View profile

Get ready for the state 🏀 Round of 8 with three things to watch for Eaton, Resurrection Christian and Sterling

This is it! The final weekend of the winter season and the final three rounds of the state basketball
The Playbook
Get ready for the state 🏀 Round of 8 with three things to watch for Eaton, Resurrection Christian and Sterling
By The Playbook • Issue #68 • View online
This is it! The final weekend of the winter season and the final three rounds of the state basketball playoffs are here.
We’ll let you know what to expect with the Eaton girls, Resurrection Christian boys and Sterling boys. Plus, we’ll give you dates to circle on your calendars for the start of the baseball and track seasons for all 11 Patriot League schools.

The Lead
Three Things to Watch — Class 3A Basketball Championships (Round of 8), Thursday, University of Denver’s Hamilton Gym
Sterling's coach Mike Holloway draws up a play during a timeout against Kent Denver at Sterling High School on Jan. 26. (Photo by Quinn Ritzdorf)
Sterling's coach Mike Holloway draws up a play during a timeout against Kent Denver at Sterling High School on Jan. 26. (Photo by Quinn Ritzdorf)
Sterling Tigers boys
By Quinn Ritzdorf/qritzdorf@patriotplaybook.com
1. The Tigers’ scoring output is unpredictable.
If you are a fan of surprises, then you should watch Sterling’s offense. It is almost impossible to predict who will lead the Tigers in scoring for a game. They currently have seven players whose points per game average range from 6.9 to a team high 9.8.
This is important because No. 7 Montezuma-Cortez can’t focus on taking away any one player during the Round of 8 game at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, because the Tigers share the ball so well and have seven different players that can hurt you.
2. Sterling’s ball movement is mesmerizing.
The Tigers are like a magic show. They are not only unpredictable, they can have you questioning what just happened with the way they move the ball. Sterling averages 18.4 assists per game which is about twice the national average.
Like any magician, they have to have a distraction. For Sterling it’s the team’s ball movement back and forth, in and out of the defense before… SHAZAM the ball’s in the basket without anyone realizing what happened.
3. Can the Tigers finish what they couldn’t last year?
Last season, Sterling went undefeated before it fell to Lutheran 39-37 in the semifinals of the state tournament.
This season has been similar. The Tigers have won every single game, except a regular season finale 54-40 loss to Lutheran. One can argue that they, on paper, aren’t as skilled as last year, either. Despite all of that, Sterling could overcome that loss and win a state title…maybe even against Lutheran.
Resurrection Christian's Reece Johnson battles Sterling's Carter Keil for a rebound on Jan. 15 at Resurrection Christian High School in Loveland. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Resurrection Christian's Reece Johnson battles Sterling's Carter Keil for a rebound on Jan. 15 at Resurrection Christian High School in Loveland. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Resurrection Christian Cougars boys
By Bobby Fernandez, bfernandez@patriotplaybook.com
1. Can Resurrection Christian sustain its current offensive level?
This season, the Cougars have averaged 70 points per game. Their offense has flourished even more in the state tournament.
They’ve averaged 77.5 points per game in the first and second rounds. Expect a shootout when No. 11 Resurrection Christian faces No. 3 Manual (21-3) at 1:15 p.m. Thursday in the Round of 8.
The Thunderbolts average 76.7 points per game, 85 per game in their two state tournament games. Senior Jaeden Bowles averages 27.2 points per game.
Junior Reece Johnson leads a balanced Cougars squad that has three players averaging double-figures. Johnson averages 18.7 points per game. Junior Jackson Romero leads Resurrection Christian in the state tournament, averaging 17 points per game.
2. Can the Cougars force someone other than Bowles to beat them?
Bowles is a point-producing juggernaut, and when he scores more than 25 points, the Thunderbolts are unbeatable — or, at least unbeaten, 14-0.
The few times he has scored 20 or fewer points — four times, to be exact — Manual is merely 2-2.
It’s important Resurrection Christian makes the talented 6-foot-6 swingman work for his points. Fellow Patriot League team Sterling held Bowles to a season-low 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting Dec. 13 in Manual’s 46-43 road loss — one of the Thunderbolts’ three losses. Cougars coach Bruce Dick and his squad would be well-advised to review that game film and try to emulate the Tigers’ defensive approach as closely as possible.
3. Resurrection Christian can’t be intimidated, must rely on its big-game experience.
On paper, a third-seeded team should have a big psychological advantage over an 11th-seeded team in a postseason tournament.
