Another fun and exciting season is in the books, hoops fans. Our final two weeks were full of overtime excitement, individual "monsta" performances, and leagues that came down to the wire, final games.
Let's hope its a sign of what's to come over the next few weeks!
As usual there was a little controversy we watched on social media regarding our final 5A and 4A RPI standings but thankfully our awesome athletes don't play this "mile high madness" out on the internet ... it will be settled on the hardwood!
Those who follow Ball Fever also know we don't think this is a rare time for Colorado hoops, but a result of numerous factors leading to good basketball being played on our high school courts.
The buzz about Colorado hoops is legit and we can thank a growing basketball community for that from our peewee rec leagues to competitive club ball, increasing individual personal training opportunities, and truly dedicated high school staffs.
The basketball product hitting the Colorado hardwood is improving and colleges of all levels are taking notice!
Great time to be a part of Colorado hoops ... let's get to the madness!
Class 5A preview
Chauncey Billups Region
Even after a late season stumble vs. Legend, No. 1 Chaparral comes in as the top overall seed. The Wolverines are joined by Fairview and Columbine as the other high seeds who have earned a bye and will get to scout their opponents in Round 1.
Chaparral has veteran leaders who remember the pain of losing earlier than expected one year ago to the eventual state champ and lefty point guard Kobe Sanders is undoubtedly one of the top floor leaders in the state as a junior.
Favorites: Chap is the clear favorite in this region but must be careful as they'll play the winner of Fossil Ridge and Pine Creek, which are two teams coming in with lower seeds then they've had in the past but solid programs you can't look past. Keep an eye out for an excellent Sweet 16 possibility of Mullen vs. Chaparral in this region.
Watch out for: We mentioned Mullen and though they're coming in with a 14-9 overall record they have steadily improved over the season and have a sharp shooting senior in Christian Davis along with a 6-foot-8 power house in junior Isaac Ondekane who is averaging a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double for the season.
The Fever Crew loves postseason guard play, so in the bottom half of the bracket keep an eye on Cherry Creek, whose young studs at the guard position could give Columbine and star Luke O'Brien fits if they can get by Doherty.
Chuck Williams Region
Mountain Vista, who comes in as the No. 2 seed overall, Smoky Hill and Regis are the notable seeds who have byes Round 1 in the Williams Region. Regis upset Mountain Vista at their place not long ago and are one of the hottest teams in the state.
The Buffaloes believe #KennyThingsPossible and the Smoky has proven they can play with anyone in the state if they're hitting perimeter shots.
Favorites: Mountain Vista is highest seed and The Fever Crew has seen a lot of them, Smoky, and Regis in person. Regis has won 11 of their last 12 games and after witnessing them beat the Golden Eagles head-to-head with their inside and perimeter weapons of Carr, Wheelock, and Safieddeine, they are our Ball Fever Favorite in this region.
Watch out for: Look no further than Smoky Hill who has Foster's leadership, Quentin Rock at the point, and a trio of "super sophs" on the wing who can heat up at any time. Also, Greeley West needs to "watch out" for Cherokee Trail, who is battle tested from the Centennial League and are better than that 47 seed makes them look!
Larry Farmer Region
Rangeview pulled the top seed of this region at No. 3 and has an impressive 21-2 record with losses to Overland (in Las Vegas) and Grandview.
Speaking of Grandview, the RPI had them come in at No. 6 but believe when we tell you that they are far from the sixth best team on this bracket. The defending champs will be a tough out!
Favorites: Rock Canyon and Arvada West pulled first-round "byes" here as well but it will be tough for either to slow Rangeview or Grandview. However, one of Grandview's in-state losses did come from the Jags early in the season.
That still doesn't stop the Grandview Wolves from being our Ball Fever Favorite to emerge from the Billups bracket. Watched the defending champs in person at Eaglecrest last week and they have an extreme focus right now.
Watch out for: Rangeview hears it all the time that their league foes/competition may hurt them come tournament time but this squad is built a little different and will have a chip on their shoulder. Their non-league schedule was as tough as anyone's and Coach Palmer will have them locked in for post season play.
Should it play out a Sweet 16 game vs. Arvada West could be a rematch. Raiders on a 14-game win streak!
