PLAYERS TO KNOW

Ben Beauchamp, Sr., Monarch — Already signed with Black Hills State, senior should be free and clear to lead the Coyotes.

Dylan Brink, Sr., Erie — Senior Tiger doubled his scoring as a junior with more playing time and will be a fixture on the perimeter.

Aaron Cheung, Sr., Mead — A solid free-throw and perimeter shooter, the senior is quick with his hands on defense, too.

Justinian Jessup, So., Longmont — Clearly built confidence the second half of freshman season and should complement Austin Kemp nicely.

Austin Kemp, Sr., Longmont — Senior will continue to be a scoring machine as Longmont eyes Northern League crown.

Kyle Leahy, Jr., Erie — Athletic player can contribute equally on offense and defense.

Jay MacIntyre, Sr., Monarch — A pure athlete, MacIntyre has the speed to penetrate around bigger players and can pull up anytime, too.

Alec McLain, Sr., Broomfield — Nearly a 60 percent inside shooter, McLain hit 25 3-pointers last year, too.

David Sommers, Sr., Holy Family — Tigers quarterback in football has a keen presence on court, and this year will lead an experienced team.

Garrett Turner, Jr., Boulder — Undersized guard can take over games, as he did more than once as a sophomore.

 


POSTSEASON INFORMATION

Regular season play ends February 22. From there, seeded playoffs for all classifications will be played at host sites throughout the brackets until the state tournaments the weekend of March 13-15, 2014. The state tournaments will be played at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland (Class 1A), Massari Arena in Pueblo (2A), U.S. Air Force Academy (3A) and the Coors Events Center (4A and 5A).

 

TEAM-BY-TEAM CAPSULES

BOULDER PANTHERS

Coach: Eric Eisenhard (3rd year).

Last year: 15-10 overall; 8-8 Front Range League.

Returning starters: Cooper Bohm (Sr., 5-9, guard); Garrett Turner (Jr., 5-10, guard).

Others to watch: Tommy Baumgartner (Jr., 5-10, guard); Leif Blessing (Jr., 6-3, forward); Bill DiScipio (So., 6-0, guard); Collin Heimbach (Jr., 6-0, guard), Nate Mitchell (Sr., 5-10, guard); Sterling Williams (Sr., 6-1, forward).

Outlook: The Panthers lost some tight ballgames last season, including a heartbreaker to Regis Jesuit in the second round of the playoffs. This year, the Panthers look to be more up-tempo to make up for a lack of size, while rebounding is another area they hope to improve on. The Panthers appear to be deep in the guard position.

 

BROOMFIELD EAGLES

Coach: Terrence Dunn (6th year).

Last year: 22-5 overall; 13-1 Northern League.

Returning starters: Alec McLain (Sr., 6-4, guard).

Others to watch: Jake Morris (Sr., 6-2, forward); Michael Wristen (Sr., 6-5, forward).

Outlook: Despite just having one returning starter in McLain (11.3 ppg), the Eagles are sure to compete for a Northern League title with a high-scoring offense. Still, coach Dunn said they’ll rely on a sizeable defense first and foremost and may vary some looks based on their personnel.

 

CENTAURUS WARRIORS

Coach: Brandon Gullicksrud (2nd year).

Last year: 3-20 overall; 0-14 Northern League.

Returning starters: Mike DeVries (Jr., 6-2, forward); Trey Puckett (Sr., 6-0, guard); Kyle Taudien (Sr., 6-0, guard).

Others to watch: Jose Aguirre (Sr., 6-2, forward); Derek French (Sr., 6-1, guard/forward); Omar Fuentes (Sr., 6-0, guard/forward); Trent Koch (Sr., 6-3, forward); Mike Loftus (Jr., 6-2, forward); Steven Lopez (Jr., 5-10, guard); Logan Platt (So., 5-11, guard).

Outlook: The Warriors could be much improved after averaging just 45.6 points per game last year. Puckett and Taudien are a good tandem on the outside, and Fuentes is returning from a torn ACL. The schedule is demanding, but the Warriors will focus on defense and rebounding to try and gain more possessions.

 

DAWSON SCHOOL MUSTANGS

Coach: Jeff Youngstrom (3rd year).

Last year: 13-9 overall; 6-4 Mile High League.

Returning starters: Cam Connor (Sr., 5-10, guard); Tyler Morley (Sr., 6-2, forward).

Others to watch: Jordan Bacher (Jr., 6-4, forward); Jesse Lambert (Jr., 6-1, guard); Noah Lorentzen (Sr., 6-0, center).

Outlook: The Mustangs averaged 55.6 points per game last year but will have to replace their top three scorers. Lorentzen is the top returning point producer (6.3 ppg) having come off the bench a season ago, and the challenge will be building chemistry early.

