Posted On: 02/26/18 3:29 PM

Well, the second round of the 5A Colorado High School State Playoffs has come and went after some entertaining basketball that included some upsets, some blowouts and some very good and entertaining games and now we’re in the Sweet 16 with some interesting matchups from the teams remaining. Prep Hoops Colorado has you covered on what to expect and who stands out in each region.

Richard Tate Region:

Who is in it?

Thunder ridge, Greeley West, Brighton, Broomfield, Fruita Monument, Prairie View, Doherty, Arvada West, Poudre, Highlands Ranch, Cherry Creek, Horizon

Surprise performance:

The surprise performance from the second round of the tournament and one that many got wrong was Fruita Monument’s upset over Broomfield. Fruita won 83-76 thanks in part to late game execution, having multiple players such as Blake Anderson who went for 19 points, strong play from Ian Barnes and an offensive explosion from Reilly Flinn who went for a whopping 27 points and was the MVP in the game. That sustained play with also Caden Olson and Trey Morrill stepping up like in the previous round gives them a chance against Thunder ridge who has been playing some of the best basketball in the state. If they’re able to build on one upset, they could possible go down with the upset of the tournament, it’ll just take plenty of stops and controlling the game from start to finish. I expect this team to come out firing, now if it’s enough for scorching hot Thunder ridge, we’ll have to see.

Who will win it?

I’m still riding with Thunder ridge to win this region and make it to the Final Four. They have been playing consistent basketball and also have the best record in the state at 23-1 on the season. They have seniors that have been stepping up and have solid play from their youth as well as a bench unit that keeps up the production. They’re coming off of a 78-51 beating against Greeley West and are on a path that doesn’t seem as if it’s slowing down any time soon. Last game it was the seniors who led the team as Justin McCaw finished with a game high 23 points and Kaison Hammonds finished with 12. Tyson Cruickshank continued his solid play and added 15 points as this unit showed that on any given night one of these players are going to get it done. This is a sound defensive unit that knows how to play well together and their defensive play makes them that much more difficult to beat. Tough, tough bunch that looks like they have what it takes to win the whole thing.

Most likely upset:

Cherry Creek at Doherty

Cherry Creek’s resume as of late is one of the strongest in the state as they were just overshadowed by the fact that they are in the almighty Centennial league. In their last five games they have two losses but if you take a look at those losses it tells you a lot more about the team than their 15-10 overall record says. They lost an overtime game to Eagle crest by one who still remain in the Sweet 16 and also a three point loss to Grandview who is also still there and a favorite. With those losses they have a win against Smoky Hill and their 47-40 second round upset against No. 10 Highlands Ranch, this team can gut out a win. Dimitri Stanley has used his athleticism as the difference in these games and players like Alex Pell, Sebastian Cole and Rashon Johnson have also added needed assistance. This is a team that controls the entire pace of the game and does what it has to take away your best piece and as good as Doherty has looked, if they aren’t on their A game, this will be a battle. I do expect Doherty to come out and try and push the pace, feed the paint and make it difficult inside with Kyrele Benford, Alijah Bates and Joe Golden all attacking at one time. This can either be a game where Cherry Creek does all the right things and upsets Doherty or Doherty handles business and blows them out.

Key players to watch for out of this region:

Kaison Hammonds, Austin Holt, Tyson Cruickshank, Reilly Flinn, Blake Anderson, Justin McCaw, Kyrele Beneford, Joe Golden, Dimitri Stanley, Darius Price, Alijah Bates