Most Viewed Stories
Girls' basketball season preview: Team-by-team capsules
1. Sand Creek
2. Mesa Ridge
3. Palmer Ridge
1. St. Mary’s
2. Manitou Springs
1. The Vanguard School
A team-by-team glance at the upcoming girls' basketball season:
Coach: Pat McKiernan (second season)
Last year: 23-3 (5A quarterfinals)
Key players: G Angela Vigil, sr.; C Aiesha Harris, sr.; F Cheyenne Sisneros, sr.; G Jordan Nelson, sr.
Outlook: Doherty expects to make another deep run in the playoffs after last year’s gut-wrenching loss to eventual state-champion Legacy in the quarterfinals. Vigil is a four-year starter and leads a senior-laden team. Harris, the team’s leading rebounder last year, is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury late last season.
Coach: Harry Knight (13th season, 145-158)
Last year: 5-18
Key players: F Brooklyne Harbert, sr; Sam Tate, sr.
Outlook: The Trojans return their two leading rebounders in Harbert and Tate, with 9 and 7.4 boards per game, respectively. Replacing the scoring provided by last year’s senior backcourt will be the challenge ahead for Fountain-Fort Carson, just three seasons removed from the 5A quarterfinals.
Coach: Annie Reed (fourth season, 10-56)
Last year: 5-18
Key players: Alex Rivas, sr.; Emily Jones, jr.; Kathryn Koch, sr.; Amanda Dix, sr.
Outlook: The Lancers continue to build, winning five games last season following an 0-21 year. With leadership of senior guard Alex Rivas (10.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and post play from Emily Jones (6.3 ppg), Liberty figures to continue its upward swing.
Coach: Dave Shackleford (17th season, 266-101)
Last year: 22-4 (5A quarterfinals)
Key players: P Shanah Leaf, sr., G Lensy Hardy, sr., P Jenn Urbaniak, so.; W Jasmine Green, sr.
Outlook: The Terrors return an experienced core from last season’s team and have plenty of depth to once again challenge the state’s best in 5A. Leaf (10.6 ppg) gives Palmer scoring in the blocks but also has developed her mid-range game, while Hardy (5.6 ppg), who also was among the team leaders in rebounds and steals, replaces Taylor Torres at point guard.
Coach: Kelley Stewart (11th season)
Last year: 9-15 (5A first round)
Key players: G Katy Martin, sr.; F Kaelyn Schultz, jr.; G Kayla Travis, so.
Outlook: Still mainly young but more experienced, the Eagles might not score much (just 38.5 ppg last season) but will be a hard defense to crack. Schultz (5.3 rpg) led the Eagles in rebounding last year.
Coach: Megan Leatham (third season, 20-27)
Last year: 10-14 (5A first round)
Key players: G Macy Myers, sr.; Lucia Archuleta, jr; Megan Kavalec, g/f, jr.
Outlook: Watch out for the Rams, who sport 1,000-point scorer Myers (19.5 ppg last year), along with juniors Archuleta and Kavalec. Falcon sophomore transfer Cassidy Budge adds another threat to this young but dangerous team.
4A METRO LEAGUE
Coach: Lavon Jackson (first season)
Last year: 7-15 (4A first round)
Key players: F Taryn Frazier, jr.; G Destiny Bays, jr.; G Cee Cee Coombes, soph.
Outlook: With no seniors and just three returning letter-winners, the Cougars plan on playing an all-around game and scoring by committee in hopes of another postseason berth.
Coach: Amy Larson (second season)
Last year: 3-19
Key players: G/F KayJay Fernandus, sr.; G Tierrany McBride, soph.; G Elena Martinez, soph.
Outlook: Fernandus was solid last year, scoring 7.9 points and grabbing 6.1 rebounds per game. A young but experienced backcourt is patrolled by sophomores McBride and Martinez, who averaged 7.2 and 6.8 ppg, respectively.
Coach: Jeff Beatty (second season)
Last year: 14-11 (4A second round)
Key players: G Ifti Dunne, sr.; G Gabby Purnell, jr.; P Sami Rudd, jr.; P Kylee Shook, fr.
