League and team outlook
Front Range League
Teams and trends: Boulder, Broomfield, Fairview, Fort Collins, Fossil Ridge, Horizon, Legacy, Loveland, Monarch, Mountain Range, Poudre, Rocky Mountain. Fairview and Fossil Ridge each finished FRL play with one loss during the pandemic season — with the Knights going 10-1 and the Sabercats 9-1 — but Fossil Ridge won head-to-head, 75-72. Fairview and Fossil Ridge also reached the Class 5A round of 16.
2021 league leaders: Scoring: Greysen Carter, Fairview (351). Scoring average: Silas McCurnin, Poudre (22.4)*. Rebounds: Carter (147). 3-pointers made: McCurnin (59). Assists: Brock Mishak, Fossil Ridge (62)*. Free throws made: Mishak (79). Steals: Xavier Harris, Horizon (46)*. Blocks: Austin Bierhaus, Loveland (30).
Numbers game: Over/under 70. Only 16 teams in the state shot over 70% from the free throw line last winter. Only Poudre (76%) and Fossil Ridge (70%) in the league did so. Monarch and Legacy were next closest in the league at 68%.
* — Eligible to return in 2021
Coach: Matthew Smith
The Scorecard: The Panthers, finishing 4-10 and 10th in league during the pandemic season, are excited about the possibilities. “A ton of young talent in the program this year with a very bright future,” as the second-year coach put it. Boulder returns seniors in F Logan Marshall and G Calvin Pielke, the latter being the school’s dazzling soccer star. The pair averaged 4.8 and 4.2 points, respectively, last season. Others expected to make some noise include sophomore F Kyle Blauch, senior F Calder Nadelson, junior D Ido Benhorin, junior F Grayson Donaldson and senior G Zach Lawson.
Coach: Terrence Dunn
The Scorecard: As the program nears 900 wins (currently at 889, per coach Dunn), the Eagles are looking to take a step forward after a tough spring in which they went 3-11 and didn’t win a game in league. Returners include senior F Josh Dunn, the rare, multi-sport star who had standout fall seasons in both football as a receiver and soccer as a defender. In basketball under his dad, he averaged 3.8 points and 6.4 rebounds last season. Elsewhere, senior G Gabe Estebanes also returns after averaging 5.9 points on 45% shooting, while senior F Tristan Caudill could be among the highest rising stock climbers in the program.
Coach: Andre Goldberg
The Scorecard: The Knights will have to retool after they reached the 5A Sweet 16 during the pandemic season. Last season’s scoring leaders Greysen Carter (21.9 ppg) and TJ Williams (14.4) have graduated. Senior Grant Page doesn’t appear to be returning — not surprising as he’s committed to Nebraska for football. But the young talent is rising, Goldberg said. Back is sophomore G Owen Foster, who had meaningful minutes last season. Others to watch include junior G Myles Moskowitz and freshman F Bekkem Kritza, who introduced himself to the community as the team’s newest standout quarterback in the fall.
Coach: Connor Clay
The Scorecard: The Lightning return just one starter from an 8-6 campaign in junior F Will Thurston, who averaged 4.7 points and 3.3 boards a season ago. He’ll be joined by junior Bryce Spradling and a talented senior class that includes Jack Debell, Jacey Stelling and Deven Sehr. “We’ve got a skilled group that loves to play hard. With only one returning starter, we’re excited for a fresh look,” said Clay, entering his fifth season at the helm. “Our goal is to compete for a league title.”
Coach: Tim DeBerry
The Scorecard: Monarch is an interesting study and a possible breakout team as it returns three starters from last season’s 9-6 campaign — including senior F Garrett Myers, senior C Braden Luther and junior G Zane Miley. From there, it has nice depth in senior F Owen Tennison, senior G Nick Gleason, junior PG Dean Reeves and junior G Jack Carlson. DeBerry simply said the Coyotes are excited to see what they can do after having a full offseason for the first time in three years (DeBerry was hired late in 2019 and the pandemic threw everyone for a loop last season).
