10 PLAYERS TO KNOW
Shea Chavez, Sr., Frederick: Chavez, averaging 9.2 points and 6.4 rebounds, was instrumental in leading the Warriors back to the postseason a year ago. Encore? Who's in?
Kaitlyn Day, Jr., Dawson School: Day has scored 549 points in her first two years at Dawson — and at this rate, it looks like she'll join the prestigious 1,000-point scorers when all is said and done.
Whitney Echols, Sr., Longmont Christian: The dynamic guard did a little bit of everything for the Warriors a season ago. She averaged 17.7 points and had around four assists and rebounds per game.
Abbey Glynn, Sr., Mead: Glynn is 6-foot. Her teammate Riley Gilbert is 6-foot. Together, they're a tall order for any opposition.
Genevieve Gudino, So., Holy Family: She averaged 9.1 points and 3.3 steals in her freshman campaign for the Tigers. "G" will help lead a young and talented roster at Holy Family in search of another league title.
Frances Hilliard, So., Shining Mountain: Hilliard proved her scoring touch, averaging 13.2 points as a freshman. In her first four games of February, she scored 100 points.
Halle Mackiewicz, Jr., Legacy: She led her team with 15.1 points per game a season ago and also averaged 5.8 rebounds. The Clemson-bound soccer goaltender certainly has a lot of upside no matter the surface she's playing on.
Izzy Munson, Jr.
Kaitlyn Patterson, Sr., Erie: The senior guard is the lone returning starter for the Tigers. Look for her to make another step after averaging 10.3 points and 1.8 assists last season.
Steph Peterson, Sr., Broomfield: The senior guard averaged 16.6 points and 6.7 rebounds last season. She is one of the most dynamic scorers in the area.
The regular season for all classification ends on Feb. 16. Classes 1A-3A will complete districts by Feb. 23 and the smaller-school postseason will begin in the first days of March. Postseason in 4A and 5A will begin on Feb. 19-20. Championship weekend for all classifications will be March 7-9. In Class 1A, eight teams will advance from three regions to make up the state tournament field and will seeded by a committee. In Class 2A, eight regional winners will advance to the state tournament and will be seeded by a committee. In Class 3A, two teams from seven districts will automatically make it into the state tournament while the remaining 18 teams will be determined by RPI. In Class 4A, nine league champions will receive automatic berths and the remaining 39 teams will be added based on RPI. In Class 5A, the eight league champions earn automatic berths while the other 40 teams will be added based on RPI.
Coach: Emily Glen (first season)
Last year: 5-18, 1-11 5A Front Range League
Returning starters: Emma Bagley (Jr., F); Grace Chow (Sr., G); Abbie Gillach (So., G); Skye Reich (Sr., C).
Others to watch: Jessi Hunter (Sr., G); Mandiza Krueger (Fr., F).
Outlook: Like all the area teams in the 5A Front Range League, the Panthers are under new supervision. Glen takes over a program that hasn't finished with a winning record since the 2012-13 season. In her first year at the helm, Glen said she believes her team has a nice blend of size and speed. She's also excited about the large number of freshman coming into the program as the Panthers look to build up in the coming years.
Coach: Mike Croell (21st season, first returning)
Last year: 11-14, 6-6 5A Front Range League
Returning starters: Stephanie Peterson (Sr. G); Brooke Pennington (Jr. F); Jessica Hoffman (Jr. G); Courtney Wristen (So. F).
Others to watch: Ellie Keeler (Sr., G); Jaylene Young (So., G); Lydia Putsch (Sr. F); Annemarie Abeyta (Sr., F); Jenna Burgesser (Sr., F); Olivia Belton (Sr., F).
Outlook: The days without Croell are over for the girls' basketball program. Oh, how sweet it is. It's been three years since Croell decided to step aside, and over the last two years the Eagles are 21-29. In his return, he brings back his brand, his legacy — his six state titles in 20 years. The Eagles also return four starters from a team that went 11-14 and finished .500 in league last season.
Coach: Chris Mischke (third season)
Last year: 20-4, 13-1 4A Northern
Returning starters: None.
Others to Watch: Natalie Kramer (So., F/G); Leesha Taylor-Preston (Jr., F); Lali Martinez (Sr., G); Julia Mischke (So., G).
