Posted On: 11/26/18 1:39 PM
After what seemed like eternity we finally have high school basketball back – YAYYYY!! We get the first week started with some good overall play. Some teams are headed to tournaments, some getting their out of conference play started and without further ado I give you the games of the week.
George Washington v. Smoky Hill
Now this is more like it! This is how you start out a season. Two of the state’s best teams going at it with a strong out of conference schedule and it’s capped off on the season’s opening night with this. This is the game of the week and an interesting one to see how the Patriot’s young team can respond after another championship loss. The Patriots return JoVon Nelson and Kendale Johnson who both were role players last season but now will be tasked with plenty. Johnson is the No. 1 player in the sophomore class and has the potential to take the state by storm and Nelson will have to run the team and be the true point guard.
On Smoky’s side they have one of the most complete teams in the state. They come in on our Preseason rankings at the No.2 spot and that’s because of University of Wyoming commit Kenny Foster who will be the favorite for Mr. Basketball. I expect Foster to have a career year scoring and get over 20 points a game and keep the Buffaloes as a top team in the state. Alongside him is Quinten Rock who can light it up from deep and also an underrated passer. Those two make up for one of the best backcourts in the state. I expect this one to be a packed house game full of highlights.
Doherty v. Vista Peak
Practically Doherty’s entire team graduate last year besides Alijah Bates so it will be on Bates to carry the load which is even cooler because it shows the type of athlete he is. Bates is one of the best athletes in the state and committed to Arizona State University. Seeing a football guy out there getting it done on the hardwood is an interesting dynamic that the state will have to be here for as I expect Doherty to be one of Colorado Springs’ most interesting teams. Another name that spectators will get to know is Lucas Moerman as he is a 6’10 slender built big man that is one of the top defenders in the 2020 class that has gone under the radar for far too long.
Vista Peak is a team that I think surprises a few teams. I really enjoy Jaerron Hunter and Curtis Stovall as two emerging guards that will challenge backcourts all season. Hunter is a guard that sees the floor and attacks his spots. He finds the open man and finishes well at the rim. Stovall is a sophomore that can light it up. He finishes with either hand, has a high basketball I.Q and has a well-polished game that will be recognized this year. Stovall will surely be a player that shoots up our rankings as the season goes along and I expect a big season starting with the first game.
Thunder Ridge v. Overland
T-Ridge has Austin Holt, Kevin Sax and Bailey Verk and will be the team with the best big men every single night. If you want to beat them you will have to win the guard battle and that’s a good thing because Overland has Hezekiah Swanson and Trevon Deden to try and combat those bigs. Graham Ike for Overland is coming off of a season he was injured and also will be looking to carry his team downlow as he will be a mismatch most nights out. This will be one of the best big men battles the state will see this year. Whoever wins down low wins the game and this is a game that everyone should try and make it to.
Rangeview v. Overland
Overland has some good games for their first week and is one of the things that standout about the Trailblazers, they do not dodge any tough competition. They are not afraid to go against the best teams in the state and will have to get off to a better start than last season. This is a team that standouts as they have bench players that can also standout with a great defensive starting unit.
I really, really like this Range View team as they have Jodaun Dotson at point guard who sees the floor and gets everyone involved while getting his own. Christian and Christopher Speller on the wings are strong as well as they bring it on both ends of the floor and Isaiah Hayes also is a playmaker that makes it hard on the defense. This will be a team that can switch things up mid game and it will be tough for teams to try and figure them out. Rangeview is a team I will be paying close attention to this year as a personal favorite.
Fairview v. Chaparral
Fairview have two players that are far under the radar and actually when looking at it unsure how we haven’t had more coverage on these two. Jalen Page is coming off of a year that he averaged 14.8 points and 5.5 rebounds a game as a sophomore. He led a very young team to a good season overall and will look to continue his dominant ways. Alongside him is Mark Dolan (13.7 ppg) who is a combo guard that gets it done in a variety of ways. They also have Henry Blackburn and Mark O Neill who will look to make a name for themselves and this could be a special year for this group who will have another year under their belt and are made up of a majority of underclassmen.Senior Ashton Nichols is also coming off of a season where he averaged 8.4 points and 3.3 rebounds a game and was also an honorable mention and standout in the Front Range league. He will be the leader of a very talented bunch that got a taste of what the playoffs are like as they won their first playoff game since 2014 last season. This is a deep unit that when they get going will be dangerous.
Chaparral is the team everyone wants to see how they do. They will be without Ronnie DeGray this year and will need others to step up. I do think they take a step back but know that this is still a team capable of beating any team in the state. Kobe Sanders and Joseph Dalton make up the backcourt and can both shoot the ball. Tizell Lewis is a lock down defender who will be tasked at stopping opposing big men and Bryce Matthews will take over big men duty. Look for this team to get a feel for each other to start the season and then get solid when they are comfortable.