There is finishing strong, and then there is what the Skyline boys basketball team did at the end of the 2017-18 regular season.
As rapidly as the Falcons crossed the finish line, though, even their three-game win streak wasn't without its odd ups and downs, much like the Skyline boys' season. After opening the campaign with a 3-1 record, the Falcons hit an injury-plagued rough patch that included two losing streaks of four or more games and entered Friday night's game 53rd in the Class 4A RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) rankings.
Their reward for a one-point overtime win over one-win Frederick was a two-spot drop in the RPI standings, which are the primary criteria for qualifying and seeding the 48-team state tournament. On Saturday afternoon, however, the Falcons (10-13) pulled off a road upset over No. 3-ranked Longmont (21-2) in their season finale that propelled them up to 45th in the RPI and into the postseason.
Architects of possibly the biggest and most critical upset of the season, the Falcons will be one of the hottest teams in Colorado to go dancing when the 5A and 4A boys basketball postseasons begins on Wednesday.
"We're confident," Falcons head coach Tyler Cerveny said. "We feel like we're at full strength, we're going in on a three-game winning streak and we just beat the number three team in the state. So yeah, we feel really confident. To be honest, where we're sitting is a little bit deceiving. Now that we have Austin (Robison) back, we're looking good. It's not a coincidence that we're doing a lot better with him back on the floor."
Sophomore forward Austin Robison missed 10 games due to injury this season and the Falcons are a different team with him in the rotation. With their 6-foot-6 big man back in the mix, the 44th-seeded Falcons will hit the road to face No. 21 Steamboat Springs on Wednesday night.
After Skyline dealt them just their second loss of the season in Saturday's finale, the Longmont boys will enter the postseason as the No. 5 overall seed in 4A and will have a first-round bye. At No. 7 in 4A, Silver Creek will also have a first-round bye. Holy Family claimed the 18th seed, Mead is 20th, Erie will be 39th and Centaurus will enter as the 48th seed.
In Class 5A, five BoCoPreps.com area teams qualified for the state tournament out of the Front Range League. The Broomfield Eagles claimed the 15th overall seed and a first-round bye. Fairview earned the 20th seed and Boulder enters the state tournament as the No. 38 seed. Legacy enters the bracket at 43rd and Monarch will be 44th.
Before any of those teams play, the 5A and 4A girls basketball tournaments will begin on Tuesday.
When the 4A girls state tournament kicks off, the Holy Family Tigers will be in sitting back watching as the No. 2 overall seed and the owners of a first-round bye. Also in the Tigers' quadrant of the bracket, the Longmont girls enter the state tournament as the No. 47 seed.
At No. 13, the Mead girls earned a first-round bye, as did the No. 11 Centaurus girls.
The Frederick girls won three of their last four regular-season games to claim the No. 24 seed in 4A. Area rival Erie enters the state tournament as the No. 39 seed and Skyline comes into the state tournament as the No. 43 seed.
In Class 5A, the Fairview girls earned the No. 12 overall seed and a first-round bye. In that same quadrant of the bracket, the Legacy girls are seeded 28th. The Broomfield girls will enter the 5A state tournament as the No. 27 seed and the Monarch girls will be the 47th seed.