Ball Fever: Boys basketball's 2016-17 season kicks off

Regis Jesuit ThunderRidge boys basketball generic

(Jack Eberhard/

This feels a little bit like déjà vu but it seems we again have some heavy favorites in Class 5A and 4A big school boys hoops along with some hungry squads eager to prove they are worthy to raise the Gold Ball at the Coliseum this March.

Our "Fever Crew" will be out once again at all the top match ups but we truly love to dig for some of those tidbits that may be overlooked! Humble beginnings from a bunch of "hoop junkies" has become something we never imagined and our guy Ryan Casey has supported us for all eight years! Looking forward to another year of memories on the court. Let's get to it!

Season preview

Eaglecrest boys basketball team

(Matt Mathewes/

Class 5A: Leading our CHSAANow 5A top-10 is our pick to return to the title game Eaglecrest Raptors! Gatorade Player of the Year and Pepperdine commit Colbey Ross will lead the Raptors again this year but please don't make the mistake of thinking this squad is a one-man show. Names like Garnes (football stud, too) and Ozor will quickly become well known Raptor names.

If you like hard work and defense you'll love No. 2 Rock Canyon led by do it all guard Sam Masten. Our Fever "sleeper" in 5A is led by one of the top unsigned PG's in the country Jaizec Lottie. Cherokee Trail's lead man has the ability to take over games late (especially driving the paint) and can put the squad on his back come tourney play.

Class 4A: Atop our 4A poll are the two squads that faced each other in Boulder for all the marbles last March: Pueblo West and Valor Christian. They are the clear favorites to return with hungry starters David Simental and Jalen Sanders, respectively.

Other 4A squads aren't lacking for star power either with names like Sand Creek's D'Shawn Schwartz (CU commit), CJ Jennings (Sierra), and Adam Thistlewood (Golden).

Our Fever "sleeper" in 4A is led by another big name in Vista Ridge's Hunter Maldonado (Wyoming commit) who with fellow senior point guard Noah Beatty have the fire power to take down anyone!

Let's get to the Week 1 tournament and non-conference action!

Week in Review

Wednesday, Nov. 30:

  • No. 1 Eaglecrest didn't disappoint as they came out strong with a non-league win by 20 over young Chaparral. Defending Mr. Gatorade, Colbey Ross, starts with 23 points.
  • Two teams that may surprise in Lincoln and Mullen started their seasons and it came down to the final two seconds as the Mustangs Matt Bursnado scored 31 including the game-winning free throws! Senior Umar Jalloh with a 30 point, 10 rebound double-double for the Lancers in the loss.
  • There will be a lot of good times to come on Smoky Hill road and Laredo! The Buffaloes were stung by the injury bug and Coach Harden is hyped up to let his young, healthy crew loose. Kenny Foster, one of our best young athletes, put in 12 points but we also had a FRESHMAN ALERT as class of 2020 guard Quinten Rock introduced himself to the CHSAA community dropping 27 points in his first-ever game. Watch out Centennial League, the Buffs are legit!
  • A lot of early buzz regarding Rampart being one of the best teams from down south this year but they ran into a buzz saw in tournament play as Kyle Lukasiewicz poured in 36 points and the always tough Warriors out rebounded Rampart to seal the victory.
  • In that same Rock Canyon/Mountain Vista tournament the Jaguars got extremely defensive shutting down Loveland 61-19.
  • Our own Brock Laue covered the multi-talented George Washington roster last week and they came out strong 84-57 over a solid Monarch team in tourney play.
  • The Fossil Ridge tournament up north closed things out for us on opening night. The host Sabercats have an outside scoring machine in Braxton Bertolette and he didn't disappoint putting up 30-point game right out of the gate!
  • Game of the night candidate! How about three overtimes on opening night? That's exactly what Wyoming-bound Vista Ridge senior Hunter Maldonado and crew pulled off vs. Denver South in Fossil Ridge Tourney. Vista outlasted the Rebels in the third overtime session behind Maldonado's 36 points and stand out point guard Noah Beatty's 20 points, 7 rebounds.