Teams and trends: Centaurus, Erie, Greeley Central, Greeley West, Holy Family, Longmont, Mead, Silver Creek, Skyline, Windsor. Longmont and Windsor each went 6-1 atop the league standings in its inaugural year. Mead and the Trojans reached the 4A Final Four with the Mavs going on to win the 4A title.
2021 league leaders: Scoring: Colton Gillingham, Greeley West (350 points and 25 ppg). Rebounds: James Shiers, Mead (172)*. Free throws made: Keegan Patterson, Longmont (64)*. 3-pointers made: Elijah Knudsen, Mead (59)*. Assists: Eric Quintana, Holy Family (69)*. Steals: Ben Hageman, Windsor (40). Blocks: Shiers (73).
Numbers game: Over 200. The area has five returning players who scored more than 200 points last season. Mead’s Elijah Knudsen led the way with 347, followed by Longmont’s Keegan Patterson (232), Silver Creek’s Andrew Scott (221), Holy Family’s Jackson Ward (214) and Mead’s James Shiers (206).
* — Eligible to return in 2021
Coach: Travis Maron
The Scorecard: Coming off a 4-5 campaign in which they finished seventh in league, Maron said the Warriors are made mostly up of juniors and seniors this winter. That’s good for experience in a league smothered in talent. From it, they return starters in seniors Kevin Bedford (center) and JT Lewicki (forward). Lewicki, for his part, led the team in scoring in the pandemic year, averaging 11 points on an impressive 59% shooting from the field. Other seniors from the group to look out for include guards John McGill and Jack Downing.
Coach: Jimmie Lucero
The Scorecard: The Tigers went 7-3 in Lucero’s first season in charge — good for fourth in the league. But this year will be a bit of a different challenge after they graduated eight seniors from that squad. Kayan Hargrave is the lone starter back. And if there is just one to return, he’s a good one to have. As a junior, Hargrave led the team with 13.8 points per game on 60% shooting from the field. Showing consistency, he shot over 50% in nine of 10 games. Alongside him will be senior F Trenton Rowan and sophomore F Blake Barnett, the latter who has already wowed as the school’s quarterback this fall and will be in the state championship this weekend.
Holy Family Tigers
Coach: Pete Villecco
The Scorecard: The Tigers, who reached the Class 4A round of 16 a season ago, are young but have some nice experience among their roster. Jackson Ward, the only now-senior who played varsity during the condensed campaign, returns after he was an all-league and all-region selection last winter with averages of 13.4 points and 8.4 boards. Junior G Eric Quintana also returns after leading the team with 4.3 assists. Elsewhere, sophomore Gabe Tafoya is someone Villecco said “has the chance to be another special player to come through the program”. Juniors Rocco Bridges and Grayden Harkness also return after strong sophomore campaigns.
Coach: Jeff Kloster
The Scorecard: Coach Kloster will be inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in March. The same month the 28-year Trojans basketball coach usually has his team playing inside of. Keegan Patterson and Brendan Barcewski return from a team that won league and reached the state Final Four last season. Barcewski will take over at center for the now-graduated big man Eddie Kurjak, who now plays at Colorado Mesa. Others to watch include Kale Derksen, Jack Moll, Caleb Johnson, Cole Corner, Cole Gaddis and Dev Elzinga. The longtime coach said he believes the offense will be a work in progress early on. But, again, “we hope to be competing all the way into March,” he said.
Coach: Darin Reese
The Scorecard: The defending champs had an interesting road to the school’s first team title in history. After finishing sixth in league, Elijah Knudsen went berserk in the postseason, averaging 26 points. Lifting a team that lost talented guard Nick Basson before the quarterfinals after suffering a stroke, the Mavs played for him as they routed their final three opponents to grab the top prize. Now they return six of their top eight players from that team, also including senior C/F James Shiers, senior F Will Tenore, senior F Matt Murphy and senior G Nathan Hoffman. They’re ranked first in the 4A CHSAANow.com preseason coaches poll.
