Thomas Trotman, a high school basketball parent and director of the Colorado Truth basketball club, provides insight into the prep and club basketball scene.
In each installment, Trotman will break down the week that was, and also look ahead.
Watch for Trotman’s basketball column — “Ball Fever” — each Monday during the season, and follow him on Twitter: @BallFever_CO_Tr.
- League play heats up
- Balance on display in 4A, 5A
- Denver East continues to roll in and out of state
- Big in-state matchups after the break
- D’Evelyn emerges in 4A
- Wild week could shake up rankings
- Valor wins Ralston Valley tournament
- Top-ranked Denver East off to solid start
- Overland freshman De’Ron Davis set to see his recruitment explode
- Dominique Collier drawing attention on club basketball scene
- Early highlights as the club season gets going
- 2011-12 season wrapup
A coach said this week that Denver East, “Just kinda jabs, spars with you early, and then they take off.” Most hoop fans are well aware of the Angels’ offensive capabilities, but they displayed some lock-down defense in their impressive wins this week. The No. 1 Angels are off this week until Saturday’s showdown with Highlands Ranch at the University of Denver.
Lewis-Palmer stood strong as the 4A No. 1, but Sand Creek, led by Josh Smith’s 16 points per game, is our lone undefeated in 4A. And they have a date with Lewis-Palmer this week.
The Week That Was
• The Fever crew made it out to an excited Regis Jesuit gym, where it felt like the two student sections were literally on the court at times. Mr. Devlin covered Elijah Valdez’s hot start and steady play in Mountain Vista’s crucial league win.
• Mr. Yunt was all over it in Tuesday’s roundup and Fossil Ridge taking down a hot, league-leading Monarch was just one of the games he covered.
• Highlands Ranch was looking to bounce back from a loss to Heritage and a drop from the coaches poll versus Castle View, and Evan Motlong led four Falcons in double figures with 20 points, followed by Zach Braxton’s 19, Nick Shumpert’s 14, and Isiah Parros’ 13 in a 87-49 win.
• No. 4 ThunderRidge rode Peter Howell’s 18, Zach Rusk’s 17, and eight 3-pointers as a team to overtake Littleton, 77-43. T-Ridge stays unbeaten in the tough Continental League which will be fun down the stretch.
• Heritage pulled off its second impressive win in a row following the upset of Highlands Ranch with a 67-61 home win over Chaparral. Eli Ziegler had 22 points (on four 3-point shots and 6-of-6 free throws) and Garrett Delphia had 15 points.
• Fort Collins outscored Boulder 17-8 in the final stage to bring home a 60-55 league win. Jonah Charnick scored an impressive 28 points for the Panthers, but Toby Van Ry’s 18 led four Fort Collins players in double figures in the win.
• Fairview continued its recent run, pulling away from Poudre, 60-48, behind Brent Wrapp and Austin Sparks scoring 20-plus points.
• Horizon pulled a bit of an overtime upset against rival Loveland, 84-76. Dillon Harshman scored 22 points, leading five Hawks in double figures, and Dustin Rivas put in 15.
• No. 1 Denver East showed no mercy racking up 96 points in a league win over Denver West. To East’s credit, nine Angels hit the scoring column led by Dominique Collier’s stat stuffing night of 19 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, five steals and four blocked shots. Big Tyre Robinson wasn’t far behind with 16 points, six rebounds and two blocks.
• The Fever crew has discussed how George Washinton’s Jevon Taylor can heat up. This night, the Patriot lit up Denver North for 30 points, which included 7-of-11 shooting from 3-point land. Truth 2013 point guard Jordon Davis also kicked in 19 points, three assists and three steals in the 76-54 GW win.
• Denver South stays hot and unbeaten in league play after an impressive road win where it outscored the Abaraham Lincoln 21-11 in the fourth quarter. That included Ibrahim Sylla’s last-second lay up which won the game. Sylla finished the night with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, and was followed by smooth junior wing Lorenzo Snoddy, who scored 11. Big Gabe Vasquez led three in double figures for Lincoln with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double.
