “They just hustled and did a good job. They’re a good team.”
Faith Fetzer postgame interview
Faith Fetzer postgame interview
3. This caps a spectacular season for Platte Valley, but the best is likely still to come.
The Broncos’ 14-win improvement from a year ago was anchored by their two seniors, Faith Fetzer and Marilyn Aab. But, it was initiated largely by their youngsters, including freshman starting guard tandem Cora Schissler and Brooke Bunting, the team’s two leading scorers.
In addition to all the talent Platte Valley has coming back, it also has some top-tier talent coming up through the middle school ranks in the next couple years.
Suffice it to say, the Broncos’ league and state championship window isn’t closing any time soon.
Fetzer played her last high school basketball game Saturday. She’ll move on to Brookhaven College in Texas where she’ll play volleyball this fall.
She hangs up her Platte Valley blue-and-white basketball jersey with supreme confidence that the Broncos will continue to only rise from here.
“They’re definitely coming back next year to fight,” Fetzer said. “They’re not going to let down easily, I know that. … We’ve made huge improvements, and I couldn’t be more thankful to be part of a team like this.”
Ray to enjoy the Arizona sunshine
This past weekend, Valley senior Kenzie Ray announced she has committed to continue playing volleyball and further her education at Ottawa University in Surprise, Ariz.
Ottawa is a NCCAA school that plays in the Golden State Athletic Conference. The Spirit went 17-14 this past fall.
This past fall, Ray was second on Valley’s team in kills with 224, second in blocks with 46 and third in aces with 38. She helped lead the Vikings to a 20-9 record and a trip to the Class 3A state tournament in November.
Playbook Prime Performance
Boys
Bobby: Gotta go with the Resurrection Christian offense, as a unit, again. A day after scoring 78 in a first round state tournament game, the Cougars scored 77 on Saturday to advance to the Round of 8.
Quinn: Carter Keil. The Sterling senior scored 22 points and helped the Tigers move on to the Round of 8 with a 47-32 win over Alamosa. This was Keil’s last game on his home court and he went out in style.
Girls
Bobby: Despite Platte Valley’s loss, junior Rhys Maxey was really impressive on Saturday, competing deeper in the state basketball postseason than she and her teammates ever had previously. Maxey filled up the box score, coming off the bench to record four points, six rebounds, six steals and two assists.
Quinn: Michaela Hill. Although the Eaton senior didn’t stuff the stat sheet (five points and two rebounds), she’s the reason the Reds won the game. Her full court pressure on University’s guards was smothering and led to multiple turnovers ultimately leading to a comeback victory via an 18-4 run to end the game.
The Patriot Best
These are the best things we saw from the week:
Bobby: Two Patriot League teams advanced this past weekend to the Round of 8 of the boys basketball state tournament.
I’m no mathematician, but I think that means a quarter of the field this week will be made up of the Patriot League, with Resurrection Christian and Sterling playing at the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gym.
The two teams are on the same side of the eight-team bracket, which is a definite shame. But, an all-Patriot League semifinal game at 8:30 p.m. Friday is certainly a possibility.
Quinn: I’m going to go with the Eaton-University game as a whole. With the schools being only 15 miles apart, the atmosphere was like that of a Duke-North Carolina game.
Okay, maybe I’m going a little too far, but both teams had a great crowd present which led to an extremely loud environment. Add the stakes of a win or go home scenario and you got yourself one heck of a fun basketball game.
But what there’s more… add the possibility of a major upset, which looked likely most of the game, and then the improbable comeback by the home team to move onto the Round of 8. What a game.
Players of the Week
Vote on Twitter for your boy and girl Patriot League Player of the Week. The performances are from Feb. 24-Mar. 3.
Girls Player of the Week
Addie Randel (Eaton basketball) — The Reds’ versatile junior guard had 27 points, six steals and 11 rebounds combined in a pair of state tournament wins over Coal Ridge and University.
Rhys Maxey (Platte Valley basketball) — Maxey, a junior, filled up the box score with 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven steals in two state tournament games, including a first-round win against Kent Denver on Friday.
Molli Peacock (Resurrection Christian basketball) — This Cougars senior co-captain had a team-high 16 points in a close first-round loss to Salida on Friday.
Sydney Booth (Eaton basketball) — Booth, a 6-foot-3 senior, was a major force in the paint for the Reds in their two state tournament wins. She had 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Vote for the girls Player of the Week on Twitter (click here).
Boys Player of the Week
Jayson Frank (Sterling basketball) — The senior scored 19 points in their opening round 63-33 win over The Academy in the state tournament.
Reece Johnson (Resurrection Christian basketball) — The junior scored 18 points in the Cougars upset win over Coal Ridge in the Sweet 16.
Carter Keil (Sterling basketball) — The senior scored 22 points in the Tigers 47-32 win over Alamosa to lead his team to the Round of 8.
