Prep roundup: Harrison's winning ways brings excitement back to rivalry with Sierra

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Photo - Palmer coach Jimmy Grantz watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, at Palmer High School. Sand Creek won 68-63. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Palmer coach Jimmy Grantz watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, at Palmer High School. Sand Creek won 68-63. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Harrison's winning ways brings excitement back to rivalry with Sierra

The Harrison-Sierra rivalry that has been so ice cold on the hardwood over the past few years has found its allure again.

The Panthers (10-9, 6-6 4A Colorado Springs Metro League) are winners of five straight, their longest streak since 2011, and they'll host the league-leading Stallions (16-3, 12-0) in boys' basketball Wednesday.

Harrison's stretch of victories brings excitement back to a program that hasn't had a winning record in five seasons. And while that won't yet put them on the same level as Sierra and its 41 straight wins inside league, it brings something that has been lacking in the rivalry: confidence.

"For us, we feel like we can play with anybody," first-year Harrison coach Orlando Sanchez said. "They're a great team. They haven't lost in conference for like 100 years. Our guys are ready. They're pumped."

The Panthers started league 1-6 before rolling off wins over TCA, Mesa Ridge, Woodland Park, Elizabeth and Canon City in the past two weeks.

It's no fluke, Sanchez said.

"My guys have been working hard all season, they're just starting to buy in," he said. "Harrison hasn't had the best reputation in winning, so changing that culture, man. They finally started buying into the system and all the hard work they put in earlier in the season is starting to pay off."

Grantz gets 300th win to the surprise of everyone

Palmer coach Jimmy Grantz didn't tell his team or the school administration that he was nearing his 300th win as a high school basketball coach.

He waited until Saturday's 51-35 win over Coronado sealed the milestone.

"I'm the only one that knew about it," Grantz said. "We've been sitting on 299 for a little while and I didn't tell my AD or anybody. I was real worried about jinxing it.

"I'm somewhat superstitious about stuff like that."

Grantz has led three programs in the area over his 25-year tenure. He started at Peyton (1992-94), then Mitchell (1994-2004), and has spent the past 12 years with the Terrors.

Palmer wrestling makes do after losing its hosting duties for regionals

Palmer wrestling coach Martin Davidson believes his team's region, 5A Region 1, is the toughest in the state. Hard to argue with defending champ Pomona leading the way.

So, a home site would've been nice under those circumstances.

Davidson said he was mapping out plans for Palmer to host the regional a month and a half ago when he learned that the site was being moved.

The Colorado High School Activities Association changed the regional location to Fountain-Fort Carson after it deemed the Terrors' gymnasium "too small", Davidson said.

The CHSAA wrestling bulletin, which comes out before the season, has the region site listed at Palmer High School.

"We volunteered to do it and we were setting up plans and stuff and they came back and say our gym is too small," Davidson said. "They basically said our gym was 5 feet too short. They wanted more space to have more of a buffer around the mat."

Davidson said he plans on retiring at season's end after 26 years as head of Palmer's wrestling program.

"It's my last year coaching and it'd been nice to have it in the gym, and that was my original thought to go out with a bang," Davidson said. "But that's not going to happen, so the next best thing is it's in town so the kids can sleep in their own beds."

Peyton hopes for the best with Hanks' injury

Peyton guard Shian Hanks left in the third quarter of Friday's game against Calhan with what is feared to be a season-ending knee injury.

"My assistant coach and I were talking and that's our fear that it is a tear," Peyton coach Jeff Wiseheart said by phone Saturday. "Shian, and she's a very optimistic kid, she thinks it's just a sprain ... but I don't know, she's not moving on it very good right now."

The junior fell to the court after drawing contact on her way to the basket. She stayed down and needed to be helped off the floor, Wiseheart said.

"As soon as I turned and looked and saw her on the floor I knew it was bad," Wiseheart said. "Shian usually bounces right back up and she was down for the count at that point.

"I knew it was going to be pretty bad."

Hanks played through back spasms over the past month and still scores 11.7 points per game this season. She plans to get her knee checked out by a doctor Monday, Wiseheart said.

BRENT W. NEW, THE GAZETTE