AURORA | Capsule preview look at the 2020 Class 5A girls state basketball first round playoff matchup involving an Aurora teams set for Feb. 25, 2020 (full bracket, schedule):
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports
2020 CLASS 5A GIRLS FIRST ROUND CAPSULE
NO. 34 EAGLECREST (11-12) AT NO. 31 HORIZON (11-12), 7 P.M.
Breakdown: Eaglecrest finished 33rd in the final Class 5A RPI standings — an improvement of 14 spots from the 2018-19 season — and it yielded a playoff seed 13 spots higher than last season when it went in No. 47 and had to trek to the Western Slope to face Fruita Monument. The Raptors have made the postseason for seven straight seasons, but are seeking to make it to the second round for only the second time in that spot. Horizon — which stopped Eaglecrest in the second round in the 2016-17 season — is one of Colorado’s most tradition-laden postseason programs, having appeared in at least the second round of the playoffs for at least the last 17 consecutive seasons with three state championship game appearances in that span and a spot in the Great 8 for the past four seasons (getting stopped by Regis Jesuit in the last three). …The Raptors and Hawks had just two common opponents, No. 20 Arapahoe (which topped Eaglecrest twice and Horizon once) and No. 42 Rocky Mountain, and both won (Eaglecrest by 21 points, Horizon by 11).
EAGLECREST: Coach Robby Gabriellli’s team (which went 8-1 prior to winter break) played 14 teams in the 5A postseason and 4A playoff qualifier and defending state champion Mullen twice and finished 4-12 against those teams, with the top victory coming over No. 16 Rangeview. In Centennial League play, Eaglecrest finished sixth in the team standings after sweeping Overland and Smoky Hill and losing two meetings with No. 2 Cherry Creek, No. 4 Grandview and No. 15 Cherokee Trail, as well 4A No. 9 Mullen. The Raptors have been led in scoring all season by senior G Jadyn Ross, a Colorado State-Pueblo signee who played in all 23 games in the regular season and averaged 13.7 points per game with 17 efforts of 11 points or more. She is joined in double figures in scoring by impact freshman F Laci Roffle, who averages 10 points per contest in addition to leading the team in steals (2.6 spg) and blocked shots (1.2 bpg). She is also second in rebounding at 4.3 per contest, while senior C Tatiana Coleman accounts for 8.3 boards per game. Junior G Dalys McGuinnis scored in double figures in the last two games of the regular season and has 10 of those games on the season and contributes across the board statistically as well. McGuinnis (19 made 3-pointers) and junior G Jaedyn Martin (17) — both transfers who previously played at Rangeview — both are capable outside shooters behind Ross and Roffle as well.
HORIZON: Coach Dan Doehler’s team comes into the playoffs off consecutive wins over playoff teams (No. 42 Rocky Mountain and No. 38 Legacy which resulted in a fourth-place finish in the Front Range League standings), but had a streak of four straight 20-win seasons snapped and comes into the postseason with its fewest wins since the 2010-11 season. Horizon played three games out of state and in Colorado had 17 contests against 5A or 4A playoff qualifiers and went 8-9 in those games. Senior PG Olivia Waufle is a tone-setter for the Hawks as the team’s leader in scoring (12.8 ppg), rebounding (6.9 rpg), assists (3.3 apg) and steals (2.4 spg), while sophomore G Audra Vine is also a multiple-category contributor each game and checks in with an average of 12.1 points per game. Sophomore Britta Cardenas averages 8.1 points per contest as well, while senior CC Denava has made 33 3-pointers (second on the team to Vine’s 35).
WINNER GETS: The Eaglecrest-Horizon winner advances to a Feb. 28 5A second round contest against No. 2 Cherry Creek (21-2), the defending state champion. The Raptors dropped two Centennial League meetings with the Bruins during the regular season.