AURORA | Capsule preview of the 2022 Class 5A girls state basketball Great 8 contest between Cherry Creek and Grandview scheduled for March 4, 2022, at Denver Coliseum:
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
NO. 6 CHERRY CREEK (18-6) VS. NO. 3 GRANDVIEW (15-9)
5:30 p.m., Denver Coliseum
BREAKDOWN: Cherry Creek and Grandview meet for the third time in the past seven years in the postseason, while a fourth matchup — in the 2020 5A state championship game — got wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. The Wolves topped the Bruins in in the Great 8 in 2016 and lost to them in the state championship game in 2019. …The teams met twice during the regular season and Grandview won both (54-34 at home Jan. 13 and 54-47 on the road Feb. 4) en route to the Centennial League championship. Senior Marya Hudgins led the Wolves in scoring in both matchups as she scored 16 points in the first game and 21 in the second, while senior Lauren Betts had double-doubles in both games (14-12 and 12-10 plus six blocks), while freshman Sienna Betts had 13 points in the first matchup and 11 in the second. Cherry Creek’s leading scorer in the first matchup was sophomore Julia Leach with 14 points, while freshman Braelynn Barnett had 12 to lead the way in the second meeting.
CHERRY CREEK: Coach Clint Evans’ Bruins have qualified for the Great 8 round for the fourth time in the past six seasons and need a win to make the Final Four for the fourth time in that same span. Cherry Creek comes into the Great 8 game on a seven-game winning streak that includes a second round postseason defeat of No. 27 Vista PEAK (68-37 Feb. 25), followed by a 55-46 victory over No. 11 Ralston Valley on March 1. Freshmen Tianna and A’Neya Chambers and sophomore Sophia Baldessari scored in double figures in both playoff games for Cherry Creek. …For the season, the Bruins have just one player who has averaged in double figures in scoring in Tianna Chambers (11 ppg), while she also leads the team in assists (2.9 apg). Barnett is just a shade under double figures with an average of 9.8 points per game, while A’Neya Chambers is the team’s leading rebounder at 6.2 per contest in addition to 8.3 points.
GRANDVIEW: Coach Josh Ulitzky’s Wolves seek a win that would put them in 5A’s Final Four for the seventh consecutive season. Grandview has won 10 games in a row following two losses in Minnesota against nationally-ranked DeSoto (Texas) and Hopkins (Minnesota), a streak that includes postseason wins over No. 30 Pueblo West (86-31 Feb. 25) and No. 19 Pine Creek (67-29 March 1). Senior Lauren Betts — a 6-foot-7 Stanford University signee — has averaged 20.5 points, 15.5 points and 4.5 blocked shots per game in Grandview’s first two playoff games, while Hudgins averaged 18 points between the two games and freshman Sienna Betts 13.5 points per game. Senior Amaya Charles and sophomore Gabriella Cunningham both had double-digit scoring efforts against Pueblo West as well. …For the season, Lauren Betts leads the Wolves in scoring (17.1 ppg), rebounding (10.6 rpg) and blocked shots (3.4 bpg), with Hudgins — a Santa Clara signee — next in scoring at 16.0 points per game (keyed by a team-high 35 made 3-pointers), followed by Sienna Betts at 10.5 points per game in addition to a team-high average of 3.5 assists per game and 9.3 rebounds per contest that ranks second to her older sister. Charles averages 6.1 points and 2.9 assists per game.
WINNER GETS: The Cherry Creek-Grandview winner moves into a March 10 semifinal contest at Denver Coliseum against the winner of the Great 8 game between No. 2 Highlands Ranch and No. 7 Doherty.