The only players on the roster of the Grandview girls basketball team the last time it played at the Denver Coliseum back in 2020 were seniors Lauren Betts (51) and Marya Hudgins (23), here celebrating the Wolves’ 5A semifinal win before the championship game was lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. Grandview faces Cherry Creek at 5:30 p.m. Friday in this season’s 5A girls Great 8. (File photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

The final three rounds of the Class 5A boys and girls state basketball championships will return to the Denver Coliseum for the first time since 2020 and the Eaglecrest boys and Grandview girls will be among the teams to play there.

When last the state tournaments were at the Denver Coliseum, they were ended prematurely do to the fast onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The semifinals of the 5A boys tournament and championship game of the 5A tournament were lost.

Last season’s playoff games were played at local sites all the way up until the state championships, which were contested at World Arena in Colorado Springs.

Back in 2020, the Grandview girls had earned a chance to play Cherry Creek for the state championship in a game that never happened. The two Centennial League rivals — both with very few holdovers from the teams that played that year — will play each other this season in a game scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Grandview, the No. 3 seed, topped No. 19 Pine Creek in the Sweet 16, while sixth-seeded Cherry Creek downed No. 11 Ralston Valley.

The Eaglecrest boys earned their trip to 5A Great 8 with a rousing 67-60 win over rival Smoky Hill Wednesday night (story here).

The Raptors made the Great 8 last season, but will appear at the Denver Coliseum for the first time since 2017, when they won their last state championship.

Eaglecrest has a scheduled 2 p.m. tip-off against No. 3 Chaparral, which survived another upset bid by No. 46 Mullen in a 63-51 Sweet 16 win.

* Full Class 5A boys state playoff scoreboard & schedule, here

* Full Class 5A girls state playoff scoreboard & schedule, here

MONDAY, FEB. 28: With sun and warmth and very little snow on the ground, athletes in spring prep sports around Aurora got outside — except for boys volleyball players and swimmers, who were inside — to get the new season underway.

Baseball, girls soccer, boys swimming, boys and girls track & field, boys and girls lacrosse, boys volleyball, girls tennis and girls golf all were allowed to practice officially for the first time as they build towards the start of their regular seasons, which in some cases is as close as the end of the week.

Gateway baseball players took to the blacktop in the school’s parking lot for the first day of spring prep sports practice on Feb. 28, 2022. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

One of the notable practices came at Gateway High School, where baseball has returned to the school after two seasons of absence. New head coach Moises Rodriguez put a group through the paces for the first time officially with fielding and throwing drills in the school’s parking lot before hitting inside.

The Olys have their first game March 10 at Mitchell High School.

SUNDAY, FEB. 27: Former Grandview High School mulit-sport star Addison O’Grady helped the University of Iowa women’s basketball team win the Big 10 conference championship as the 21st-ranked Hawkeyes posted a 104-80 win over No. 8 Michigan. O’Grady, a 6-foot-4 freshman, had six points, two assists and a rebound in 13 minutes of play.

Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

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