Outlook: Time to turn the page. The Warriors must replace all five starters from last year when they went 20-4 and won the 4A Northern League. It's been a nice run recently for Centaurus, which has two 20-win seasons and is 58-15 in its past three years. Of course, to keep that pace up this season might be a big ask. The Warriors, inexperienced on paper, should have tough competition awaiting them in an improved 4A Northern League.
DAWSON SCHOOL MUSTANGS
Coach: JR Sagner (first season)
Last year: 13-8, 6-5 2A/1A Mile High League
Returning starters: Madison Day (Jr., G); Kaitlyn Day (Jr., G); Maddy Timms (So., G); Alex Dunbar (Jr., F); Kate Gallop (Sr., F).
Others to watch: Ruby Walker (Sr., F); Emily Hicks (Sr., G); Alexis Gilio (So., G).
Outlook: The Mustangs return all five starters from last season when they finished five games above .500. Sagner believes the team will be improved on defense and on the boards. And from that, "we will look to get out and push the ball on offense," Sagner said.
Coach: Sarah Pfeifer (second season)
Last year: 6-18, 3-11 4A Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Kaitlyn Patterson (Sr., G).
Others to watch: Grace Moyers (Fr., G).
Outlook: A year after going 6-18, the Tigers are looking to build in Pfeifer's second season. A team with a large base of freshmen and sophomores should benefit on and off the court from the presence of Patterson. The senior guard — smart and athletic — is committed to play basketball at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.
Coach: Randy Earl (first season)
Last year: 19-6, 11-1 5A Front Range League
Returning starters: Izzy Munson (Jr. G); Adaya Richmond (Jr., G); Kate Lampert (Sr., F).
Others to watch: Kailey Page (Fr., F).
Outlook: Earl was the longtime coach at Berthoud, where he led the program to the postseason in 13 of his 14 seasons before stepping down in 2017. Now he's back. The Earl of Fairview said he wants the Knights to incorporate his style while bringing back a few offensive things the Knights did last year when they marched to the round of 16.
Coach: Brett Andersen (third season)
Last year: 13-12, 5-9 4A Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Adelina DeSantis (Sr., G); Shea Chavez (Sr., F); Tori Dufour (Sr., G).
Others to watch: Danielle Hemelstrand (Sr., G/F).
Outlook: The playoff drought ended, and the sun shone on Frederick. Ah, the feels. The Warriors climbed back into the state spotlight when they reached the postseason for the first time since 2010-11. Where to go from here? Frederick's program has only two winning seasons in the last 12 years, per MaxPreps — yet Andersen believes his team can build off its success from a year ago. This year, the Warriors have 10 seniors on the roster as they look for a repeat invitation to The Dance.
HOLY FAMILY TIGERS
Coach: Ron Rossi (16th season)
Last year: 21-4, 13-1 4A Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Kaitlyn McKenzie (So., G); Amanda Ward (Sr., F).
Others to watch: Genevieve Gudino (So. G); Gabby Thomas (Jr. F); Dylan Sanders (So., G) Tyler Whitlock (So., F); Alyssa Wells (So. G); Noelle Gardon (Jr., F); Cecilia Aanerud (So., F); Erin Winters (Sr., F).
Outlook: The Tigers, winners of the Tri-Valley League in each of the four years since they moved to 4A, hope to tab another this season. The outlook? Rossi believes his young but seasoned roster is his most balanced group since 2011. Holy Family returns seven varsity players from last season and Rossi will need them to gel quickly with a brutal schedule over the first month. The Tigers have top-tier 4A teams in Air Academy and Pueblo West on the docket, as well as defending 4A champ Evergreen and 5A Regis.
JEFFERSON ACADEMY JAGUARS
Coach: Crystal Deichert (fifth season)
Last year: 17-7, 6-4 3A Metro
Returning starters: Lily Thimsen (Jr.).
Others to watch: Ellie Hausmann (Sr.); Becka Ballard (Sr., G); Brianna Lewis (Sr.); Rachel Moreno (G); Laura Riley (Jr., F); Brooklynn Kirkpatrick (Jr., F).
Outlook: The Jaguars would love to get out to another fast start after jumping out to a 7-1 record last year. Deichert said her team is young this season — however, they could benefit from the potential return of Hausmann, who may return from an ACL injury.
