Every week, the Colorado Springs Gazette staff will choose the five most intriguing events to keep an eye on. Here’s a glance at this week’s events.
Event of the Week
Boys’ Basketball: Air Academy (13-3 overall, 6-1 4A Pikes Peak) vs. Sand Creek (12-3, 6-1)
Where: Air Academy High School
When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Outlook: Thanks to red-hot shooting early, Sand Creek won the first meeting 60-51. The Scorpions jumped out to a 30-20 halftime lead and held on with a 20-point fourth quarter. … The second meeting will be different. At least, it will look different, as it takes place at Air Academy High School, where the Kadets are 8-1 this season. … How has Air Academy done since that stinging loss to the Scorpions? Better than good. The Kadets have imposed their will, winning by an average of 32 points in their last three league games. … Sand Creek, meanwhile, stumbled, then rebounded from a 68-63 loss to Falcon with back-to-back wins last week. … The matchup Friday will likely come down to the play of junior guard David Louthan of Air Academy and Dylan Clark of Sand Creek. Louthan, who had a season-low five points in these teams’ first meeting, has led the Kadets all season long, shooting 59 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range while averaging a team-high 15.6 points. Clark, on the other side, may be the best jump shooter in the area. He has the fourth-highest scoring average in 4A, averaging 22.6 points.
Girls’ Basketball: Pine Creek (16-1 overall, 4-0 5A Colorado Springs Metro League) vs. Rampart (12-3, 4-0)
Where: Rampart High School
When: Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Outlook: More than likely, one of these two teams will win the Metro League title. … It’s not to say nobody is surprised by that, however. Take Pine Creek. Its coach Kelley Stewart didn’t want to sound like she didn’t believe in her girls, but she said she is absolutely shocked with how good the inexperienced Eagles have played this season. Since clipping Palmer by only a point to start league play, Pine Creek (which boasts four freshmen in the team’s top-six scorers) has won by 20 points or more in its past three league games. … And then there is Rampart. It goes as its leading-scorer Cassidy Budge goes. When the junior scores less than her 17.2 points average, the Rams are only 4-3.
Boys’ Basketball: Fountain-Fort Carson (7-10 overall, 3-1 5A Metro League) vs. Liberty (9-6, 3-1)
Where: Liberty High School
When: Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Outlook: Just barely did Liberty beat Fountain-Fort Carson last time around, 54-52. Really though, the Lancers, led by 5-foot-9 shooting sensation AJ Bohuslavksy and his 20 points per game, have been winning those type of razor-close games all season. They have scored only seven more points than their opponents have in 15 games, and are three games above the line (894-to-887). … The Trojans’ nonconference schedule may have been as tough as stale beef jerky, and it may have been even harder to chew once the 4-9 record was attached to it, but all that experience seems to be paying off now. They’ve allowed 42, 43 and 43 points on the defensive end during its three-game win streak.
Girls’ swimming: Pikes Peak Athletic Conference Championship
Where: Cheyenne Mountain High School
Prelims: Friday at 3:30 p.m. Finals: Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Outlook: Lewis-Palmer coach Alan Arata said the biggest competition for the 5A Rangers (ranked 17th by Rob Nasser girls’ swimming rankings) will be 4A Cheyenne Mountain (second), which has its eye on something way bigger than a league title. The Indians are led by Sydney Buckley, who has the second-fastest 4A time in the butterfly at 57.59 and third fastest in the breaststroke at 1:07.28. … The Indians also have second-fastest medley relay and 400 relay in 4A. The league event also includes other PPAC members like Discovery Canyon and Air Academy (13th in 4A), as well as school invitees like Valor Christian (seventh in 4A), Coronado, Sierra and Mitchell. (Read the blog below for all three girls’ swimming league previews)
Hockey: Pine Creek (6-6-1) vs. Palmer (7-6-1)
Where: Sertich Ice Center
When: Thursday at 7:15 p.m.
Outlook: After an unforgettable High School Winter Classic, Pine Creek has some work to do to climb up the Peak Conference standings. Zach Zimmerman scored again in wintry-weathered classic for his 12th goal of the season, but the Eagles fell to league-leading Lewis-Palmer anyway, 5-2. … On the other side, it’s not a question, but a scale of how much does Palmer need Sam Horning to keep to its winning ways. Horning has 22 goals (eight on the power play and four short-handed) and eight assists — and the Terrors have been cruising as of late. Their only loss of the New Year came to Mountain Vista 1½ weeks ago, when they fell 16-1.
Brent W. New, The Gazette
Twitter: @brentwnew @gazettepreps