• Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer

    Fairview boys basketball coach Patrick Burke goes over some details during the team's opening practice on Monday at Fairview. The winter sports season for high school sports will officially begin with games on Nov. 26.

  • Helen H. Richardson / THE DENVER POST

    Jake Given (center) and the rest of the Monarch hockey team made the semifinals in 2017-18 but are looking to start another run of appearances in the championship game starting this week with the official start of practices.



Longmont senior Oakley Dehning walked off the field at EchoPark Stadium following Longmont football’s first-round loss to Ponderosa on Saturday not quite ready for the big transition that awaited him.

The Trojans quarterback — like so many other multi-sport athletes across the area — will have to refocus quickly as they jump from the conclusion of fall sports to the winter slate that began Monday.

Dehning said he is eager to re-up with Longmont’s basketball team, which won the 4A state title on his game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds back in March. If only, he wished, it had come a few weeks later.

“The transition is going to be tough, there’s nothing like high school football,” Dehning said. “I’m excited for basketball, but at the same time it’s not what I wanted to be doing Monday.”

Both boys and girls basketball will have two weeks of practice before it can play its first game on Nov. 26. Its seasons will get going before being halted briefly for the holidays. Regular seasons will end on Feb. 16, and districts for Class 1A-3A are to be completed by Feb. 23.

From there, the state playoff bracket for will begin on Feb. 19 for girls’ teams in 5A and 4A, and Feb. 20 for 5A and 4A for the boys. The lower classifications will have their first round of the state bracket completed in early March. And all classes will play semifinals and finals games March 7-9.

Per CHSAA assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann, semifinals and finals games are scheduled to be played at the same sites as last year in 5A-2A. Games in 5A and 4A were played at the Denver Coliseum. Quarterfinals through finals in 3A were played at the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gym and the last three rounds of 2A were played at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.

Borgmann said the 1A venue for quarterfinals-finals may change. It was played at the University of Northern Colorado in March. Further details are expected later in the week.

First things first, though.

It’s only November. Baby steps.

“We’ll focus early on in the season on fundamentals,” Longmont boys basketball coach Jeff Kloster said. “Because we have so many multi-sport athletes that are coming from football — and with football unfortunately losing (on Saturday) — it’s a different mode. It’s just getting a basketball back in their hands and getting reacquainted with the basketball.”

Other winter sports include ice hockey, girls swimming, wrestling and skiing.

Monarch, the area’s lone hockey team, kicks off its season after marching all the way to the semifinals a season ago. The first round of the state playoffs is set for Feb. 19-20. Semifinals and the championship games are slated for March 1 and March 4 at the Pepsi Center.

In girls swimming, four area teams are coming off top-five placings from last season. Longmont won the Class 3A title and Centaurus was fifth. Fairview finished second in 5A and Niwot was fifth in 4A. State championships in 4A and 5A are set for Feb. 7-9 at Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center in Thornton. The championship in 3A is scheduled for Feb. 8-9 at Edora Pool Ice Center in Fort Collins.

In wrestling, Broomfield (fourth), Monarch (eighth) and Legacy (10th) will look for more success as each placed inside the top 10 in the 5A final team standings last February. Regional meets are set to be completed by Feb. 16 and the state tournament will be at the Pepsi Center from Feb 21-23.

Nederland, meanwhile, is the area’s lone ski team. State championships will be held on Feb. 21-22 in Durango.

Brent W. New: bwnew@prairiemountainmedia.com and @brentwnew