Girls Basketball: EMAC champion Vista PEAK seeded No. 32 in 4A postseason

Junior Denali Hughes, left, and the Vista PEAK girls basketball team enter the Class 4A girls basketball playoffs as the No. 32 seed with a 17-6 record. Hughes has averaged 21.8 points per game for the Bison, who play host to Cheyenne Mountain at 7 p.m. Feb. 20. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | Fresh off winning its first East Metro Athletic Conference title, the Vista PEAK girls basketball team has postseason business to attend to.

The Bison claimed the league championship in style with a decisive 86-44 home win over Westminster Feb. 16, which gave them a 17-6 mark for the regular season and put them in the No. 32 spot in the RPI standings for Class 4A.

That spot netted first-year coach Howard Payne and his team a home game when the 4A postseason bracket was released Sunday by the Colorado High School Activities Association. Vista PEAK is set to play host to No. 33 Cheyenne Mountain (7-15) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The winner moves on in the Tricia Bader-Binford Region into a second round matchup on the road at top-seeded Pueblo West (22-1) on Feb. 23.

Vista PEAK — which topped Cheyenne Mountain by two points early in the 2016-17 regular season in the only meeting between the teams — remains looking for the first postseason victory in program history.

The Bison lost in the opening round of the 2012-13 4A playoffs to Longmont, to Pueblo South in the 2015-16 postseason and to Mullen last season.

A first-round victory would tie Vista PEAK for the most wins in program history, the 18 it won in the 2015-16 season under former coach Jim Bartok. That team tied for the top spot in the Colorado 7 conference in the season before the program moved to the EMAC to join the other Aurora Public Schools programs.

Vista PEAK features a trio of double-digit scorers in junior Denali Hughes — whose 21.8 points per game average leads all Aurora girls players — along with sophomores Kaya Evans (15.5 ppg) and Seairra Hughes (11.0 ppg to go with 11.2 rebounds per contest).


Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel



First round byes: No. 1 Pueblo West (22-1); No. 8 Mesa Ridge (20-3); No. 9 Thomas Jefferson (21-2); No. 16 Greeley Central (19-4)

First round (Feb. 20)

Game 2: No. 33 Cheyenne Mountain (7-15) at NO. 32 VISTA PEAK (17-6), 7 p.m.

Game 4: No. 48 Pueblo Central (8-15) at No. 17 Berthoud (17-6), 7 p.m.

Game 6: No. 40 Canon City (9-14) at No. 25 Littleton (12-11)

Game 8: No. 41 Palisade (13-10) at No. 24 Frederick (12-11)

Second round (Feb. 23)

Game 33: Game 2 winner at No. 1 Pueblo West (22-1)

Game 34: Game 4 winner at No. 16 Greeley Central (19-4)

Game 35: Game 6 winner at No. 8 Mesa Ridge (20-3)

Game 36: Game 8 winner at No. 9 Thomas Jefferson (21-2)