ALAMOSA — Based on votes by coaches and select media members CHSAA ranks the top ten teams for each classification.
The Girls’ Basketball Rankings have been released and it’s a packed house. The polls have Centauri, Del Norte and Sangre de Cristo in the top 10 of their respective classes.
7. Centauri- 31
The Falcons looked impressive in the 17-18 season. Their lone regular season loss came at the hands of league rival Pagosa Springs just five games before the end of their regulation season. At the district tournament, again Centauri was plagued by the Pirates deferring the district title to Pagosa Springs.
The Falcons picked up two wins at home in the state tournament to advance to the great eight at Denver University. There they were eliminated by Colorado Springs Christian.
This season the Falcons will miss the services of leading scorer Caroline Van Berkum and leading rebounder Ember Canty. However the team has contributors that they can lean on from last year. Senior Melissa Wilson was productive on offense placing second on the team in scoring with 226 points. Wilson found her niche as a perimeter shooter collecting almost half of her points from beyond the arc.
Wilson can likely find inside support from junior Mia Garcia. Garcia was an efficient two-point shooter last year hitting on 48 percent of her 69 attempts. After graduates Van Berkum and Canty Garcia was third on the team in rebounds with 77.
The Falcons will start their season with the home Mountain Top Tournament. In Centauri gym the Falcons will face Sargent at 7 p.m. on Nov. 29.
The Mean Moose closed last year’s regular season with a 12-7 record. At the district tournament the Mean Moose knocked off Bayfield to place third behind Pagosa Springs and Centauri. However they would be eliminated by Lamar in the first round of the State Tournament.
Alamosa was unable to enter the top ten rankings according to the polls collecting 3 points. This year Alamosa’s basketball team will likely be able to lean on seniors as the volleyball team did.
Leading scorer Sylvie Caton will look to take the scoring title once again for the Moose in her senior year. Last year Caton led the team with 231 points. Caton held the distinction of being Alamosa’s most accurate distance shooter with a 29 percent average from three-point range.
Also likely to return for Alamosa is junior Lilly Lavier who was number two on the team in scoring with 200 points. Lavier was Alamosa’s most accurate shooter hitting on 42 percent of her shots from the field. Lavier also led the team in rebounds with 109.
The Mean Moose will get things rolling in 2018 with a road meeting with Sanford Friday Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m.
4. Del Norte – 52
Del Norte closed the 17-18 season on something of a sour note. Del Norte went 15-3 through the regular season, and two of those three losses occurred at the hands of Centauri, a then undefeated 3A opponent.
At Districts the Tigers breezed through their first two opponents with double-digit victories en route to defeating Sanford for the district title. But at their home regional tournament Del Norte couldn’t claim a spot in the state tournament falling to Holyoke 54-43.
They open the season ranked in the number four spot collecting 52 points in the polls. The Del Norte Tigers graduated one senior from their district champion campaign last year. The whole squad will get a chance to fix what went wrong at last year’s regional tournament.
The Tigers will likely look to junior Kendra Parra to lead in scoring again after her 472 points last season. Parra will find assistance from last year’s rebound leader senior Lacie Jones. Jones pulled down 216 rebounds last year and placed second on the team in scoring with 249 points. Jones’ multifaceted game resulted in her leading the Tigers in double-doubles with five. Del Norte will start their season on the road against Monte Vista Thursday Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.
3. Sangre de Cristo
According to the polls Mosca will be a popular hub for high quality basketball this coming season. Like the Thunderbird boys the girls have also been voted to the top ten of their class.
Things didn’t unfold quite in the Thunderbird’s favor last season as the ride ended at the regional level. However that does little to diminish the talent on the roster. Sangre de Cristo started their season with nine players on the roster. Those numbers diminished as the season went along for one reason or another until for some games the T-Birds played games with one or no subs. Maintaining their push to the post-season with the roster issues is a testament to the willpower of Sangre de Cristo.
Like the boys the team graduated no seniors. And the team will continue to perform beyond this year’s conclusion as Jessica Slane is the lone senior returning from last year’s roster.
Slane will look to re-up the stat explosion she produced last season. As the Thunderbird’s leading scorer and rebounder, Slane claimed an amazing 17 double-doubles and a triple-double to boot. Slane’s 258 rebounds were ranked in the state and her 410 points led the team.
Behind Slane scoring is sophomore Kylee Christensen who collected 329 points, 114 of which came from behind the three-point line. Behind Slane in rebounds was sophomore Avery Palmgren who snagged 173 rebounds in her second year.
The Thunderbirds will host their namesake tournament starting the season against Dove Creek Nov. 29 6 p.m. in the first round of the Thunderbird Shootout.
Antonito lost some traction in the polls falling out of the top ten. Last year’s team that made it to the regional round is no longer intact. Perimeter ace Joslyn Garcia and post Erykah Tallman who combined for ‘Thunder and Lightening’ took their services to Northern New Mexico University.
Without them Antonito will need to find a new identity. That can start with last year’s third leading rebounder junior Shandiin Tallman locking down the paint.Antonito will also benefit from lone senior Brianna Martinez finding real estate on the fringes to pick up where she left off last year. Martinez placed fourth on the team with 7.9 points per game. Martinez was primarily an outside shooter as her shooting percentage actually went up as she entered three-point land.
The Trojans will get their season started at the Thunderbird Shootout with a game against Cheraw Nov. 29 at 2:40 p.m.
Sierra Grande -1
The Panthers collected one point in the preseason polls. The Panthers placed third at the District tournament at Adams State. At the Regional level Sierra Grande fell to Holly.
Looking forward, the Panthers have kept some key elements from last year’s team. Leading scorer Abby Corona will be one of five possible returning seniors. Her junior year Corona posted 304 points and tied for first on the team in accuracy hitting 42 percent of attempts (min. 50 att.). The void in the paint will likely also be filled by Corona who placed second on the team in rebounds with 97 last year, meaning Corona’s double-double from last season will likely be multiplied this season.
Sierra Grande will be in Springfield for the R.L. Ballard tournament Nov. 29 with a game against South Baca at 3 p.m.