Not that the Broomfield girls basketball team isn't still on the short list of state title favorites in the Class 4A field, but the Eagles nonetheless will enter the 2013 fray in unfamiliar territory.
For half a decade, Broomfield was the dominant force in 4A girls hoops, collecting five consecutive state championships. While that run ended in last year's quarterfinals, the Eagles are aiming to reclaim their throne.
As expected, Broomfield received one of the four No. 1 seeds for the 4A girls field when the state tournament brackets were released on Sunday. The Eagles (22-1) will host either Evergreen or Discovery Canyon on Friday.
The Broomfield girls squad was just one of a number of local squads to land state berths. Also earning first round byes in the 4A girls tournament was Centaurus (No. 2 seed) and Silver Creek (No. 4). Highlighting the local contingent in the 5A boys field are Fairview and Monarch, each of which received first-round byes, as did Broomfield in the 4A boys tournament.
"We haven't really talked at all about getting back to the state championship," Broomfield girls coach Mike Croell said. "There's just an expectation at the beginning of every season, and it has been for a lot of years."
Broomfield ran the table in the demanding 4A Northern League, giving this year's edition of the Eagles a leg up on the squad that fell a few games short of title No. 6 last year.
"When we start out the season, the first goal we set is winning the Fairview Fest, because that's a tournament," Croell said. "Then we focus on the conference. Last year, we lost two league games to Centaurus, and I think that kind of jacked us up when the tournament seeds came around. We figured if we can run the table in our league, the rest will take care of itself.
"That more than anything was our goal. You can't jump to winning the state championship when you didn't even win your league a year ago. First things first."
The Centaurus girls team, which finished second to Broomfield in the Northern League, will begin tournament play on Friday against the winner between Mead and Weld Central.
The girls squads from Fairview, Monarch, and Boulder all received bids to the 5A tournament field. Fairview, a No. 6 seed, will host Littleton on Tuesday. Monarch, also a No. 6 seed, will host Pomona Tuesday while seventh-seeded Boulder hosts Bear Creek.
Legacy, the defending 5A girls state champ, returns to the tournament field as the No. 7 seed and will host Dakota Ridge on Tuesday.
Fairview, Monarch, and Boulder also will compete in the 5A boys field. Fairview, champions of the Front Range League, earned the No. 2 seed in the Ray Ball region and will host the winner between Liberty and Thornton on Saturday. Monarch also received a No. 4 seed and a first-round bye and will host either Ralston Valley or Smoky Hill on Saturday. Eighth-seeded Boulder will host George Washington in a first-round game on Wednesday.
Broomfield received a bye in the 4A boys tournament as a No. 2 seed and will play Friday against the winner between Rifle and Montrose.
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