Jackson Romero (Resurrection Christian basketball) — The junior also scored 18 points in the 77-53 win over Coal Ridge to move onto the Elite Eight.
Vote for the boys Player of the Week on Twitter (click here).
Wha'dya Think? Results
We want to know who among our subscribers are the most knowledgable when it comes to the Patriot League. We will be keeping track of correct answers and updating a leaderboard every week.
At the end of each month, the leader will win a prize. Not to mention, the weekly winner will receive a shoutout in Monday’s edition of The Playbook. Here was this week’s question:
Question: Will the 12 boys and girls Patriot League basketball teams in the state tournament win more than half of their combined games on Friday and Saturday?
Results: There were a total of 15 games between the boys’ and girls’ Patriot League teams this weekend of those 15, the Patriot League won eight of them.
The tiebreaker question asked how many teams would make it past this weekend into the Round of 8? The answer is three — Sterling boys, Resurrection Christian boys and Eaton girls.
Winner: Congratulations to both Alisha B. of Greeley and Peggy of Kersey for answering correctly!
Scoreboard
Saturday state basketball tournament second round results
Boys
No. 2 Sterling 47, No. 18 Alamosa 32
  • Key stat: After leading just 20-12 at halftime and 30-24 through three quarter, the Tigers created ample cushion in the fourth, outscoring the Mean Moose 17-8.
  • Takeaways: This was a nice challenge for a Sterling team that is outscored its opponents an average of 65-37 points per game. The Tigers will do doubt receive even bigger challenges this week en route to a possible fourth state title in program history, which would be there second 3A title in three years.
  • Up next: Sterling carries its 23-1 record into a quarterfinals game against No. 7 Montezuma-Cortez (19-5) at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gym.
No. 11 Resurrection Christian 77, No. 6 Coal Ridge 53
  • Key stat: The Cougars scored 25 or more points in each of the first two quarters, leading 25-13 after one quarter and 53-17 at halftime before taking their foot off the gas a bit in the second half.
  • Takeaways: Resurrection Christian’s offense has been red hot in the postseason, and on Saturday, the Cougars made themselves right at home on Coal Ridge’s home court. Make no mistake about it. With one of the state’s most dangerous, multi-faceted offense, Resurrection Christian is a legitimate darkhorse going into the final few rounds of the postseason this week.
  • Up next: Resurrection Christian moves on to the state tournament’s Round of 8 and will face No. 3 Manual (21-3) at 1:15 p.m. Thursday at the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gym.
Girls box scores
No. 9 Alamosa 39, No. 8 Platte Valley 30
AHS 7 13 7 12 — 39
PVHS 8 7 7 8 — 30
AHS — Sylvie Caton 4 4-8 14, Emily Lavier 2 3-4 9, Terese Chavez 3 1-3 8, Lilly Lavier 3 0-0 6, Alma Martinez 0 2-2 2, Devyn Mitchell 0 0-0 0, Taylor Motz 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 10-17 39.
PVHS — Cora Schissler 2 0-0 8, Jayden Gettman 0 0-0 0, Brooke Bunting 2 0-0 5, Emalee Roth 1 0-2 2, Rhys Maxey 1 2-2 4, Kassandra Shoemaker 3 2-4 8, Faith Fetzer 1 0-0 3. Totals 11 4-8 30
3-point field goals — AHS 3 (Caton 2, Chavez); PVHS 4 (Schissler 2, Bunting, Fetzer).
Total fouls — AHS 11; PVHS 18 (Bunting and Schissler fouled out).
No. 5 Eaton 48, No. 21 University 44
EHS 9 12 9 18 — 48
UHS 14 10 11 9 — 44
EHS — Addie Randel 3 6-7 14, Nakaiya Kuskie 4 0-0 11, Sydney Booth 3 2-4 8, Bailie Duncan 2 2-2 6, Michaela Hill 2 1-2 5, Ahana Leffler 1 0-0 2, Kaleigh Williams 1 0-0 2. Gracie Schreiber 0 0-0 0, Jennifer Jarnagin 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 11-15 48.
UHS — Stats not available
3-point field goals — EHS 5 (Kuskie 3, Randel 2)
Total fouls — EHS 14.

Thursday’s basketball Round of 8 matchups
At the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gym
Boys
No. 11 Resurrection Christian (19-5) vs. No. 3 Manual (21-3), 1:15 p.m.
No. 2 Stering (23-1) vs. No. 7 Montezuma-Cortez (19-5), 8:30 p.m.
Girls
No. 5 Eaton (23-1) vs. No. 4 Delta (23-1), 11:45 a.m.
Coming up in Wednesday's edition of The Playbook
We’ll have a comprehensive preview of the final three rounds of the Class 3A boys and girls state basketball tournaments!
Thanks for reading. See you Wednesday!
Bobby Fernandez, The Playbook Publisher
Quinn Ritzdorf, The Playbook Reporter
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