Thursday, Dec. 1

Regis Jesuit Overland boys basketball

(Jack Eberhard/

  • Overland OBVIOUSLY lost a ton of senior talent to graduation but don't think coach Danny Fisher and staff aren't motivated to show what they can do with their new crew of talent. Our Jack Eberhard was on the scene as Daijon Smith scored 26 in the Trailblazers' huge upset of No. 5 Regis.
  • With DU-bound Elijah Blake out for the season, the Rangeview Raiders will be looking for senior leadership and it was provided immediately as 2017 point guard Matt Johnson Jr. (4.3 GPA) came out the gates with 21 points. Matt J has some young help as well with freshman C Speller's 18-point, 10-rebound double-double and sophomore Jodaun Dotson's 8 points, 3 assists, 3 steals in win over Palmer.
  • Seniors leading the way for Cherokee Trail as Ian Kelly scored 24 while Jaizec Lottie added 19 in the Cougars win over Mesa Ridge.
  • Doherty has another strong 2017 point guard running their show as well in Brevin Brimble! How about 25 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals to get the Spartans started over Bear Creek.
  • Hey Highlands Ranch and Lakewood!!! We need your stats…McKale Williams? Kolton Peterson? Two of the best our state has and we want to know how the boys are doing!
  • Arguably the best player in our state, CU commit D'Shawn Schwartz started the season with a 50-point bang as No. 3 Sand Creek ran Thornton out of the gym!
  • We'll get familiar typing that name Thistlewood as Ryan booked 29 points in 4A No. 4 Golden's tight win over Lewis Palmer.
  • DSST Stapleton got a 29 point effort from senior Blake Pullen to get an opening win over Mountain View.
  • Cheyenne Mountain got 23 points from junior Luke Martin in opening tourney win over Glenwood Springs.
  • Our 4A No. 5 had four players score in double figures led by Kyle Helbig's 12 as Holy Family took down Conifer in early tourney play.

Friday, Dec. 2

Chatfield Eaglecrest boys basketball

(Matt Mathewes/

  • The Fever crew has to let our bias show just a bit when it comes to high academic 2017 point guards Matt Johnson Jr. and McKale Williams from Rangeview and Highlands Ranch respectively. Honor society off the court and "tough as nails" on the court for their squads. Matt J got the best of this Rangeview/H-Ranch early season matchup scoring 26 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals: STAT-STUFFIN!
  • No. 5 Regis bounces back from lost to Overland and put a whoopin on private rival Mullen.
  • What a shoot out 79-76 as No. 1 Eaglecrest edged Chatfield. Amazing that the Chargers didn't crack our top-10 preseason poll. Expect that to be changing! Matt Mathewes was in the house for the action!
  • Even in a 49-40 slug fest Sam Masten manages to score 20 for No. 2 Rock Canyon as they put the clamps on Fever's beloved Arapahoe Warriors.
  • Denver South bounced back from the 3-OT loss and sharp shooters Conner Nelson and Tucker Cargile led the way both scoring in double figures in the 67-57 win over Rocky Mountain.
  • There's that man again. Jaizec Lottie with 20 points to pace Cougars past Palmer easily. Six seniors making contributions for Cherokee Trail can make a world of difference!
  • The Fever crew is pulling for Lincoln but didn't see Columbine pulling the 58-55 win.
  • Top 10 5A match as No. 6 George Washington started hot with a 21-10 first quarter and never looked back downing No. 10 Mountain Vista by 15 points despite Jake Belknapp's 18 points.
  • Aaris Bonds put up 19 points down at Fossil Ridge but Braxton Bertolette and crew held court as he scored 27 in the Sabercats tight 3 point win.
  • Goodness! Our No. 1 4A squad gave up one fourth quarter point to doubling-up Air Academy in a 72-35 rout.
  • Top point guard CJ Jennings has his Sierra squad coming in at No. 6 in our coach/media poll and scores 29 in win over Falcon. Junior Noah Martinez scores 25 in the loss.
  • 4A top 10 alert: No. 4 Golden with a 75-64 win over No. 7 Mead.
  • We have another early upset in tourney play as Lewis Palmer took down No. 5 Holy Family 45-41 in a low scoring tussle.
  • Sam Schlagel put up 18 points as Silver Creek is hot early knocking off our No. 10 4A squad Evergreen in early non-league play.
  • We talked about this tough Vista Ridge squad earlier and they gave 5A power Denver East a battle with Noah Beatty scoring 14 points but it wasn't enough as the Angels used a 16-6 third quarter advantage to spread this one out.
  • Numerous seniors on this top-10 ranked Vista Peak squad and M. Johnson led with 20 points as they beat Cheyenne Mountain by 10.

