Posted On: 01/6/18 9:00 PM
The 2017-18 Colorado high school basketball season is in full swing and the winter break is over. With the New Year comes the excitement of conference races all across the state.
To prepare fans for league play, Prep Hoops is doing a preview series for each of Colorado’s Class 5A and 4A conferences, including which players to watch, what to expect and other noteworthy info on each league’s top teams.
The Colorado 7 League features a number of talented individuals – Conifer’s Mark Studer (17.5 ppg), Fort Morgan football star Trey McBride (17.2 ppg), Weld Central’s Elijah Reback (15.3 ppg) and Arvada’s Isaiah Vigil (14.1 ppg) to name a few. But only three Colorado 7 teams emerged from the first month and change of the season at or above the .500 mark. So let’s look at what Fort Lupton (4-3), Alameda (6-5) and Skyview (4-4) might have to offer in league play.
Last year’s record: 9-13, 4-7 in Colorado 7
Head coach: Geremey Gibson
Players to watch: Emmanuel Antar (Jr.), Domonic Creazzo (Jr.), Derek Guiterrez (Jr.), Isiah Lawson (Jr.), Luis Miera (So.)
Last season did not go as planned for the Pirates and then they graduated 32.7 points a game in the form of Anthony Lawson and Casey Pruitt. Despite the loss of last season’s top two scorers, the Pirates are already fast approaching last season’s win total through 11 games in 2017-18. This year’s team looks to be more balanced with four players scoring in double digits – Domonic Creazzo, Isiah Lawson, Emmanuel Antar and Luis Miera – for the Pirates, who are averaging 62.1 points a game.
What to expect from Alameda this year
Expect the Pirates to look like a different team by the end of the season. Though they have already played 11 games, the Pirates only have one senior on their roster so they have a lot of time left for young players to improve and for the team to build chemistry. With the team’s top six scorers so far in 2017-18 all juniors or younger, the Pirates have a lot to build toward in the future.
Fort Lupton Bluedevils
Last year’s record: 5-16, 1-6 in Colorado 7
Head coach: Jim Roedel
Players to watch: Gaven Case (Sr.), Cyrus Lefforge (Jr.), Joey Montes (Jr.), Elijah Mullet (So.), Ivan Quezada (Jr.)
Fort Lupton has one of the league’s highest scorers at this point in the season. That would be 5-foot-8 junior Joey Montes, who is averaging in the high teens and has been particularly effective from behind the 3-point line. The Bluedevils won just one conference game last season and they’ll need Montes to keep up the scoring, as well as a number of other players like Ivan Quezada and Elijah Mullet to show improvement from last year. This is, however, another young team that has just one senior on the varsity roster and has plenty of room for growth both in this season and the next.
What to expect from Fort Lupton this year
They’ll probably have some ups and downs, but this year’s iteration of the Bluedevils is undoubtedly better than last year’s. Fort Lupton won just five games in all of 2016-17 and is just one win shy of that mark already this winter. When they have struggled this season, it has resulted from long stretches in which their shots are not falling and the other team goes on significant runs. In their four wins, the Bluedevils have averaged 67.75 points. In their three losses, they have averaged just 35.
Last year’s record: 18-7, 10-0 in Colorado 7
Head coach: Paul Barringer
Players to watch: Robbie Bauderer (Jr.), Deyvon Butler (Sr.), Brandon Gilley (Sr.), Tomas Lopez (Jr.), Pete Medina (Jr.), Isaac Valdez (Sr.)
Last year’s Colorado 7 League champions, the Wolverines went undefeated in conference play to win the league title last year. Expectations will remain high for the Wolverines, who return their top two scorers from last season in Isaac Valdez and Deyvon Butler. On the other hand, the Wolverines did graduate a solid core of seniors from last year’s team that will be difficult to replace. From the looks of things early on, Butler (13.3 ppg) and fellow senior Brandon Gilley (12.9 ppg) are doing their best to fill in the gaps, at least in terms of scoring.
What to expect from Skyview this year
A potential league title contender again. At 4-4, the Wolverines’ early-season record doesn’t imply that they are going to take the conference by storm in 2018. But all four of their losses came during a particularly rough stretch of games in December and all four losses were by seven points or fewer against tough competition in Standley Lake (6-5), Ponderosa (9-1), Littleton (7-3) and Mountain View (7-4). That’s a decent record considering their strength of schedule so far and the Wolverines will come into league play having won three in a row.