Silver Creek Raptors
Coach: Bob Banning
The Scorecard: The Raptors went 10-4 last season, finished fifth in league and reached the 5A postseason. Not bad for a team who transitioned into a bigger classification amid the pandemic. They’ll look to build with seven returning varsity players and four starters. Andrew Scott (15.8 ppg last season), for one, is among the best players in the league and could be in store for another strong campaign. Tanner Call (11 ppg), Eli Hubert and Aidan Miller, meanwhile, round out the returning starters. Some others to keep pulse on include seniors Jackson Gallagher and Nick Falk.
Coach: Tyler Cerveny
The Scorecard: The Falcons have just one returning starter in senior G Caden Tapia — this, after going 5-9 and finishing eighth in league last season. Like crosstown rival Silver Creek, Cerveny’s team had to transition on the fly into the 5A classification last season amid the pandemic. Now, they will look to find some grounding in it with more normalcy hoped for this winter. “With only one returning starter, we are excited to see these guys’ growth throughout the season,” the seventh-year Falcons coach said.
Longs Peak League
Teams and trends: Berthoud, Fort Morgan, Frederick, Mountain View, Niwot, Northridge, Riverdale Ridge, Roosevelt, Severance, Thompson Valley. Thompson Valley won the inaugural league title. Only Mountain View reached the second round of the 4A postseason.
2021 league leaders: Scoring: Alex Hurr, Mountain View (328, 23.4 ppg). Rebounds: Jaromy Morgan, Thompson Valley (138) and Cooper Hidalgo, Berthoud (138). Free throws made: Ty Adam, Severance (86)*. 3-pointers made: Anthony Chavez, Riverdale Ridge (38)*. Assists: Christian Soliz, Mountain View (52) and Antonio Melendez, Thompson Valley (52)*. Steals: Jacoby Conway, Frederick (45)*. Blocks: Hurr (26).
Numbers game: 101. Frederick was the only league team to top the century mark in 3-pointers made. It was one of just six teams in 4A to do so with Mead leading the way with 145.
* — Eligible to return in 2021
Coach: Enoch Miller
The Scorecard: The Warriors finished 10-5, third in league and reached the postseason for a third straight year. Even with graduating their top two scorers from that team in Izayah Elize and Ilan Marinoff, more of the same is expected this winter. “We have a lot of youth but we are skilled offensively and feisty defensively,” Miller said. “From top to bottom, we shoot the three better than last year and have more depth.” Returning starters include senior G Jacoby Conway, senior F Alex Sturn and senior G Bryce Conover. Others to watch for are junior G Luke Justice and junior F Matias Aldana.
Coach: Clay Wittrock
The Scorecard: The Cougars are hoping to be more competitive after winning just one game a season ago. Rowan Granat is back after he missed all of last season due to injury. The senior G/F was a solid contributor for the program as a sophomore and could be important in terms of skill and leadership this season. Returning starters for the Cougars include senior G Walt Van Riper and senior G Dev Mudukutore, while others to watch are junior F Jerek Funkhouser, senior PF/C Stephen Sahaj, freshman PG/SG Jack Jarvis and junior G/F Mateusz Swat.
Teams and trends: Bishop Machebeuf, Colorado Academy, Faith Christian, Jefferson Academy, Kent Denver, Lutheran, Manual, Peak to Peak, Prospect Ridge Academy, Sky View Academy, Stargate School. Lutheran won the league for the third time in the last four seasons and went on to win the 3A crown.
