AURORA | Eight Sweet 16 contests in the Class 5A boys state basketball playoffs will be contested Wednesday evening and six involve Aurora teams.
None of the city programs that made it through the second round (No. 1 Rangeview, No. 5 Grandview, No. 10 Smoky Hill, No. 11 Eaglecrest, No. 15 Vista PEAK and No. 29 Regis Jesuit) encounter each other in this round, but Saturday’s Great 8 could have some meetings if things work out a certain way.
Only two of the Sweet 16 contests take place in Aurora, however, as Rangeview and Grandview retain home court advantage in their quest to get to the Denver Coliseum, while the other four teams must win on the road against higher-seeded foes.
NO. 29 REGIS JESUIT AT NO. 13 DENVER EAST (Manual ThunderDome), 6 p.m.
Regis Jesuit (12-13 and the only team remaining in the playoffs with a sub-.500 record) is on a four-game winning streak that includes two postseason victories: 65-62 over Monarch in the opening round and a 69-65 road win at No. 4 Cherry Creek in the second round, which shook up the Kent Smith Region. Coach Ken Shaw’s Raiders have had different leading scorers in each contest as junior Blakeley Stoughton had 29 points against Monarch and junior Michael Wolf went for 21 against Cherry Creek. Denver East (21-3) rebounded form a loss to George Washington in its regular season finale with a 65-59 win over Legend in the second round. Regis Jesuit and Denver East meet in the postseason for third time since 2003 and both previous matchups came in the Great 8 (Regis Jesuit won in 2009 and Denver East took the 2015 meeting).
NO. 15 VISTA PEAK AT NO. 2 FAIRVIEW, 6:30 p.m.
Vista PEAK (20-4 and winner of four straight) appears in the Sweet 16 of the postseason for the first time since 2017 when it was in 4A, but is there for the first time in its second season since moving up to 5A. Coach Keenon Clement’s Bison earned a first round bye and then defended their home floor in the second round with a 64-53 win over Windsor in a game in which Vista PEAK expanded a small lead in to double figures within the final minute. Junior Jaylen Carrizales hit six free throws in the clutch stretch and finished with 17 points on the game. Fairview is 21-3 and on a 15-game winning streak, but the Knights won their second round contest by just a single point over Fountain-Fort Carson.
NO. 16 MOUNTAIN VISTA AT NO. 1 RANGEVIEW, 6:30 p.m.
Rangeview (24-0 this season and winner of 43 straight games) is home to face 16th-seeded Mountain Vista, the team defeated in last season’s Final Four to reach the state championship game it eventually won over Chaparral. Coach Shawn Palmer’s Raiders opened the postseason with a 79-39 win over No. 32 Arvada West as senior Obi Agbim racked up 25 points and was joined in double figures by seniors Christopher (12) and Christian Speller (10), while the Golden Eagles — 17-7 and winners of six straight games — racked up 91 points in a victory over No. 48 Chatfield.
NO. 10 SMOKY HILL AT NO. 7 CHAPARRAL, 7 p.m.
Smoky Hill (18-6) snapped a two-game losing skid in Centennial League play with a 105-76 home victory over No. 23 Fossil Ridge and moved within a win of making the 5A Great 8 for a third consecutive season. Six players scored in double figures in the victory over the SaberCats for coach Anthony Hardin’s Buffaloes, with junior Jalen Weaver leading the way with 23 (which included a perfect shooting performance from the field) and junior DeAngelo Horn going for 19. Smoky Hill makes its second visit of the season to Chaparral after it won 70-65 in overtime on Dec. 13, 2019, in the semifinals of the Chaparral/ThunderRidge Tip-Off Classic. The Continental League champion Wolverines (18-6 and winners of nine straight games) downed No. 26 Douglas County 91-64 in the second round. The last time Smoky Hill and Chaparral met in the postseason was in 2005-2006, when the Buffaloes won before falling to Mullen in the Final Four.
NO. 11 EAGLECREST AT NO. 6 VALOR CHRISTIAN, 7 p.m.
Eaglecrest (17-7 and winner of three straight) came off a first round bye and had to get through an all-Aurora, all-Centennial League showdown with Overland in a game that felt like it came too early in the tournament. Coach Jarris Krapcha’s Raptors survived a challenge from the Trailblazers behind senior Zion Ruckard’s 15 points and 12 more from junior Ty Robinson to advance and now take aim at getting past a Sweet 16 round that has stopped them in the previous two seasons (including against Overland in 2018-19) since they won the state championship in 2016-17. Valor Christian, which sits 18-6 and is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak, came off a first round bye to edge Rocky Mountain 65-61 in the second round.
NO. 21 BROOMFIELD AT NO. 5 GRANDVIEW, 7 p.m.
Grandview (18-6 and winners of 12 of its last 14 games) has a chance to get into the 5A Great 8 for the fourth consecutive season (which included its state championship-winning season of 2017-18) with a victory. Coach Michael Rogers’ Wolves downed No. 37 Hinkley 86-49 in one of two all-Aurora second round matchups with senior Caleb McGill going for 20 points and senior Tanner Holtman for 18 (on six made 3-pointers). Grandview will have to get past an unfamiliar opponent in Broomfield — which it may be playing for the first time — as the 21st-seeded Eagles (17-8 and winners of 10 of their last 11 games) knocked off 12th-seeded Pine Creek 56-55 in the second round after a 74-36 win over No. 44 Brighton in the first round.