Scouting state playoffs: 6 area teams remain in the hunt for a high school basketball title

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Photo - The Mesa Ridge Grizzlies (62) host rival Widefield Gladiators (45) in a conference Girls Varsity Basketball game Tuesday January 9, 2018.  Photo by Jeff Kearney.















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The Mesa Ridge Grizzlies (62) host rival Widefield Gladiators (45) in a conference Girls Varsity Basketball game Tuesday January 9, 2018. Photo by Jeff Kearney. .

And then there were six.

Two weeks of intense postseason basketball, six teams from the Pikes Peak region remain in the hunt for a state title.

Find out what is around the corner for our area squads in the next round.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

CLASS 4A

No. 2 Lewis-Palmer

Game data: No. 2 Lewis-Palmer vs. No. 6 Pueblo West … semifinals … 4 p.m. Friday at Denver Coliseum. Winner moves on to the championship game on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Scouting report: Lewis-Palmer used some last-second magic to punch its ticket to the semifinal thanks to a 3-pointer at the buzzer, which lifted the Rangers over No. 10 Widefield last weekend. It was their closest game since their last loss in January. On average, the Rangers outscore opponents by more than 20 points.

Pueblo West enters the semifinals after having beaten two area teams in the state tournament. The Cyclones knocked out Discovery Canyon and Mesa Ridge on the way to the semifinals. The Grizzlies put up a fight against Pueblo West, falling to the Cyclones by just three points in the round of 16. In its last five wins, Pueblo West has outscored opponents by an average of 9.6 points, and averaged 68.6 ppg. Lewis-Palmer has averaged 69.9 ppg during its 11-game winning streak.

CLASS 2A

No. 7 Ellicott

Game data: No. 2 Yuma vs. No. 7 Ellicott … First round … 10:15 a.m. Thursday at Budweiser Events Center.

Scouting report: The Thunderhawks earned a spot in the Class 2A state tournament with a Region 7 championship win over Calhan in overtime. Ellicott enters the tournament 15-9 and will face No. 2 Yuma, which won the Region 2 title over Evangelical Christian last weekend. Ellicott has won six straight heading into the tournament, while Yuma (22-2) is riding an 18-game winning streak.

The Thunderhawks average just over 56 points, and the Indians average 60.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

CLASS 4A

No. 8 Mesa Ridge

Game data: No. 8 Mesa Ridge vs. No. 12 Pueblo South … semifinals … 4 p.m. Thursday at Denver Coliseum. Winner moves on to the Class 4A championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Scouting report: Mesa Ridge has not had an easy road to be among the final four teams. The Grizzlies have posted comebacks and narrow wins in two rounds so far this postseason but they always find a way to get it done. A three-point win over Pueblo West in the round of eight earned the team a ticket to the semifinals, and Mesa Ridge also eked out a one-point win over No. 25 Littleton in the second round.

Now, the Grizzlies will face No. 12 Pueblo South, a familiar opponent that Mesa Ridge beat handily in 67-48 victory in the first game of the regular season.

Mesa Ridge averages 66 points, while the Colts average 58.

Pueblo South earned a trip to the semifinals by beating No. 20 Sierra by 31 points in the round of eight, and upsetting No. 5 Valor Christian in the third round.

The Colts had a rocky start to their season, heading into 2018 with a 4-6 record, but were 10-3 in the remaining half of the season to earn a first-round bye.

No. 15 Widefield

Game data: No. 6 Evergreen vs. No. 15 Widefield … semifinals … 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Denver Coliseum. Winner moves on to the Class 4A championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Scouting report: The Gladiators are the area’s big surprise heading into the weekend. The No. 15 seed secured a pair of upsets to earn a trip to the semifinals, including a six-point win over No. 2 Holy Family, and a one-point victory last week against No. 10 Golden.

Evergreen, on the other hand, has gone through two area teams this postseason, knocking out No. 22 Lewis-Palmer and No. 3 Air Academy in a round of eight upset.

Widefield averages 56 points, while Evergreen puts up 53.

Looking at common opponents, Widefield has lost to Air Academy, which was upended by Evergreen last week, while the Cougars lost to Holy Family in early December, which Widefield beat by six in the second round of the playoffs.

CLASS 3A

No. 3 St. Mary’s

Game data: No. 3 St. Mary’s vs. No. 6 Cedaredge … round of eight … 8:45 a.m. Thursday at the University of Denver. The winner will play in the Class 3A semifinals Friday.

Scouting report: The Pirates have breezed through the first two rounds of the state tournament after settling for second in the Tri-Peaks league. St. Mary’s has outscored opponents by an average of 31 points  through the first two rounds.

No. 6 Cedaredge has not been as offensively dominant in the postseason, eking out a three-point win over No. 11 Jefferson Academy in the second round, and has not scored more than 38 points through the first two rounds.

The Pirates average 62 points, while Cedaredge relies on its defense, scoring just 39 points per game. With that being said, the Bruins have held opponents to 10 points or fewer three times this season, and holds opponents, on average, to 29.4 points.

No. 4 Colorado Springs Christian

Game data: No. 4 Colorado Springs Christian vs. No. 5 Centauri … round of eight … 4 p.m. Thursday at the University of Denver. The winner will play in the Class 3A semifinals Friday.

Scouting report: Like St. Mary’s, CSCS has also had an easy ride through the first two rounds, claiming a pair of big wins to earn a trip to the round of eight. Most recently, the Lions earned a 40-point win over No. 13 Eaton in the round of 16, but their next opponent might not go down so easily.

No. 5 Centauri claimed a 62-point win in the opening round against No. 28 Stargate, and a 15-point win over Manitou Springs last week.

Offensively both teams are very similar. CSCS averages 58 points , while Centauri averages 55. They also boast similar stats in rebounds (both average 31 boards) and steals (CSCS averages 15, Centauri has 14).

Looking at common opponents, the Lions have the edge, beating Pagosa Springs handily, 40-19 in December, while Centauri lost to the Pirates twice this season.