Saturday, Dec. 3

  • Heritage finished up their California road trip 1-2 with a 59-53 loss to Vacaville (Calif.).
  • Fruita Monument got 17 from junior Trey Morrill beating Gateway by 8 to finish tourney play.
  • Impressive for Denver South to bounce back again in tourney play and beat Dakota Ridge 59-41 to end the week.
  • Two new names leading the way for solid programs as Will Otten's 23 for Arapahoe wasn't enough as Connor Staib put in 24 for Mountain Vista to pull off the tight 1 point victory.
  • Serious talent on this floor in the Fossil Ridge tourney as FNE (Montbello) pulled off the 1 point overtime victory over a hot Vista Ridge squad 49-48. Two of our state's top seniors battling as Aaris Bonds scored 17 for the Warriors and Hunter Maldonado led all with 24 in the loss.
  • Youth was served in Fossil Ridge tournament final as rising sophomore Kwane Marble scored 18 leading Denver East to a 10-point victory over host Fossil Ridge. The Angels ranked No. 3 in our poll will get even stronger when GW transfer Daylen Kountz joins the party! Braxton Bartolette poured in 29 for the Sabercats in the loss.
  • Can't ask for more than when early season tourney play brings you a top-10 5A match up where No. 2 Rock Canyon was upset by No. 6 George Washington 68-65 in a tight one!
  • Lakewood finishes the week and tourney play 3-0 with a 20 point win over Palmer.
  • Cherokee Trail, No. 7 in 5A, had the experience advantage as Jaizec Lottie scored 26 in the 49-31 win over young Rangeview.
  • Tre Early led eleven Bison who scored in this game as No. 9 Vista Peak beat Fort Morgan by 50!
  • No. 1 Pueblo West more than doubled Air Academy 72-35!
  • Michael Ward had 17 pacing No. 7 Mead in a blow out of Pueblo Central.
  • For the second time this week No. 3 Sand Creek was led by D'Shawn Schwartz and put up 99 points total AGAIN! Put your track shoes on when lacin' them up vs. this crew!
  • Sophomore Trey Brushke scored 20 points but it wasn't enough for Mountain View as they fell to No. 8 D'Evelyn 67-52.

The Look Ahead:

Rock Canyon boys basketball team

(Jack Eberhard/

Monday, Dec. 5

  • This week's 5A and 4A big school hoops action starts off with Palmer taking on Denver East in tourney play.
  • Denver South vs. Sierra in another "Springs vs. the City" match.
  • Fossil Ridge vs. Golden is an excellent 5A vs. 4A match up!

Tuesday, Dec. 6

  • Holy Family vs. Niwot always a tangle.
  • Manual signed up for a real test taking on FNE (Montbello) Warriors early this season.
  • Mead and D'Evelyn in a 4A top 10 tilt.
  • Grandview and Legend face while both are 1-0!

Wednesday, Dec. 7

  • Heavy top 5 match in Eaglecrest and Rock Canyon. Point guard play at it's best!
  • Valor Christian vs. Doherty is big time.
  • Cherry Creek opens vs. Lincoln.

Thursday, Dec. 8

  • Chatfield vs. Boulder.
  • FNE (Montbello) vs. Rampart.

Friday, Dec. 9

  • Overland vs. George Washington will be rockin!
  • Lakewood vs. Cherokee Trail. Peterson and Lottie will be fun!
  • Rangeview vs. Grandview for A-Town pride.

Saturday, Dec. 10

  • Young Chaparral vs. Valor.
  • Dakota Ridge vs. Arapahoe annual tilt!
  • Longmont vs. D'Evelyn.
  • Hinkley vs. Denver East.

Get in a nice warm gym and enjoy the hoops folks! What a start.