 

ERIE TIGERS

Coach: Tim Leahy (5th year).

Last year: 10-14 overall; 7-7 Tri-Valley League.

Returning starters: Coltin Brink (Sr., 5-7, guard); Dylan Brink (Sr., 6-1, guard); Kyle Leahy (Jr., 6-4, guard); Reece Melton (Sr., 6-5, post); Jesse Tallman (Sr., 6-3, forward).

Others to watch: Triston Berringer (Jr., 5-10, guard); Andrew Campbell (Jr., 6-5, guard); Brett Egan (Sr., 6-2, forward); Joel Smith (Sr., 5-10, guard).

Outlook: Erie is looking to build on its first 4A state playoff appearance, and with all five starters returning the Tigers could be a dark horse in the Tri-Valley. They are seasoned to the type of competition they are facing, and there seems to be a lot of chemistry already in place. Kyle Leahy is one of the best guards in the area.

 

FAIRVIEW KNIGHTS

Coach: Frank Lee (18th year).

Last year: 22-4 overall; 15-1 Front Range League.

Returning starters: Miles MacKenzie (Sr., 6-3, forward); Sam Martin (Sr., 6-3, forward); Gabe Tierney (Sr., 6-3, guard).

Others to watch: Chris Arehart (Jr., 5-11, guard); Daniel Hoskins (Sr., 5-11, forward); Jack McLellan (Sr., 6-3, guard); Erik Pronk (Sr., 6-3, forward); Zach Swenson (Sr., 6-0, guard); Matt Twist (Sr., 5-9, guard).

Outlook: Always one of the frontrunners in the FRL, Fairview’s consistency and clutch play will matter this season after all four of last year’s losses came by one or two points. Twist and Tierney are the big perimeter threats, while Martin was a 55 percent shooter last year and is coming off a record-setting football season. They’ll need to find some rebounding, as MacKenzie’s 3.3 average leads the returning group.

 

FAITH BAPTIST PIONEERS

Coach: Jared Gunderson (8th year).

Last year: 5-14.

Returning starters: Branden Smith (So., 5-2, guard).

Others to watch: Clayton Eldred (Fr., 5-5, guard); Ivan Hoogland (Fr., 6-1, forward); Brandon Langridge (Fr., 6-2, forward); Jared Lotz (So., 5-11, wing); Caleb Pene (So., 6-1, forward); John Wilhelm (So., 6-0, forward); Nicholas Wyrwas (Fr., 5-7, wing).

Outlook: Gunderson is excited for the potential of this young group as they compete in the Front Range Christian Athletic Association. The Pioneers have a bit of size despite being all underclassmen, but the offense will still likely run through Smith.

 

FREDERICK WARRIORS

Coach: Larry Frank (6th year).

Last year: 17-7 overall; 11-3 Tri-Valley League.

Returning starters: Jayden McGraw (Sr., 6-5, wing); Austin Rivera (Sr., 6-2, wing); Alex Therrien (Sr., 6-4, wing).

Others to watch: Michael Broz (Sr., 6-2, guard), Dylan Dufour (Jr., 6-3, post); Kyle Kolanowski (Jr., 6-3, post); Chelton Lebon (So., 5-11, guard); Mikail Lowney (Jr., 6-2, guard); Ryan Yancey (Jr., 6-3, guard).

Outlook: Frederick is coming off a school record-setting season for wins, and they have some nice pieces in place with McGraw, Rivera and Therrien all pitching in 6-8 points per game last year. Broz was also a big part of the rotation and Frank said the start of practice has been pretty intense. Height and athleticism will be utilized on offense and defense.

 

HOLY FAMILY TIGERS

Coach: Pete Villecco (4th year).

Last year: 20-6 overall; 7-1 Metro League.

Returning starters: Austin Brown (Jr., 6-4, forward); Devlin Granberg (Jr., 6-2, forward); David Sommers (Sr., 6-2, guard); Ryan Willis (Sr., 6-2, guard).

Others to watch: Alex Comeaux (Jr., 5-11, guard); Luke Golter (Jr., 6-2, guard); Chris Helbig (So., 6-2, guard); Nick Kreutzer (Jr., 6-4, forward).

Outlook: All of the above-mentioned players are returning varsity guys, and with the deep rotation Villecco was able to use last year all of them have solid game experience. Willis was the team’s second leading scorer until an ACL tear derailed his season, but Villecco said he’s eager to get back on the court with full strength. Holy Family will also look to continue in its discipline, averaging just about 10 turnovers a game in 2012-13.

 

LEGACY LIGHTNING

Coach: Gunnar Johnson (4th year).

Last year: 6-17 overall; 2-14 Front Range League.