2020-21 league leaders: Scoring: Duke Benson, Kent Denver (315)*. Scoring average: Baye Fall, Lutheran (21.3). Rebounds: RJ Kennah, Kent Denver (168). Free throws made: Ethan Livingston, Jefferson Academy (56). 3-pointers made: Adrian Doerr, Kent Denver (65). Assists: Jordan Reed, Manual (113)*. Steals: Jay Royal, Kent Denver (61)*. Blocks: Fall (44).
Numbers game: 44. In just 12 games played, Fall, the state’s coveted prospect, had more blocks — 44 — than just two other league teams. Fall has since transfered to the Denver Prep Academy team that plays showcase games.
* — Eligible to return in 2021
Jefferson Academy Jaguars
Coach: Mark Sharpley
The Scorecard: The Jaguars are looking to return to the postseason after struggling last winter, going 3-11. Sharpley, in his 22nd season, said he has 11 players on roster “with the majority (of them coming) from multiple sports that have never played together.” The key to success will be how they “forge their own chemistry and unity,” he added. Among names to know are senior guards Ethan Runyon and Kyle Hirsch as well as junior F Caleb Nolan. Others to keep an eye out for include senior F Andrew Smith and senior G Cameron Butman, both of whom were standouts on the Jags 3A runner-up soccer team in the fall.
Peak to Peak Pumas
Coach: Evan Eschmeyer
The Scorecard: Eschmeyer, the former NBA player, is back for his second season. In his first, the Pumas won two games and finished ninth in league — a stepping stone for a program that is improving, the coach believes. Returning starters for him include sophomore G/F Grant Boonstra and junior F Chase Peterson. Others to watch include the coach’s son Elijah Eschmeyer as well as Owen Branscum. Both of them are expected to get quality minutes on the floor this season.
Prospect Ridge Academy Miners
Coach: Scott Iten
The Scorecard: The fourth-year coach didn’t water down expectations for this winter. “We expect to win,” he said after the team went 6-7 last season. “There are no more excuses for us as a program or a school. We have guys that are committed to each other and the PRA community to give great effort every night.” Back in the fold are returning starters in senior G Andrew Cuss, who led the team with a 16.8 scoring average on 51% shooting last winter. Also returning are senior F Hunter Love, senior G Nathaniel Estrada, junior G Max Vacco and junior F David Agbosse. Others to watch include junior F Elik Hrivnak and junior G Stockton Rhodes.
3A/2A/1A Mile High League
Teams and trends: Clear Creek, Dawson School, Dayspring Christian Academy, Denver Academy, Denver Christian, Front Range Christian, Gilpin County, Heritage Christian, Highland, Longmont Christian, Loveland Classical, Lyons, Twin Peaks, Union Colony Prep. Highland won the league again and has still not lost a game inside it since the 2015-16 season.
2020-21 league leaders: Scoring: Christian Still, Dayspring Christian Academy (371). Scoring average: Trey Summers, Union Colony Prep (28.6). Rebounds: Pryce Ferrin, Front Range Christian (184)*. Free throws made: Still (110). 3-pointers made: Bo Lafferty, Longmont Christian (50). Assists: Ethan Liebert, Denver Christian (120). Steals: Jase Bessire, Highland (90). Blocks: Gage Basey, Lyons (31)*.
Numbers game: 49. Lyons was the most efficient scoring team in the league, shooting 49%. Highland scored nearly 20 points more per game than Lyons (80.4-60.7) but shot just 47% from the field.
Dawson School Mustangs
Coach: Elwyn Davidson
The Scorecard: The Mustangs finished 10th in league last season but are excited for where they go from here. Back in the fold are senior F Ethan Duster and sophomore G Jackson Parker. Duster averaged a double-double with 14.8 points and 10.2 rebounds last season and Parker added 8.1 points per game as a freshman. Others to watch include sophomore F Oliver Pritchard and junior G Tyler Burridge. “We will be a young team that plays with a lot of energy,” Davidson said.
