Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
One certainly couldn’t blame Centaurus head coach Chris Mischke if he was a little wishy-washy on the idea of earning a first round bye in the Class 4A postseason.
Having won 11 games in a row and digging into a rhythm of league play that often equates to two games a week on pretty much the same days, the schedule got thrown all out of whack as the No. 11 seed Warriors spent this week practicing, breaking down film and otherwise waiting for Friday to come.
Times have changed, Mischke said, in how he chose to prepare the team for Friday night’s second-round home game against No. 22 seed Lewis-Palmer — a team they matched up with in the first round of last year’s tournament.
“It’s hard because the girls are tired, but really everybody is tired at this point in the season,” Mischke said on Thursday night. “We had a game-like scrimmage on Tuesday so they were in that mode the same as all the teams that were playing … but we put in a game-plan over a four-day period and were able to put in little by little.
“It gave them something to think about each day rather than giving it all to them at once and run the risk of having poor practices. Ultimately, we’re trying to stay fresh, so we didn’t go super-hard this week. Twenty years ago, we would’ve gone a lot harder.”
Centaurus, the Northern League champions for the second year in a row, is one of four area teams that played their way to not having (or is it getting?) to play Tuesday. In 5A, Fairview will host Pine Creek to get their second season started, while in 4A the Mead Mavericks and Holy Family Tigers open up playoffs.
While all those other teams are strong, no one can argue the Warriors were on the biggest roll, storming to some lopsided victories in February (5-0 with an average margin of victory of 25.2 points). Those are numbers Mischke can agree with as they turn their attention to the Rangers.
Here’s another one — Centaurus beat Lewis-Palmer in that first-round game last year 43-36. But despite that, Mischke is well aware the Rangers (16-8) pose challenges all over the court coming off a 37-28 win against Skyline.
“All of their main players are back, and they were honestly one of the better teams we played last year,” Mischke said. “I’m worried about their playmakers, especially their senior (Kaity Hovasse) who is lanky, athletic and can run like a deer. They’ve got some size, and size has bothered us in the past.
“I definitely think we’re ready, and we got a pretty good scouting report on them. I feel like we’re going to come and have a lot of energy.”
A win for the Warriors would put them in the Sweet 16 with the possibility of a rematch with Evergreen.
Tri-Valley foes Mead and Holy Family are on opposite sides of the 4A bracket and both teams will also host Colorado Springs-area schools on Friday. The No. 13 seed Mavericks host Sierra looking to snap a three-game losing streak, while surging Holy Family hosts Sand Creek. The Tigers are a No. 2 seed.
Frederick is also alive in 4A after their first postseason win since 2001 — the Warriors travel to face No. 9 Thomas Jefferson.
Just as the boys did on Wednesday in 5A, Fairview’s girls will host Pine Creek in a rematch of the first game of the season for both teams in which the Knights cruised 64-24. While FHS will look to make a hostile environment for the Eagles, Legacy and Broomfield each have the task of traveling to notoriously tough places to play in Highlands Ranch and Regis Jesuit, respectively.
Other girls teams still playing in lower classifications include Jefferson Academy in 3A (district consolations), 2A Lyons and 1A Longmont Christian. Lyons is guaranteed to advance to 2A regional play.