Notebook: ThunderRidge, Broomfield among many contenders in 5A girls hoops

Broomfield ThunderRidge girls basketball

ThunderRidge and Broomfield have already played twice so far this season. Will they meet again when the 5A title is up for grabs? (Pam Wagner)

In a span of seven days earlier this month, ThunderRidge and Broomfield girls basketball went head-to-head twice. The second time, T-Ridge was ranked No. 1 in 5A, with the Eagles No. 2. Total margin of victory in the two games — both ThunderRidge wins — was 11 points.

Here's the point: We'll very likely be seeing these two teams matchup again come the postseason in Class 5A, and it may come at CU's Coors Events Center.

ThunderRidge, which is still ranked No. 1, is now 7-1, with the lone loss coming to Fremd (Ill.) at the annual Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix. They already own wins over Fossil Ridge (last year's runner-up), Holy Family (No. 3 in 4A), and Fairview (No. 8 in 5A). The Grizzlies, to be sure, are legitimate threats for a title at this point.

Broomfield, meanwhile, is having an incredible amount of early success after moving up from 4A this season. The Eagles were unbeaten all year last season before falling to Mesa Ridge in the 4A title game.

This season, they've won some big games — including a 19-point win over then-No. 6 Ralston Valley on Dec. 11, as well as a victory over a Denver East (5-2) team which has strung together three wins over out-of-state schools at a tournament in Las Vegas in the past week.

There's also the 47-45 loss to ThunderRidge on Dec. 13 which shows what the Eagles (5-2) are capable of. Heading to break, they are ranked No. 4.

So these two teams may very well be on a collision course.

But others will have a say in this. 5A is as open as it's been in years.

Grandview (current No. 2, and led by Michaela Onyenwere), Highlands Ranch (No. 3, and coached by the legendary Caryn Jarocki), and Monarch (No. 5, just won the Prairie View Tournament) are all contenders come tournament time. And that's not even to say anything of a team like Regis Jesuit, which has struggled somewhat out of the gate, but can't be counted out.

Alumni meet in NCAA volleyball championship

When Penn State beat BYU to win the NCAA volleyball championship on Saturday, it was Doherty vs. Longmont — at least as far as we're concerned.

Haleigh Washington, the super talent out of Doherty, averaged 2.63 kills per set for the Nittany Lions as a freshman this season. She had three kills and four total blocks in the championship match.

Tambre Nobles (whose maiden name is Haddock), a 2011 graduate of Longmont, averaged 2.12 kills and 1.89 digs per set for BYU as a senior this season. She had seven kills and a team-high 12 digs in the championship match. Nobles was also a standout basketball player and track athlete in high school.

Penn State also features sophomore Laura Broerman of St. Mary's.

CSU-Pueblo's championship team loaded with local talent

It's fairly often that Colorado's high school athletes are maligned nationally.

So when CSU-Pueblo won the Division II national football championship on Saturday, it made a statement. Eighty-two of the 122 players on the ThunderWolves' roster were from in-state high schools. Furthermore, 13 of CSU-Pueblo's 22 starters hailed from in-state.

Yes, it's Division II, and because of that pundits will thumb their noses at it, but this is an incredible achievement for this program, and says a lot about the state of Colorado's talent. This is a team that was overwhelmingly — both in terms of overall numbers, and in terms of contributors — made up of local talent.

Colorado's level of talent is so much better than it gets credit for nationally. This championship is just further proof of the type of kids produced by our high schools.

Short stuff

  • How fast was girls swimming's Coaches Invitational on Saturday? Valor Christian's Brooke Stenstrom swam 23.49 in the 50 free, which beat the 4A state meet record. And she finished second to Rock Canyon's Abigail Kochevar.
  • New Colorado State football coach Mike Bobo was introduced on Tuesday. He talked about the importance of recruiting in-state kids: "I believe (recruiting) starts in the state, in Colorado. This is our state, and we've got to start from top to bottom in this state and recruit the best high school football players year-in and year-out. Does that mean we're going to get every high school football player in this state to come to Colorado State? No. But we're going to try."
  • Cherry Creek football finished at No. 64 in MaxPreps' final computer rankings. The Bruins, who won the 5A championship, are the highest-ranked Colorado team. Valor Christian, the 5A runner-up, is the next-highest at No. 128, while Ralston Valley is No. 129.
  • Strasburg wide receiver Brian Nichols and Legacy tight end Logan Paulson are members of USA Football's 2015 U.S. Select Team which will play an international game at Cowboys Stadium on Jan. 31. Meanwhile, Cherry Creek offensive lineman Jimmy Pallotto (under-18 team), Glenwood Springs quarterback Dante Sparaco (U17), Cherry Creek linebacker Santino Marchiol (U17) and Cherry Creek defensive lineman Omid Manshadi (U16) will also take part in the 2015 International Bowl as members of various national teams.
  • Resurrection Christian senior Zach Lish set the hockey program's career scoring record.
  • Here's a look at Denver East's first year as a hockey program. The team is off to a 6-1-0 start.
  • The NFHS has completed a position paper out of its Concussion Summit Task Force. The ideas set by the paper will be discussed at a meeting in January. It states that "minimizing the risk of head trauma and concussion in all sports is a priority for the NFHS."