• Fountain-Fort Carson kept itself in the Springs Metro League lead with a 55-44 win at Rampart behind the Davis brothers 16- and 14-point performances.
• Senior Larry Bridges exploded for 28 points in Rangeveiw’s 75-31 blowout of Westminster, keeping the Raiders unbeaten in league play.
• Leonard Hurst led four Trojans in double figures with 21 points in a 89-48 lopsided victory over Prairie View. Carlton Hurst added 20 and Lance Stephenson 19. Sophomore Luke Schwindaman scored 22 on 4-of-5 from 3-point land in the loss.
• Thornton is keeping pace in league play as well. They got defensive in holding Gateway to single digits in each of the final three quarters en route to a 40-34 win. Samuel Shumate scored 17 in the win.
• In a battle of 4A DPL squads, Kennedy scored a big home victory versus Thomas Jefferson. Senior Alex Coleman stepped up with a major double-double of 29 points and 10 rebounds. The junior back court of Reggie Hammons and Romello Washington added 13 and 18 points, respectively.
• 4A No. 4 Sand Creek kept its unbeaten streak alive with a 59-43 win over Palmer Ridge as Bryan Jenkins scored 17 and Josh Smith added 11 points.
• Lewis-Palmer returned to 4A’s No. 1 spot this week and Jordan Scott’s 28 points were a big part of the 18-point win over Discovery Canyon. Justin Smith and Chase Stone were in double figures, while Brandon Nachbar scored 22 in the loss.
• The No. 5 team in 4A used a 23-10 first-quarter advantage to pace Pueblo East in a 60-47 win over Pueblo Central. JohnPaul Eggert led three in double figures for Pueblo East in the win.
• Broomfield, 4A’s No. 8 squad ,earned a nine-point road win over Niwot as Alec McClain led all scorers with 15. Broomfield is unbeaten in league play.
• The Fever crew always feels the love in the Cougars gym and one of the “sickest” off the backboard alley oops from Anthony Murray to Drick Bernstine definitely makes the plays of the year so far. Bernstine led C Trail in this slow and sluggish Centennial battle with 14 points and Jay Nelson hit a timely 10 points including a 3-pointer that gave the Cougars the first substantial lead in the back and forth action. Bernstine added 10 rebounds while Murray found his open teammates with assists. C Trail’s win boosted them to 5-2 in league play while the Warriors fell to 4-3 in the race. Fort Lewis commit was the Warriors bright spot of the night scoring 16 points inside.
• Behind the hot hand of T’Aren Williams (23 points and five 3-pointers) Overland was able to grab a huge road victory in the Centennial League by handing No. 3 Eaglecrest its first league loss. Mr. Devlin took in the rough-and-tumble league matchup.
• Grandview found a rhythm on this night, getting a 20-point win over Cherry Creek. The Wolves’ trio of seniors Garcia, Gentry and Cosby-Lee all scored in double figures with Garcia’s 20 being tops. Every Wednesday/Friday is crucial in the league and this win kept Grandview in the hunt at 5-2 in league.
• Smoky Hill earned its first league win over Mullen on the road. Three Buffaloes scored in double figures, led by Chris Williams and Trent Clay who both had 15 points and six rebounds.
• It doesn’t look like big Jon Snow was able to join the fun in the big Jeffco game of the night, and Ralston Valley got strong performances from Spencer Svejcar, Hunter Price, and Michael Dell, who all scored in double figures in the 61-58 victory.
• Also in Jeffco, Chatfield jumped up to 5A’s No. 6 spot and started the week with a 77-54 win over Lakewood.
• D’Evelyn, at No. 2 in 4A, put up a 97-58 win against Green Mountain. Luke Stratman again put up big numbers with 27, but his mate Grant Witherspoon was right behind him on this night with 25 points of his own.