Coach: Dommonique Campbell (first season)
Last year: 13-12, 5-7 5A Front Range League
Returning starters: Halle Mackiewicz (Jr., F); Isabela Valenzuela (Sr., SG); Ariana Ahadi (Jr., PG).
Others to watch: Katelyn Paredes (Fr., C).
Outlook: Campbell takes over a program that had consecutive winning seasons and two straight appearances into the second round of the state playoffs. Campbell comes in with the hopes of building a state contender. While that may take some time, the Lightning are optimistic as they return three starters and welcome talented freshman center Paredes.
Coach: Wade Kingsbury (first season)
Last year: 10-14, 7-7 4A Northern
Returning starters: Annika Wetterstrom (Sr., F).
Others to watch: Tanna Carson (Sr., G); Ashley Dillow (Sr., F); Shaelee Gray (Sr. G/F); Tara Hitchcock (Sr., G); Bergen Ingvaldsen (Sr., F).
Outlook: The Trojans lost seven seniors from last year and return only one starter in Wetterstrom, a three-sport star at Longmont. Still, Kingsbury believes he has a talented roster that can make a push forward. He said the goal is compete for a league title and return to the state playoffs.
LONGMONT CHRISTIAN WARRIORS
Coach: Zach Echols (third season)
Last year: 12-10, 5-6 2A/1A Mile High League
Returning starters: Whitney Echols (Sr. G); Ellie Echols (So, G); Taylor Vandenburg (So. F/G) Rachel Cahill (So., G).
Others to watch: Sammie Johnson (Jr. F/G); Savannah Vrooman (Sr. F); Jessica Schneider (Fr., F).
Outlook: Whitney Echols, a first-team all-league guard, can do a little bit of everything for the Warriors. The senior guard posted 17.7 points per game a year ago and was a stingy defender. Echols, along with two sophomore starters, are expected to return to the starting 5 this season. The other returning sophomore, Cahill, is injured and could be lost for the season, per coach Echols.
Coach: Marcus Richardson (second season)
Last year: 12-10, 7-4 2A/1A Mile High League
Returning starters: Kylee Udovich, (Sr.); Jazmyn Enny (So.).
Others to watch: Avery Joy (So.); Hannah Schweiger (So.).
Outlook: The Lions are throwing out the playbook. Time for a little shakeup. After graduating several post players, Lyons will move from an inside, half-court game to a faster look. That means more pressure defense, full-court transition — smaller but quicker. Last year, Lyons fell in the first round of the Region 7 tournament to Meeker.
Coach: Vern Rathbun (third season)
Last year: 15-8, 9-5 4A Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Abbey Glynn (Sr., F); Riley Gilbert (Sr., C/F).
Others to watch: Bailey O'Dell (Sr., C); Savanna Griebling (So., G); Mary Maher (So., F); Hailee Martinez (So., G).
Outlook: The Mavericks sport three six-footers in Glynn, Gilbert and Maddie Muntz — a tough matchup for any team around the state. With them headlining a talented roster, Mead is hoping to be in the conversation for a league title once again this season. Last year, it finished third in Tri-Valley League play behind Holy Family and now-5A Windsor.
Coach: Gail Hook (first season)
Last year: 4-20, 3-9 5A Front Range League
Returning starters: Emerson Herrmann (Sr., F); Nicole Reading (Sr., G).
Others to watch: Chelin Isaacson (So., G).
Outlook: Hook returns to the program she built. The longtime Monarch coach is back after she stepped away following the 2014-15 season. She inherits a team that struggled last season and won only four games. Emerson, who averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds a season ago, won't be pressured to score at the ridiculous clip she did a year ago. Instead, Hook said she'll be asked to make the teammates around her better.
Coach: Stephanie McCollum (first season)
Last year: 4-16, 1-10 2A/1A Mile High
Returning starters: Avy Henrikson (Sr., F); Breegan McClish (Sr., F); Alex Sorokach (Jr., G).
Outlook: The Panthers started the season with fewer players than they had hoped. First-year coach McCollum said she is hoping to get more but is excited with the group she already has in place. Nederland returns three starters from a team that played better down the stretch in 2017-18. The Panthers started 1-13 before finishing 3-3.