Kent Smith Region
Speaking of squads "on a mission" maybe no one gets more out of his roster than Coach Danny Fisher, whose Overland Trailblazers come in as the No. 4 and highest seed in the Smith region.
ThunderRidge, Ralston Valley, and Eaglecrest are the other squads with Round 1 byes in this stacked region.
Favorites: Overland is 17-6 overall and on a seven-game win streak. The inside/out tandem of Hezekiah Swanson and big man Graham Ike cements them as our Ball Fever Favorite in this region. The Blazers play extremely hard and the #CentennialTough home and away league has prepped them to make a run and keep their streak alive.
If there's such a thing as a Favorite "sleeper" it would be ThunderRidge, whose overall team length can give teams fits who haven't faced that type of size and athleticism.
Watch out for: Eaglecrest is limping into the postseason just a bit but senior guard Aaron Bokol and "super soph" Ty Robinson have what it takes to help a squad in elimination style play. Unfortunately, the Raptors could be in for another match with Overland if they both advance and that doesn't bode well if it happens.
The Blazers' size with Graham and Pena-Avilla is hard for anyone to deal with! And "DON"T LOOK NOW" but Coach Carey and Denver East are on a torrid scoring pace, have won seven games in a row, another DPL title and it wouldn't surprise us at all to see the Angels in the Sweet 16 with a possible Coach Ortiz/Coach Carey showdown!
Class 4A preview
Ron Vlasin Region
Lewis-Palmer's season can only be called "HISTORIC" at 23-0! They have college bound seniors Player of the Year candidate Joel Scott, Matthew Ragsdale, and Tre McCullough.
They MUST have a fire in their belly for this years bracket after being so close last year only to come up short to defending champ and No. 2 seed Longmont, who is also 23-0 and on their own historic run hoping for back-to-back titles!
Favorites: Can't lie, folks. If we made up a bunch of fluff here we'd hope someone would call us out on it! If a team upsets Lewis-Palmer from coming out clean from this region it would be an EPIC upset!
Watch out for: Denver Prep League will be following Thomas Jefferson and they could be the surprise here, folks. Wheat Ridge is another squad with a historic season that we have documented previously but the Spartans can cause some trouble in this region.
Larry Brunson Region
Defending champ Longmont jumps "right out at ya!" in the Brunson region. They had a late-season overtime game and that may just make them even more dangerous and hungry for the repeat, folks!
Favorites: The Trojans are expected to advance here. Calvin Seamons 13 points, 5 rebounds a game leads them and baseball stud Brady Renck is at a CRAZY 11 point, 7 assist pace per match!
Watch out for: Hoping we get the chance to see Harrison, who is 19-4 and under-the-radar in 4A and on a five-game win streak. Led by "super soph" Donta Dawson's 16 points, 6 rebounds per game can be HUGE trouble as a 10 seed.
Guy Gibbs Region
This is the region with the most unanswered question of 5A and 4A! The top-3 seed Steamboat Springs is an unknown to may of us as they play out west and their our some "southern squads" in Pueblo West/East and Cheyenne Mountain from the spring who can mix things up here.
Favorites: Pueblo West and Cheyenne Mountain are our choices here as they have been through the tough schedules that will set them up for postseason success.
Watch out for: Javonte Johnson is a player worth checking out and has the potential to carry Cheyenne Mountain to a run with his 23-point, 9-rebound average per game!
Richard Tate Region
Holy Family's defense with the football man Kyle Helbig and "Mr. Mid-range" Tanner Baird are 19-4 and the top seed in Tate region. This region is almost too loaded with Mead and Lincoln in as well...
Favorites: The Ball Fever Favorite is not easy in this region but we're going to go out on a limb and say since Holy Family and Lincoln may be on a collision course, Mead is our surprise favorite to come out on top of this region.
Watch out for: Yes, Mead it is! Four players scoring in double figure scoring and they love to get up and down in a fast pace! Lincoln has some absolute "dawgs" that can play on any 5A or 4A court but do they have the depth to bring the city memories of the Lancers strong past?!!
Ok, hoop fans! Wednesday it all starts.
The RPI/Human Element/Better System debate is always interesting and no system will be perfect. The Fever Crew is just happy that our young basketball stars now have the chance to quiet the rhetoric and settle things on the court ... the way it should be.
The Cream Will Rise! Enjoy...