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Introducing the BoCoPreps.com roundtable

We pose one question to our staff to weigh in on

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Between the staff here at BoCoPreps.com, we have well over 35 years of combined high school sports experience in Colorado. Adam Dunivan stomped the grounds around Loveland for five years starting in 2008 and jumped to Boulder County in 2013; Brad Cochi has been a staple in Longmont and Boulder since the beginning of the last decade; Brandon Boles lassoed Morgan County sports starting in 2014 and made his way to BoCo in 2018; and Brent navigated the Colorado Springs area with the Gazette before joining our staff in 2018, as well.

We love what we do. Covering preps is enjoyable, and we’re always trying to find unique stories and different angles to take in our coverage, too. We hope you as readers enjoy some of the new wrinkles we’ve tried out over the past year, as well.

Here’s a new wrinkle, something we’ll do sporadically through the school year and perhaps even during the summer months — the BoCoPreps.com round table. One pressing question will be presented to the group, and we’ll all chime in with our thoughts. We may try and get other people involved over time, ‘guest voices’ if you will, and we may give readers the opportunity to present a question or provide their own input. We’ll see how it rolls.

For this first edition, the following question was presented: At the midway point of the regular season for a majority of girls basketball teams, we have 12 squads that sit with a sub-.500 record. Some are right there on the cusp, such as Legacy at 5-6, Longmont and Frederick at 4-7, and Longmont Christian at 2-3. Which of the 12 teams — Legacy, Boulder, Longmont, Frederick, Skyline, Niwot, Silver Creek, Prospect Ridge Academy, Peak to Peak, Nederland, Twin Peaks Charter, or Longmont Christian — have the best chance of climbing out of the hole by the end of the regular season? 

Here’s what our ‘panel’ had to say:

ADAM D.: If we’re just looking at who has the team capable of putting together a run within their league, I’d say it has to be Longmont Christian in the Mile High League. They’ve got a lot, and I mean a lot, of games left on the docket and they have shown the ability to beat top small school teams. They had a tournament in early December where they defeated 2A Meeker, which currently sits at 7-2. They have struggled to score out of the gate in January, scoring just 29 and 39 points in a pair of losses, but there is a lot of experience on the roster led by junior Taylor Vandenburg (16.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg). If Ellie Echols (4.8 ppg) can get out on the wing and hit some 3-pointers like she’s capable of, and sophomore Jessica Schneider (6.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg) can continue to be aggressive in the post and perhaps get her scoring average to equal her rebounding average, the Warriors have potential to handle themselves well against the 2A teams in the MHL.

BRANDON B.: Longmont Christian is the safe bet. Its league currently has just three teams above .500 and they have already played two of those teams (Dawson and Heritage Christian). As long as Longmont Christian can get its offense on track, the schedule sets up nicely for them to win down the stretch. But I’m going to take a gamble with this one. I think Legacy is starting to hit its stride. It has won three of its last four games, and the loss was a two-point overtime loss to Doherty. The offense is starting to come around, with the team shooting 40 percent or better in three games recently. And the team has one of the top players in the Front Range League in forward Halle Mackiewicz averaging 19.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, all leading the team. If Ariana Ahadi can continue to find an uptick in her production (8.3 ppg) and if a third player can consistently help those two on offense, it might be enough to get Legacy over the hump. What will make or break Legacy finishing above .500 is the next six games, five of which are on the road. Poudre (6-6, 1-0) and Fort Collins (4-7, 1-0) this week gives them a shot to get on the plus side with their record, and if they can get two of three the following week on the road at Loveland (6-2, 0-1), Mountain Range (5-4, 0-1) and Dakota Ridge (5-6), they’ll be in a position to finish with a winning record.

BRAD C.: Since I’ve seen them play more than some of the other teams listed above, and because it feels to me as though the team has underperformed early on, I’m going with Skyline. The Falcons are off to a 3-6 start after losing their first four games of the season but many of those games were against good teams. This is also a senior-laden group led by the athletic and talented tandem of Ashayla Powers, who is averaging 19.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, and Alyssa McKrola (10.7 ppg). Younger players like sophomores Charlie Neb, Natalie Weathers and Abigail Anson have played in all of the Falcons’ nine games, six of which have been on the road, and are catching up to their varsity competition quickly. One factor that certainly isn’t in the Falcons’ favor is the fact that they play in a Tri-Valley League that seems to get tougher every year with strong teams like Holy Family, Erie, Windsor, Mead and unbeaten Berthoud on the schedule. It’s also worth noting that the Falcons were a second-round playoff team with exactly the same roster last winter and will soon be getting reinforcements in the form of 5-foot-11 senior forward Lindrey Schendel. So far, this hasn’t been the season the Skyline girls were expecting and it’s obvious that something just has not clicked. But when it does, I think the Falcons have what it takes to turn things around.

BRENT N.: I’d love to be that high roller staying in the penthouse and go for that big score — but I’ll stay in the Groupon deals for a bit longer. Settling for perhaps the easiest choice on the list, I think Legacy will climb out of its 5-6, uh, hole. (Probably more of a divot, if you ask me). And I feel good about that as long as its star center, Halle Mackiewicz, is on the court. Splitting responsibilities between being a standout basketball player and a Division-I soccer commit, the senior is averaging 19.6 points and 10.3 boards in the seven games she’s played this season, per MaxPreps. The Lightning are 5-2 when she plays. And 0-4 when she doesn’t. So, if she’s on the hardwood most of the way from here on out — as she was last year when she took part in 19 of the team’s 25 games — I think Legacy could hold its own in the 5A Front Range League, and we’ll be putting her name among the player of the year nominees in the area. And I say, if she can get paired with another player who consistently puts up a strong line — from someone like guard Ariana Ahadi, who has gone for 14.7 points on average in her last three games, I think the Lightning will not only make noise in the FRL, and not only reach the postseason, but win at least a game there for a fourth straight season.

Want to weigh in? Leave a comment on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bocopreps) or reply to our Twitter post @BoCoPreps.

Skyline's Aly McKrola, center, looks to ...
Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com
Aly McKrola and Skyline sit at 3-6 at the moment, but our Brad Cochi has a good feeling about the second part of the 2019-20 season for the Falcons coming up.