By Bobby Fernandez, bfernandez@patriotplaybook
When the final buzzer sounds on the Class 3A Patriot League district basketball tournaments a week from now at the University of Northern Colorado’s Bank of Colorado Arena, one boys team and one girls team will walk away with championship hardware.
But, even for the other 10 programs, walking away completely empty handed really isn’t an option.
For many of these teams, advancing in the postseason and building further momentum will be the primary focus. The top two teams in the district automatically qualify for the state tournament, beginning March 1, and the other 18 statewide qualifiers are determined by CHSAA’s RPI system.
For other Patriot League teams, qualifying for state may be an unrealistic goal, but using this tournament to build for the future is paramount.
Here’s a look at what each of the Patriot League’s 11 members look to get out of the district tournaments this weekend and next week.
The tournament begins at home sites today. The second round and semifinals are Tuesday and Wednesday, also at home sites.
The finals take place Friday at UNC.
There may not be a school that has more to play for in this tournament than Brush does.
The Beetdiggers girls (6-4, 9-10) and boys (3-7, 9-10) are 31st and 40th, respectively, in 3A RPI.
A win or two in this tournament and the girls likely punch their ticket to next month’s state tournament. The boys, on the other hand, likely have to go on what would be a surprising run against strong competition to rise enough in RPI to snag a state tournament berth.
First-round opponents: The fifth-seeded girls receive a first-round bye before facing No. 4 University on the road in the second round at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The ninth-seeded boys face No. 8 Frontier Academy at 6 tonight in Greeley.