• Game of the night was No. 1 Denver East visiting league foe Lincoln, and the number of college coaches and scouts — including CU’s Tad Boyle — proved it to be must-see hoops. The game was tied at the end of the first quarter, but an 18-8 second quarter proved to be the difference for the Angels on their way to a 62-51 road win. Denver East’s starting five will be a tough match for any team in the state. The flexibility of Carey, Collier, Griffin, Harrell, and Robinson — four guards and one big man spacing the floor, sharing the ball, with efficient shooting — shows exactly how these Angels have been so tough in- and out-of-state. Coach Valdez mixed the defenses and the Lancers played with true heart, no quit at all, but East’s multiple weapons proved to be too much. When the Lancers did apply late trapping and pressure, the multiple ball handlers on the floor found big Tyre Robinson roaming the baseline for ferocious dunks. Speaking of dunks — big guard Jevon Griffin brought everyone up with a third quarter dunk right down the middle of the lane. Coach Valdez’s boys played until the clock struck zero, as you would always expect from one of his Lancer squads, and Michael Sparks was a standout on this night, scoring 22 points to help keep Lincoln in striking distance. Lancers showed they will be tough down the stretch, as well.
• Fountain-Fort Carson stretched its league lead with another win over a southern foe in a balanced 49-40 win over Doherty. Alexander Davis had 10 in the win and Shane Fox 21 for the Spartans in the loss.
• Rangeview continued its strong play of late. The Raiders got defensive in holding Adams City to single digits in two of four quarters, and Jeremiah Paige exploded for 35 points, which was the same amount the opposing team scored. The Raiders remain unbeaten in league play.
• If we have this info right, Wasson shut Sierra out in the second quarter, leading to a 69-30 win. Three seniors — Richie Perea, DJ Hanes, and Dominic Garcia — were all in double figures.
• Big Alan Herndon got his Widefield squad to a 5-2 mark in league play as he scored 27 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the 58-50 win over Harrison.
• Mr. Devlin covered Fairview’s win over Fort Collins, which helped the Knights keep pace with Monarch in the Front Range.
• Mr Yunt’s Friday roundup covered some awesome Centennial and Continental league games. None were bigger than Grandview’s home win over Eaglecrest, which caused a three-way tie atop the Centennial when Cherokee Trail finished its week 2-0 following a blowout of Smoky Hill.
• Mountain Vista and Regis Jesuit have deservedly received a lot of attention in Continental League play, but in the Friday roundup Mr. Yunt mentioned Coach Ortiz’s ThunderRidge squad that keeps trucking along. On this night, they got a strong 12-point win over neighborhood rival Highlands Ranch behind Joe Marrucci’s 19 points. The Grizzlies have run off six-straight victories after their loss to No. 1 Denver East. T-Ridge will be looking to move up in our rankings after the Eaglecrest losses this week.
• Overland earned a road league win over Mullen and T’Aren Williams kept his hot hand from earlier in the week, scoring 17 points in the 62-58 win. Austin Conway (14) and DeRon Davis (10) were also in double figures.
• Cherry Creek and Arapahoe rekindled their rivalry and we were treated to a back-and-forth tussle almost as entertaining as their double-overtime tilt in the league opener. Senior guard Sam Stoveall again proved hard to guard as he scored 19 points with an array of shots from different angles in the Bruins’ 46-43 road win over the Warriors. Keep an eye out for a sophomore with a strong frame and balanced all-around game in Will Bower, who threw down one of the most impressive put-back dunks we’ve seen this season. Bower is strong, patient, and works hard on both ends. Arapahoe showed a strong fight behind Mitch Albyn’s 14 points and solid inside play, but Creek took advantage of the Warriors rare poor shooting night of 2-for-17 from the 3-point line. The win keeps Creek in the Centennial race at 5-3 in league play.
• Heritage made it three wins in a row behind Eli Ziegler’s 18 points in the 66-56 win over Castle View. Big Matt Dowsey with the 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in the loss.
• Chaparral was in need of a big win after falling below .500 and sophomore Jake Holtzmann stepped up with 20 points, four rebounds, two steals and three blocks. Fellow sophomore Chris Moody had 11 points and nine rebounds.