Returning starters: Nico Ball (Sr., 5-7, guard); Andrew Hebel (Sr., 5-10, wing); Jacob Royer (Sr., 6-2, post).

Others to watch: Alec Jensen (Jr., 6-1, wing/post); Dalton Royer (So., 6-4, post).

Outlook: Team ball is the mantra for the Lightning as it tries to get a competitive edge in the FRL. Johnson experimented with a dribble-drive offense last year, and he’ll be looking at more of a motion set this season. Dalton Royer could be an impact player after seeing varsity time as a freshman.

 

LONGMONT TROJANS

Coach: Jeff Kloster (20th year).

Last year: 19-6 overall; 10-4 Northern Conference.

Returning starters: Justinian Jessup (So., 6-2, guard); Austin Kemp (Sr., 6-3, guard); Kevin Mitchell (So., 6-3, post); Eli Sullivan (So., 6-1, wing).

Others to watch: Blake O’Grady (Jr., 6-4); Clint Sigg (Jr., 6-4); David Speidel (So., 6-2); Brett Sterkel (Sr., 6-0, guard).

Outlook: There is no reason to think the offense won’t center around Austin Kemp (15.8 ppg), but Kloster expects his team to be unselfish on that side of the court. The development of Jessup, Mitchell and Sullivan last year should pay big dividends this year, and the overall athleticism of the team should again make the Trojans one of the Northern League’s best.

 

LONGMONT CHRISTIAN WARRIORS

Coach: Jerry Martin (14th year).

Last year: 10-11 overall; 4-6 Mile High League.

Returning starters: Josiah Bolyard (Sr., 5-9, guard); Cade Martin (So., 5-5, guard); Dylan Wehrli (Sr., 6-0, guard/forward).

Others to watch: John Cocannouer (Sr., 6-2, forward); Lonnie Kee (Sr., 6-0, forward); Anthony Puchino (Jr., 6-0, forward).

Outlook: Martin is expecting a lot of a group of experienced guards while hoping the forwards in the rotation get more involved in the offense this year. The Warriors were relying on guards for most of their points last year, and Martin said he believes Kee and Cocannouer — the latter a transfer from Missouri — can fill that void.

 

LYONS LIONS

Coach: Andrew Smith (1st year).

Last year: 7-16 overall; 2-8 Patriot League.

Returning starters: Zach Christiansen (Jr., 6-2, forward); Heath Fessenmeyer (Sr., 6-0, guard); Trent Poulsen (Sr., 5-8, guard).

Others two watch: Shea Gilman (Jr., 5-10, forward); Justin Gorman (Jr., 5-6, guard); Chris Lennard (Sr., 6-4, forward); Logan Watson (Sr., 6-2, forward).

Outlook: Smith is no stranger to the program having been there for five seasons, and he is hoping that the Lions will be able to extend the floor behind Christiansen, Fessenmeyer and Poulsen. Poulsen will miss the first couple games as he deals with a foot injury, but the Lions as a whole want to be aggressive in defending the rim together.

 

MEAD MAVERICKS

Coach: Darin Reese (4th year).

Last year: 14-11 overall; 8-6 Tri-Valley League.

Returning starters: Aaron Cheung (Sr., 5-11, guard); Griffin Nelson (Sr., 6-4, wing).

Others to watch: Cody Beaver (Sr., 6-0, guard); Blake Goodwin (Jr., 6-7, post).

Outlook: The Mavericks will be tough to guard once again simply because of the ability to hit the 3-pointer (Cheung had 53 of them last year). However, Mead will also be bigger overall, which should help provide stability in the paint. As it stands, Reese will have a nine-man rotation, and five of them were JV-only last year. They’ll have to grow quickly, because they will see some time.

 

MONARCH COYOTES

Coach: Ken Niven (16th year).

Last year: 19-6 overall; 13-3 Front Range League.

Returning starters: Ben Beauchamp, (Sr., 6-3, guard); Kyle Billingsley (Sr., 6-1, guard); Eric Lawson (Jr., 6-3, G); Jay MacIntyre (Sr., 5-9, guard).

Others to watch: Sam Fredricksmeyer (Jr., 6-0, guard); Kylor Johnson (Jr., 6-1, guard); Shawn Kirkman (Jr., 6-2, forward); Ryan Webb (So., 6-5, forward).

Outlook: Look out for the Coyotes, who have a lot to prove after last year’s second-round playoff exit. In addition to the three returning starters, Kirkman and Fredricksmeyer played plenty as the first options off the bench. Beauchamp has committed to Black Hills State and will be playing with a clear conscience, and MacIntyre’s athletic abilities are second to none.

 

NEDERLAND PANTHERS

Coach: Chris Dettmann (1st year).

Last year: 7-13 overall; 1-9 Mile High League.