But, Resurrection Christian isn’t your typical 11th seed. And, when you get this deep into the postseason, you can pretty much throw out those outdated initial seedings from a week earlier.
The Cougars battled through one of the toughest leagues in the state, the Patriot League — finishing second — they played mostly top teams in nonleague play, and they have made frequent trips deep in the postseason in recent years.
All of that adds up to a Resurrection Christian that is almost certainly better than its No. 11 seed and a Round of 8 matchup that will likely be closer than most onlookers would expect.
Eaton's Jennifer Jarnagin drives the ball downcourt as Platte Valley's Kassandra Shoemaker moves in to guard her Jan. 11 at Eaton High School. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Eaton's Jennifer Jarnagin drives the ball downcourt as Platte Valley's Kassandra Shoemaker moves in to guard her Jan. 11 at Eaton High School. (Photo by Joshua Polson)
Eaton Reds girls
By Bobby Fernandez, bfernandez@patriotplaybook.com
1. A massively long win streak will come to an end for one of these two teams.
Fifth-seeded Eaton (23-1) and No. 4 Delta (23-1) have the two longest win streaks of this entire eight-team field.
The Reds have 16 consecutive wins — same as No. 3 Pagosa Springs (21-2) — dating back to Dec. 22, a day after suffering their only loss, to Pagosa Springs.
The Panthers have an even more impressive win streak — dating back to Dec. 21, six days after its only loss, to Centauri.
One of those nearly season-long win streaks will come to an end when Eaton faces Delta at 11:45 a.m. Thursday in the Round of 8.
2. Expect a low-scoring, defensive-minded affair.
Stingy grind-it-out defense may not be nearly as flashy as explosive offense. But, both these teams make rough-and-tumble defense as fashionable as possible.
Eaton outscores its opponents 52-35 points per game and will complement its active halfcourt defense with suffocating full-court pressure, when needed — as it was in the fourth quarter of a 48-44 come-from-behind win against University on Saturday.
Delta outscores its opponents 53-37 points per game.
Knowing this probably won’t be a game played in the 60s or 70s, the winner will likely be determined by which team reduces turnovers and takes the most high-percentage shots.
3. Offensively, this game is a clash of styles.
As similar as these two teams are on defense, they couldn’t be much more different on offense.
Sure, they both have balanced offenses. Junior Sara Geddes leads Delta in scoring, averaging 10.6 points per game, and the Panthers have five players averaging more than seven points per game.
Senior Bailie Duncan averages a team-best 10.4 points per game for Eaton, and the Reds have five players averaging at least 5.9 points per game.
But, while Eaton utilizes a largely perimeter-based game, the Panthers live inside the arc.
The Reds have attempted 121 more 3-pointers than Delta has — 312 to 191. They have made nearly twice as many 3-pointers — 84 to 45.
Eaton shoots 27 percent from 3-point range. If the Reds can shoot, say, 5 for 15, from downtown, they’ll have a decent shot at moving on.
University’s Joe Medina adjusts his helmet after being tagged out against Lamar during the Class 3A State Baseball Championships title game June 2 at Butch Butler Field in Greeley. (Photo by Tony Villalobos May)
University’s Joe Medina adjusts his helmet after being tagged out against Lamar during the Class 3A State Baseball Championships title game June 2 at Butch Butler Field in Greeley. (Photo by Tony Villalobos May)
Around the Patriot League
Even as a few Patriot League teams wrap up their basketball state tournament runs, the spring season has begun. Here is a look at the first events for each of the league’s schools in baseball and track.
Brush Beetdiggers: Brush’s winter season is over, but the Beetdiggers’ baseball team will play its first game against Fort Morgan on Tuesday. Brush’s record last year was 8-12. But its track and field team starts even earlier, this Saturday in the Fort Morgan Invitational.
Eaton Reds: The Eaton girls team is still alive in the state basketball tournament, but the boys are looking forward to the start of their baseball on Wednesday against Mead. The Reds record this past season was 19-5 and they were among the final four teams in the state tournament. Their track and field season starts on March 16 at the Murray Kula Invitational in Windsor.
Estes Park Bobcats: Estes Park’s springs sports starts with its baseball team at 4 p.m. Thursday with a game against Weld Central. The baseball team didn’t win a game last year. The track and field team also starts this week at the Fort Morgan Invitational on Saturday.
Frontier Academy Wolverines: Frontier Academy doesn’t have a baseball team, but its track and field starts this Saturday at the NoCo Qualifier.
Liberty Common Eagles: Liberty Common’s spring season begins 3:30 p.m. Thursday with a baseball game against Lyons. The Eagles went 3-15 this past season. The track and field team will start this Saturday at the NoCo Qualifier.