Coach: Terri Ward (sixth season)
Last year: 9-14, 5-9 4A Northern League
Returning starters: Marlow Baines (Jr., C); Nikki Sims (Jr., G).
Others to watch: Lily Sieben (Jr., G); Elise Crall (Sr., G); Brynn Beaton (Sr., F/C).
Outlook: After graduating seven seniors from last year, Ward said she hopes her team will grow into a defensive-oriented group in 2018-19. Last year, the Cougars lost five of their first six games before finishing the year 8-8.
PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS
Coach: Joe Howard (first season)
Last year: 5-15, 1-10 3A Metro League
Returning starters: Aiyana Rockwell (Jr., G); Rachel Willette (Sr, G).
Others to watch: Jordyn Hall (Sr., C).
Outlook: The Pumas will look to develop a young core while sending their two seniors — Willette and Hall — off on a high note. Howard said he hopes to build a culture of success in the program, but he knows that will take more than one season.
PROSPECT RIDGE MINERS
Coach: Sara O'Flannigan (fourth season)
Last year: 7-13, 2-8 3A Metro League
Returning starters: Tatum Abram (Sr., G); Brittany Gioso (Sr., F/G); Jocelyn Korbe (Jr., F); Sierra Leopold (So., F).
Others to watch: Alex Weber (Sr., G).
Outlook: The Miners were stricken by injuries last season and won only seven games. This year, they return six seniors and four starters to a team with "a lot of game action under their belt", O'Flannigan said. If Prospect Ridge can stay healthy, the coach said she believes her team can have a turnaround year.
SHINING MOUNTAIN LIONS
Coach: Mike Hawkes (eighth season)
Last year: 9-12, 2-4 1A 5280 League
Returning starters: Frances Hilliard (So. G); Olivia Jabari (So., G); Lola Conaway (Jr., F); Amrita Shore (Sr., G).
Others to watch: Kalea Zeender (Fr. G); Sophia Matarrese (Fr. F); Fiona Lovejoy (So. F).
Outlook: The Lions return four starters including Hilliard, who averaged 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 steals as a freshman. Hawkes said the team spent the offseason working in the gym and should be improved this year. The Lions fell in the District 8 semifinals to Cornerstone Christian Academy last season.
SILVER CREEK RAPTORS
Coach: Ashlee Viveros (first season)
Last year: 4-19, 3-11 4A Northern
Returning starters: Colleen Tyrrell (Sr.).
Others to watch: Emily Canvasser (Sr.); Mackenzie Larson (Fr.); Erin Jensen (Sr.).
Outlook: Viveros takes over a team that dropped from 15 wins in 2016-17 to just four a season ago. The coach said she wants her team to be energized and motivated every time it steps on the court. The Raptors look a little small this year, so Viveros said her team will need to be able to run the floor and apply pressure on both ends.
Coach: Kirk Blackard (first season)
Last year: 9-15, 4-10 4A Tri-Valley
Returning starters: Lindrey Schendel (Jr., F); Alyssa McKrola (Jr., F); Ashayla Powers (Jr., C/F); Maddie Pitts (So., G).
Others to Watch: Molly Hennessy (Jr., G); Charlee Neb (Fr., G).
Outlook: The Falcons return four starters from last season's team, which won three of four to end the regular season and then put up a nice fight against Lewis-Palmer in the first round of the state playoffs. McKrola and Schendel headline the returnees, each averaging around eight points per game a season ago. First-year coach Blackard said he is excited for the strides his team has made both individually and as a team heading into the year.
TWIN PEAKS CHARTER TIMBERWOLVES
Coach: Mark Nuti (second season)
Last year: 5-14, 2-9 2A/1A Mile High League
Returning starters: Natalie Schauer (Jr., F)
Others to watch: Sydney Stevenson (Jr., G); Erika Haan (So., G); Breanna Van Dorn (Fr., SG); Natalie Rodriguez (Sr., G); Rosalie Hues (Jr., F); Ehreem Barila (So., G)
Outlook: The Timberwolves graduated seven seniors and are missing four starters from a season ago. Nuti said his young team has put the time in over the offseason to try to fill the void. Schauer is the lone returning starter after scoring 8.4 points per game a season ago.
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