The high school basketball season like no other has reached the state playoffs, with three local teams receiving home games in tonight’s opening round.
The Princess Monument of Fruita, who won their fifth Southwest League title in the last six years, received the No. 15 in Class 5A and host No. 18 Ponderosa (7-5) at 5.30pm.
The Wildcats (10-3) lost just one SWL game, to Central, but dropped the home-and-home series to Delta, the fifth seed in Class 3A. If Fruita wins tonight, the Round of 16 will be a tough one, likely to face second seed Regis Jesuit (11-1), who take on Eaglecrest (7-7) in the first half.
Central (11-3) plays Lewis-Palmer (6-7) at 5pm at home in the Women’s Class 4A tournament, and a win is likely to send the Warriors to The Classical Academy, seed No. 8, except for Berthoud, seeded 25th, can make mistakes.
Palisade (10-4) is the No. 28 and travel to No. 5 Falcon (13-1) at 7pm. The winner will face No. 12 Mead or No. 21 Coronado.
The other game in town tonight is at Caprock Academy, where the No. 10 Eagles (11-3) plays No. 23 Fleming (7-5). Caprock wants to stop the two successive defeats that have ended his regular season. Third seeded De Beque’s boys (13-1) received a first-round bye.
The Class 5A and 4A state tournaments have a 32 bracket, with Class 3A, Class 2A and Class 1A tournaments having fields of 24, with the top eight teams receiving byes to Sweet 16.
Boys Palisade (10-4) seeded No. 17 and played at No. 16 Aurora Central (10-3) at 7pm in the Class 4A tournament. No. 21 Grand Junction (9-5) plays No. 12 Holy Family (9-5) 6pm.
Montrose (14-0) received the No. 3 in Class 4A and host No. 30 Palmer Ridge (6-7) at 6pm.
Coal Ridge (11-3) is the No. 13 in the Men’s Class 3A tournament, hosted Buena Vista (8-3). Aspen (12-1) received the No. 6 and bye on the first lap.
In the Class 3A women’s tournament, Delta (12-2) has a bye to Sweet 16 and can face opponents from the Western Slope League – No. 12 Moffat County (9-3) Host No. 21 Manitou Springs (6-3), with the winner traveling to Delta on Thursday. The Panthers beat Moffat County 58-41 earlier this season.
Grand Valley Women (8-6) are seeded 24th and play No. 9 Pagosa Springs (10-3). Coal Ridge (11-3) is No. 15 and got a first-round home game against Ellicott (9-4).
Five Western Slope teams are in the Class 2A women’s tournament, with No. 2 Cedaredge (13-1) and No. 6 Paonia (12-2) receives byes at Sweet 16. Cedaredge awaits the winner from Plateau Valley No. 18 (6-8), who played in No. 15 Del Norte (9-5).
Olathe (9-5) is the No. 14 and will host tonight against No. 19 Sargent (8-6). Hotchkiss (8-6) is the No. 17 and is at No. 16 Lotus School for Excellence (13-0) in Aurora.
The coronavirus pandemic prompted CHSAA officials to reduce the number of teams reaching the postseason and shorten the playoffs to two weeks.
The last 16 matches in all classifications are Thursday and the Top 8 matches are all Saturday at the home site. The Final Four, also played on this year’s host site, is March 16, with championship matches in all classifications being played on March 19 and 20 at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.