Longmont Christian Warriors
Coach: Joel Maly
The Scorecard: The Warriors, after going .500 last season, have a new coach in Joel Maly. He comes in after an abrupt coaching departure — just two weeks before the start of winter practice, he said. Returning for the program is senior F Christopher Gunlikson, a name also known on the golf course as he’s been Niwot’s ace for the last couple years. Others to watch are junior G/F Thomas Scheurman and senior G Jackson Lynch. “This group is hungry to play,” Maly said. “We expect to see some younger guys step up this year and support our three seniors.”
Coach: Ryan Bant-Cogburn
The Scorecard: Senior F Gage Basey returns after averaging a double-double last season with 17.3 points and 10.2 boards. Other returning starters for a team that went 8-3 and finished third in league are junior G Nate Richardson, sophomore F Henry Johnson and senior F Grant Gau. When talking about his team, the first-year coach sounded giddy with its potential. “We are hungry to prove our mettle this year and look to take on this season by the horns,” he said. “The energy that we are going to bring to the court will be great this year.”
Twin Peaks Timberwolves
Coach: Tyler Wright
The Scorecard: The Timberwolves are looking to build off a winless campaign in which they started two freshmen and had no seniors. This year, they have five seniors, including two who started in Isaac Kieser and Josh Meyer. The other seniors are Erick Sickau, Rohit Thapa and Dawson Barchers. “Now with five seniors and a few promising younger guys, we are excited for the upcoming season,” the second-year coach said.
Note: Shining Mountain, playing in the 1A 5280 League last season, will not have a boys basketball program this winter due to low numbers, per the school.
Cream of the crop: 2021 BoCoPreps.com All-region team
First Team (Name, 2020-21 class, school)
Greysen Carter, Sr, Fairview; Elijah Knudsen, Jr., Mead; Eddie Kurjak, Sr., Longmont; Andrew Scott, Jr., Silver Creek; James Shiers, Jr., Mead.
Drake Arthur, Sr., Boulder; Izayah Elize, Sr., Frederick; Kayan Hargrave, Jr., Erie; Gavin Poxson, Sr., Legacy; Jackson Ward, Sr., Holy Family.
Gage Basey, Jr., Lyons; Nick Basson, So., Mead; Tanner Call, Jr., Silver Creek; Sam Carlson, Sr., Monarch; Adrian Compian, Sr., Skyline; Andrew Cuss, Jr., Prospect Ridge; Ethan Duster, Jr., Dawson; Roane Edwards, Sr., Fairview; Mario Everett, Sr., Centaurus; Greg Gerhardt, Sr., Monarch; Justin Gordon, Sr., Jefferson Academy; Gage Gruidel, Sr., Niwot; Blake Hammond, Sr., Holy Family; Carson Hill, Sr., Centaurus; Karson Hills, Sr., Silver Creek; Tavan Karbassi, Sr., Shining Mountain; Isaac Kieser, Jr., Twin Peaks; Bo Laugherty, Sr., Longmont Christian; John Lewicki, Jr., Centaurus; Ethan Livingston, Sr., Jefferson Academy; Kevin Loy, Sr., Erie; Ilan Marinoff, Sr., Frederick; Kevin McMahon, Sr., Broomfield; Tucker Mills, So., Lyons; Garrett Myers, Jr., Monarch; Calder Nadelson, Jr., Shining Mountain; Landon Nattrass, Sr., Broomfield; Jordan Nguyen, Sr., Erie; Grant Page, Jr., Fairview; Keegan Patterson, Jr., Longmont; Nick Peterson, Sr., Skyline; Brody Pinto, Sr., Fairview; Conner Reagan, Sr., Boulder; Macully Sehr, Sr., Legacy; Justin Spencer, Sr., Broomfield; Tyson Spradling, Sr., Legacy; Jimmy Starry, Sr., Boulder; Samuel Thengvall, Jr., Peak to Peak; TJ Williams, Sr., Fairview; Liam Wood, Sr., Shining Mountain.