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5 preps games to watch this week

Published: March 9, 2014, 6:38 pm, by Scott Kaniewski

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.

Game of the Week

Boys’ Basketball: No.1 Sand Creek (21-5) vs. No. 2 Pueblo East (21-5)

Where: Coors Events Center

When: Friday, 4 p.m.

Outlook: Sand Creek has all the offensive firepower a high school basketball team could possibly imagine coming into the 4A boys’ basketball semifinals. The roster is chock-full of playmakers — including seniors Dylan Clark, Langston Bell, Nick Pasley and Micheal DeCarmo, who all have the ability to go for 20-some-odd points on any night. … It’s the Scorpions’ defense, however, that will win games from here on out. Just take a look at Saturday’s result: The Scorpions punched their ticket to Boulder after holding D’Evelyn to four points in the fourth quarter (outscoring the Jags 19-4 in the quarter to win 58-51). Coach Joe Rausch said afterward that his team is at its best when defense is the priority. … Pueblo East, meanwhile, slowed down top-seeded Valor Christian’s offense en route to a 62-56 win in the quarterfinals. … Big-time wins in quarterfinals are expected to mean nothing Friday. “I don’t know if either our win or their win will have any momentum come next Friday,” Rausch said. “I think they were both great wins, but Friday will come down to who is the better team on that day. Nothing else.”

 

Boys’ Basketball: No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain (21-5) vs. Denver South (18-8)

Where: Coors Events Center

When: Friday, 5:30 p.m.

Outlook: At the 4A boys’ quarterfinals, leading scorer Ghassan Nehme (27 points per game) proved he’s more than just a bloated stat line. The Indians senior scored 41 points and completed a four-point play in the waning seconds of double overtime to oust top-billed Thompson Valley. … And despite Nehme’s 12-of-29 shooting Saturday, don’t expect Cheyenne Mountain coach J’on St. Clair to do anything but let the senior cut loose from the field. St Clair told The Gazette’s Kevin Carmody, “When you have a player like that, you have to say he’s going to miss some, If I told him not to, he maybe wouldn’t have made that last shot.” … You don’t know who’ll take the last shot for Denver South. Seniors Ibrahim Sylla (14.6), Tyson Purifoy (12.4), and Lorenzo Snoddy (11.7) all have scored more than 20 points this season. No player, however, has scored 30 in a game.

 

Girls’ Basketball: No. 1  Mesa Ridge (26-0) vs. No. 1 Pueblo South  (24-2)

Where: Coors Events Center

When: Thursday, 4 p.m.

Outlook: On Saturday, we wrote a feature “How Do you Stop Mesa Ridge?” And well, if there’s one team that knows, it’s the last team to do it. In the 4A girls’ semifinals, the Grizzlies look to knock Pueblo South out of the postseason — just like the Mustangs did to them a year ago. … Gabby Purnell, who vastly improved her midrange shooting over the summer, scored 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting in the quarterfinals. …  Pueblo South is the returning 4A state champion.

 

Boys’ Basketball: No. 3 Colorado Springs Christian (21-3) vs. No. 6 Denver Science & Tech (19-5)

Where: Air Force Academy

When: Thursday, 1:30 p.m.

 Outlook: So far so good for CSCS coach Mark Engesser. The Lions, who’ve been prematurely bounced from the 3A tournament in each of the past three years, have looked dominant this postseason with two wins in the first two rounds by more than 40 points apiece. … In the quarterfinals, the Lions face Denver Science & Tech, which scores more than 80 points a game. If CSCS can slow down the Knights even a tad,  Engesser’s bunch should be able to take advantage of a defense that allowed 1,447 points this season – nearly double the amount the Lions did (864).

 

Girls’ Basketball: No. 3 Peyton (23-1) vs. No. 6 Hoehne (22-1)

 Where: CSU-Pueblo

When: Thursday, 8:45 a.m.

Outlook: Peyton won both of its regional games despite a rather underwhelming shooting performance from its star, Shelby Patterson (19.9 points per game). The Panthers senior went 2 of 13 against Fowler, and just 3 of 8 against Rye over the weekend. … If Peyton wants to get another step closer to the 2A title game, Patterson will have to shoot better, something she did quite well for most of the season (48 percent). … Cydney Kreutzer is an under-the-radar player in 2A for Hoehne. The guard averages team highs in points (17.4), assists (5.1) and steals (4.5).

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Brent W. New, The Gazette

Twitter: @brentwnew @gazettepreps