Capitalizing fully on the opportunity denied them last winter, the Bayfield Wolverines prolonged their up-and-down basketball season at least one more game with inclusion into the Class 3A State Tournament field.
Bouncing back from a near-upset of regular-season Intermountain League champions Alamosa the night before, BHS beat down Centauri 60-49 last Saturday to secure third place in the IML District Tournament - and a very outside shot at the ultimate prize.
The Wolverines (11-10 overall) were given the #28 seed in the tourney's opening Round of 32. They face fifth-seeded The Pinnacle (19-3; Frontier League regular-season and district tournament champions) at 6 p.m. tonight in Federal Heights. The winner will face either 12-seed Eaton (14-8) or #21 Watkins Ridge View Academy (18-3) tomorrow at 1 p.m. to reach the Great Eight to be played next weekend at Colorado School of Mines.
Contesting the other half of the region will be #20 Greeley Frontier Academy, #13 Colorado Springs St. Mary's, #29 Florence and hosting fourth-seed Denver Colorado Academy.
At districts on Saturday, BHS junior forward Zane Phelps scored a team-best 19 points on 9-of-9 shooting from the floor and his only free-throw attempt, making for a statistically-perfect performance against the Falcons. Centauri was the district's regular-season leader last year, protected through the postseason's district-level stage into the regional rounds.
Senior guard Dillon Hoselton pumped in 12 points, senior center Preston Hardy nine and senior guard Conner Kennedy seven as eight Wolverines in all scored for head coach Jeff Lehnus, and helped preserve a 21-15 advantage gained in only the first eight minutes.
The six-point margin still held intact at halftime, 33-27. BHS won the third and fourth quarters by an aggregate 27-22 count to get the honor of having their school's name stated on CHSAA's "Selection Sunday."
Junior guard Taed Heydinger chipped in six points and freshman forward Ryan Phelps four. Hoselton pulled in a team-high seven rebounds, while senior reserve Matthew Knickerbocker-who scored just one point-came off the bench to snare five boards, equaling Hardy's count, and one Phelps matched the other Phelps' four.
ALSO REPRESENTING: From the IML, PSHS received the 16-seed and Alamosa the #7. The Mean Moose (16-5), the loop's regular-season and tournament champions, will host the first two rounds and welcome #10 Parachute Grand Valley, #23 Manitou Springs and #26 New Castle Coal Ridge to the San Luis Valley.
The Pirates (12-9), meanwhile, will first face 17-seed Denver Sheridan in Arvada at hosting #1 Faith Christian.
WHY THE MOVE? Rather than again use Colorado State University's Moby Arena in Fort Collins, CHSAA's Board of Directors chose to shift the Class 3A Boys' and Girls' state basketball tournaments southward to Golden in a push to boost attendance. The last two seasons' tournaments cost more than their patronage supported, according to the Association's Bert Borgmann.