Posted On: 01/2/18 2:25 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.
This year, three of the most intriguing teams in the Front Range League are Broomfield, Legacy and Mountain Range.
Last year’s record: 11-14, 5-7 in Front Range
Head coach: Terrence Dunn
Players to watch: Justin Berry (Sr.), Steven Croell (Jr.), Tanner Garner (Sr.), Michael Georgiton (Sr.), Devin Martinez (Sr.)
A rash of injuries down the home stretch of last season kept the Eagles from living up to their potential but they’re healthy now and off to a good start. This year’s team is led by a three-pronged offensive attack – Devin Martinez (14.4 ppg), Steven Croell (11.2) and Michael Georgiton (10.1) – and Martinez is a handful, playing at a lean and athletic 6-foot-7. The Eagles also have depth and an experienced rotation that has plenty of varsity experience. Off to a 6-3 start, the Eagles appear poised for a postseason berth in 2017-18.
What to expect from Broomfield this year
The Eagles feel as though they didn’t get a chance to show what they were capable of last season. Martinez, in particular, is a man on a mission after breaking his wrist last season, and is averaging 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a game to go with his 14.4 points. Croell, Garner and others are coming off a successful football season and provide the Eagles with a mental and physical toughness that many coaches in the FRL will envy.
Last year’s record: 10-13, 2-10 in Front Range
Head coach: Connor Clay
Players to watch: Tyler Boeckenstedt (Jr.), Jake Borelli (Jr.), Jack Olson (Jr.), Caden Sehr (Sr.), Jackson Stapleton (Jr.)
After several straight seasons hovering around or below the .500 mark and playing under its third coach in as many seasons, the Lightning appears to have the tools to break that trend in 2017-18. Senior point guard Caden Sehr is averaging 16.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 4.1 steals a game to lead this year’s team to a 9-2 mark after already playing 11 games in December. Jackson Stapleton (14.2 ppg) and Jack Olson (10.1) give the Lightning a pair of additional college recruits and the team is shooting a combined 34 percent from long range while having hit 61 total 3-pointers already.
What to expect from Legacy this year
Expect Legacy to be in the playoffs. The Lightning has already won nine games, including several high-scoring blowouts and a few close games that went down to the wire or into overtime. With a talented shooting team, the Lightning players don’t feel like they’re ever out of a game and think they have the skill and depth to reach the postseason in their first year under head coach Connor Clay.
Last year’s record: 16-8, 6-6 in Front Range
Head coach: Jim Mason
Players to watch: John Drennen (Sr.), Connor Jones (Jr.), Mike Polson (Sr.), Brandon Romero (Jr.), D’Angello Wright (Jr.)
Averaging 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, junior Brandon Romero has found his rhythm and the Mustangs have won their last six games to push their record to 7-3 before the break. In what could be a down year for last year’s conference leaders Boulder, Fort Collins and Fossil Ridge, the window appears to be opening for a younger Mountain Range club that won 16 games last season. Mike Polson (12.5 ppg) and Connor Jones (12.3) give the Mustangs three solid scoring options.
What to expect from Mountain Range this year
A big-time emphasis on the 3-point shot. Already this season, the Mustangs have attempted 270 shots from behind the 3-point line and they have made 34 percent of those attempts. Those shots are coming from a number of different players, as well, so it will be difficult for opponents to key in on one or two players a good ways away from the basket. The Mustangs are averaging over 60 points a game so expect them to keep their foot on the gas and try to compete for a league title this winter.