Returning starters: Ike Thibedeau (Jr., 6-0, post); Chris Clemmer (Sr., 6-1, center).

Others to watch: Jack Abendroth (So., 5-9, guard); Mike Airola (Jr., 5-7, guard); Miles Pancoast (Jr., 5-10, guard); Wyatt Wales (Sr., 5-8, guard).

Outlook: Dettmann takes over a team that is losing its top three scorers, but Thibedeau is expected to fill in nicely in the post along with Clemmer. The Panthers are hoping Airola can spark the offense, too.


NIWOT COUGARS

Coach: Enoch Miller (1st year).

Last year: 8-15 overall; 3-11 Northern League.

Returning starters: Kyle Kolakowski (Sr., 6-3, forward).

Others to watch: Clarke Colwell (Sr., 6-5, guard); Jonny Drake (Jr., 5-10, guard); Brendan Gray (Jr., 6-5, forward); Justin Lee (Jr., 6-3, forward); Charlie Mitelhaus (Jr., 6-1, guard/forward); Jason Seper (Jr., 6-2, guard).

Outlook: Niwot typically is competitive, and the Cougars are hoping to be that way once again in the Northern League. As long as Colwell is healthy and Kolakowski directs the team the way Miller knows he can, NHS should be able to challenge anyone it plays. Cleaning up turnovers is imperative, as Niwot had about 16 per outing last season.

 

PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS

Coach: Tony Peters (10th year).

Last year: 13-10 overall; 2-6 Metro League.

Returning starters: Cos Braswell (Sr., 5-7, guard).

Others to watch: David Griffith (Sr, 5-10, guard); Phillip Ward (Sr., 6-3, forward).

Outlook: The Pumas were aggressive and unselfish last year, but they were also senior-heavy. There are more questions than answers, but Peters likes Braswell’s ability to penetrate as well as Griffith’s knack for getting hot at the right time. Ward could be a difference maker as the Pumas look to better compete in the Metro League.

 

SHINING MOUNTAIN LIONS

Coach: Sean Lynch (1st year).

Last year: 23-3 overall; 7-1 5280 League

Returning starters: Alex Beal (Sr., 6-4, forward).

Others to watch: Jordan Cherin (So., 5-9, guard); Avery Sears (Jr., 6-3, center).

Outlook: The Lions are new from the top down, but Beal’s 9.8 scoring average and 5.5 rebounds per game are a good starting point for the defending Class 1A runners-up. For Lynch, he has seen new leaders emerging with a pretty different roster, which includes a transfer, sophomore forward Gray Hill, and Avery Sears, a junior who returned to Shining Mountain after a year. Expectations are high for the team after last year’s great finish.

 

SILVER CREEK RAPTORS

Coach: Bob Banning (14th year).

Last year: 11-13 overall; 5-9 Northern League.

Returning starters: Zane Lindsey (Sr., 6-2, guard); Eric Machmuller (Sr., 6-1, guard).

Others to watch: Stephen Campbell (Sr., 6-2, forward); Cisco Echevarria (Sr., 6-3, post); Jackson Engles (Jr., 6-3, forward); Austin Hartman (Jr., 6-4, forward); Nico Rembert (Sr., 6-3, guard); Ben Sjobakken (Sr., 6-3, guard/forward); Josh Tarin (Sr., 6-4, forward).

Outlook: Banning is now used to seeing a light load in practice the first couple weeks because of football, so chemistry needs to form quickly. Campbell and Echevarria are both coming back from injuries that ended their seasons, and the rotation overall looks deep for the Raptors. They need to improve on 3-point shooting if they are to succeed.

 

SKYLINE FALCONS

Coach: Jason Johnson (1st year).

Last year: 6-17 overall; 3-11 Tri-Valley League.

Returning starters: Luciano Quesada (Sr., 6-1, guard).

Others to watch: Garret Angstead (Sr., 5-10, guard); Justin Forsyth (Jr., 6-2, guard); Ryan Halgeland (Sr., 5-10, guard); Dominic Mansanares (Jr., 6-2, forward); Aaron Soriano (Sr., 6-3, forward); Travis Stuvel (Sr., 6-2, forward).

Outlook: Johnson, who is returning to the program after a few years away from the game, hopes to take advantage of some athletes by running up and down the floor and using transition to their benefit, desiring to play as fast as they can while maintaining control. Quesada is a player who can help in that process, as Johnson noted his ability to stop and pop in transition. Forsyth will be coming off a football injury.

 

TWIN PEAKS TIMBERWOLVES

Coach: Ryan VanWyk (1st year).

Last year: First year varsity program.

Outlook: Timberwolves just hoping to make an impact in its first season as a CHSAA-sanctioned program.

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