Platte Valley Broncos: The Broncos opens their baseball season on the road against Fort Lupton at 4 p.m. Thursday. They went 9-11 this past season. Platte Valley opens its track season at the Murray Kula Invitational in Windsor on March 16.
Resurrection Christian: The Cougars open their baseball season against Mesa Ridge at 2 p.m. March 14 at Pueblo’s Runyon Sports Complex. Resurrection Christian went 13-7. The track team opens at the Fort Morgan Invitational on Saturday.
Sterling Tigers: Sterling opens its baseball season at home against Fort Lupton at 4 p.m. March 18. The Tigers went 15-5 a year ago. Sterling’s track team begins at the Brush Invitational on March 16.
Strasburg Indians: Strasburg’s baseball team opens at home against Cornerstone Christian Academy at 11 a.m. Saturday. It went 8-10 this past season. The Indians start their track season at the Brush Invitational on March 16.
University Bulldogs: University starts its baseball season, and its defense of the 3A state title, at 11 a.m. Saturday at home against Lutheran. The Bulldogs went 23-3 this past season. University opens its track season at the City of Greeley Championships on Saturday at District 6 Stadium.
Valley Vikings: The Vikings open their baseball season at home against Fort Lupton at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Valley went 10-10 a year ago. Valley’s track team opens at the Fort Morgan Invitational on Saturday.
Wha'dya Think?
We want to see who among our subscribers have the best predicting powers. Play below!
We want to see who among our subscribers have the best predicting powers. Play below!
Make predictions, win prizes!
After the first week of Wha'dya Think, this is our leaderboard. At the end of March we will give away a prize to the person that is first in the leaderboard. So play for your chance to show your Patriot League prediction powers and win prizes.
Game: No. 11 Resurrection Christian (19-5) vs. No. 3 Manual (21-3) in the Round of 8 of the state basketball tournament, 1:15 p.m. Thursday.
Question: Will No. 11 Resurrection Christian upset No. 3 Manual in the Round of 8 on Thursday?
Click to vote and you will be redirected to another page to answer a tiebreaker question. The normal question is worth one point and the tiebreaker (or the person closest to it) is another point. Good luck!
Winter Sports All-League Selections
The Patriot League released its all-league wrestling selections. Here is who made the cut:
Eaton — Toby Gavette, sr., 113; Dylan Yancey, sr., 138; Ty Garnhart, sr., 170; Tanner True, soph., 220
Estes Park — Elijah Kitchen, soph., 106
Platte Valley — Josh Yancey, jr., 160; Colton Moore, sr., 182; Ethan Malovich, sr., 170
University — Emanuel Munoz-Alcala, jr., heavyweight
Brush — Wyatt Pfau, sr., 170; Nick Wellen, jr., 182; Thomas Mettlen, sr., 195; Oswaldo Nunez, sr., 145
Sterling — Zach Loft, sr., 126; Isaac DeLeon, sr., 138; Drew Book, jr., 220
Valley — Angel Rios, jr., 106; Daniel Matthews, jr., 120; Noah Damian, jr., 126; Zach Brown, soph., 132; Isaiah Rios, soph., 138; Colin Brown, fr., 152; Jaziah Whaley, jr., 160
Stars set to shine at University MS
University Middle School is set to host the Weld County All-Star Games, featuring the top senior basketball players throughout northern Colorado — including the Patriot League.
The games are set for this Wednesday. The girls will play at 6 p.m., and the boys will play at 7:30 p.m. There will be 3-point shooting contest at halftime of both games.
Admission is $5.
Athletes of the Week Results
Numerous Patriot League players stepped up this past week in state basketball tournament games. Here is who you picked on Twitter as the league’s boys and girls athletes of the week.
Congrats to Addie and Carter!
Scoreboard
State Basketball Tournament — Round of 8 Matchups
Boys
No. 2 Sterling (23-1) vs. No. 7 Montezuma-Cortez (19-5), at Hamilton Gym at Denver University, 8:30 p.m. Thursday
No. 11 Resurrection Christian (19-5) vs. No. 3 Manual (21-3), at Hamilton Gym at Denver University, 1:15 p.m. Thursday
Girls
No. 5 Eaton (23-1) vs. No. 4 Delta (23-1), at Hamilton Gym at Denver University, 11:45 a.m. Thursday
Coming up in Friday's edition of The Playbook
Get all your results and analysis from the Round of 8 of the boys and girls state basketball tournaments!
Thanks for reading. See you Friday!
Bobby Fernandez, The Playbook Publisher
Quinn Ritzdorf, The Playbook Reporter
Did you enjoy this issue?
The Playbook

The Playbook — Your connection to Patriot League Sports News. Visit our Members page to start your subscription today.

Tweet     Share
This is a members only issue
You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here
Powered by Revue
501 8th Ave., Greeley, CO 80631

Become a member to read this issue in your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter and become a paying member. Learn more.

Already a member? Click here

Fill out your email address

We'll send over this issue. Make sure to use your membership email address.