• Our state’s No. 2 squad Mountain Vista piled up the points in a 91-64 league win over Douglas County. Elijah Valdez’s 28 points, along with three other Eagles in double figures, moved Vista to 16-0 overall. Sophomore Ryley Stewart poured in 28 in the loss.
• Very rare for a team to start out with a 24-11 advantage on Legend’s floor but that’s exactly what Regis Jesuit did as the Raiders rode Josh Perkins’ 21-point, 11-assist double-double to a 72-61 league win to break the second place tie.
• Boulder pulled to a 6-4 league tie with Loveland after a one-point 59-58 win on the road.
• Also in the Front Range league, Fossil Ridge used a 15-5 fourth quarter run to pull off a 55-43 road win behind Coday McCoy’s 17 points, four rebounds and five assists.
• Chatfield advances to 17-1 as they ring up a 90-29 blow out of Pomona.
• Seniors Carlton Hurst and Tyler Stephenson both scored in double figures, leading to Aurora Central’s league win over Thornton 62-41. Hurst was stat-stuffing again and was two assists away from a triple-double: 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
• Montbello was trying to get tuned up for Denver East in their 59-52 win at Denver North. Truth’s Kedrick Stewart lived on the line scoring 21 points, 17-of-22 free throws, seven rebounds and fourassists. Strong sophomore Troy Green added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
• Two of DPL’s top 4A teams had a battle and big Eric Andres lifted Thomas Jefferson to an impressive 56-50 road win over the hot South Rebels. Andres finished with a monster double-double of 29 points and 17 rebounds.
• Down south, Lewis-Palmer and Sand Creek posted Friday night wins to stay undefeated in league play to set up their colossal matchup next week.
• Pueblo East’s JonPaul Eggert led four in double figures with 19 as they beat Pueblo South by 18 before their big 4A showdown with Broomfield.
• The No. 1 East Angels, seemingly always impressive offensively, got defensive in the second half versus a talented Montbello team. Mr. Devlin was in the packed Thunderdome to take in the city rivalry.
• Doherty got even at 2-2 in league play as Eli Peterson led three in double figures with 17 in the 52-41 win over Palmer.
• Mesa Ridge and Harrison had an overtime battle down south and Thomas Jackson’s 22 points helped Harrison win by seven.
• Wasson has a welcomed addition to their roster in senior Dominic Garcia, who poured in 34 points, seven rebounds and nine steals in the lopsided win over Woodland Park.
• Check out the Saturday roundup for the report on Sand Creek advancing to 16-0 taking down Valor Christian behind 32 big points from smooth wing Josh Smith.
• Mr. Yunt covered the rough and tumble free throw contest between two of our top 10 4A teams when Pueblo East visited Broomfield.
The Week Ahead:
• No. 2 Mountain Vista at Ponderosa.
• ThunderRidge at Heritage.
• Regis at Highlands Ranch.
• Fossil Ridge at Boulder.
• Loveland at Monarch.
• Aurora Central at Rangeview could be for the league title.
• Kennedy at Denver South.
• Montbello at Thomas Jefferson with some athletic “bigs” battling down low.
• No. 1 Lewis-Palmer at undefeated Sand Creek down south.
• Cherry Creek at Eaglecrest.
• Cherokee at Overland.
• D’Evelyn at Conifer.
• Chatfield at Bear Creek.
• Liberty visits Lincoln.
• Widefield at Mesa Ridge.
• Wasson vs Coronado.
• Pueblo West at Pueblo East.
• Arapahoe at Eaglecrest.
• Grandview at Cherokee Trail.
• Legend at Ponderosa.
• ThunderRidge at Mountain Vista in a top-five matchup with league title implications.
• Fort Collins at Loveland up north.
• Kennedy at George Washington.
• Columbine at Dakota Ridge.
• Evergreen at D’Evelyn.
• Lewis-Palmer at Cheyenne Mountain.
• Broomfield at Longmont.
• No. 1 Denver East vs. Highlands Ranch at the DU Ritchie Center.
• Cheyenne Mountain at Valor Christian.
This Week’s Rankings