Outlook: The Grizzlies figured to be good with three returning starters from last year’s playoff team, led by point guard Purnell, the top scorer (8.2 ppg), and 6-foot-1 post Rudd (8.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg). They’ll get even better with 6-4 freshman Shook, touted by area coaches and already being recruited by D1 schools.
Coach: Rick Rienks (first season)
Last year: 9-15 (4A first round)
Key players: G/F Monique Cuyler, sr.; G/F Linda Dabeet, sr.; C Erica Grove, soph.
Outlook: Graduation took the Marauders’ top five scorers, accounting for 95 percent of their offense. Cuyler will be counted on for senior leadership, but she’ll need plenty of help.
Coach: Joe Williams (first season)
Last year: 17-9 (4A round of 16)
Key players: G Selina Barnes, sr.; F Cydnie Watkins, sr.
Outlook: The pieces are in place for the Stallions to make another long 4A playoff run. Barnes averaged nearly 10 points in earning all-conference honors last year. Watkins is the team’s force in the paint. Addition support should come from senior wing Tracy Marks, junior post Rebecca Cross and junior guard TaLeeza Earls.
Coach: Jerry Austin (first season)
Last year: 0-4 (varsity season suspended)
Key players: G Zee Campos, sr.; P Joyce Pitts, soph.
Outlook: The T-Birds start over with veteran coach Austin, and his job is to revive and energize the basketball community at the school. He singled out Campos as one who has set the tone with her work ethic and leadership.
Coach: Jim Mason (17th season, 236-145)
Last year: 11-13 (4A first round)
Key players: P Angie Smith, sr.; G Kelsey Scurek, jr.
Outlook: The Gladiators have a foundation in the high-low combination in Flores (5.0 ppg) and Scurek (5.0 ppg). Widefield will need to develop depth to become a formidable threat in league play this season.
Coach: David Graf (sixth season, 10-72)
Last year: 5-18
Key players: F Hannah Erickson, sr.; G Elin Saxon, sr.; G Michelle Franke, sr.; W Angela Garrick, jr.; F Reanna Marcengill, sr.
Outlook: Erickson, who averaged 9.2 points and 8.2 rebounds last season, leads a Panthers team that struggled to score (28.4 ppg). Saxon chipped in with 6.1 points per game and provides stability in the backcourt and leadership as the two-year captain. A top-five finish in the Metro League would give the Panthers their first playoff berth in nine years.
4A PIKES PEAK ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Coach: Bob Wingett (third season, 48-8)
Last year: 26-2 (4A state champion)
Key players: F Justine Jenkinson, sr.; P Kassady Huffman, soph.
Outlook: Graduation hit the Kadets hard as the team’s eight-player rotation that fueled its state-title run all were seniors. Wingett will start the rebuilding process around Huffman, a 6-2 post, Jenkinson and a rotation that will include as many as five sophomores and a freshman.
Coach: Jennifer Fleming (first season)
Last year: 16-9 (4A second round)
Key players: G/F Anna Hortik, fr.; G/F Faatimah Dreher, sr.; G Teresa Lacayo, fr.
Outlook: Another squad hit hard by graduation, the Indians are new all over, sporting a new coach in Jennifer Fleming as well. Without the top seven scorers from last season, Cheyenne Mountain will turn to a pair of freshman in Hortik and Lacayo to go along with senior leadership from Dreher.
Coach: Danielle Rivera (fourth season, 30-54)
Last year: 11-14 (4A second round)
Key players: F/C Mariah McGettigan, sr.; F Alex Smith, soph.; C Jennifer Schneible, soph.
Outlook: The Thunder will turn heavily to McGettigan (7.4 ppg) as the graduation of six seniors has the team rebuilding around youth. Last season’s Discovery Canyon squad won its first-ever playoff game, upsetting Thomas Jefferson in the first round of the 4A playoffs before falling to Sand Creek.
Coach: Rick Susak (first season)
Last year: 14-11 (4A second round)
Key players: G Jessica Jordan, jr.; F Kelsey Hale, jr.; G/F Adrienne DeBauche, soph.; C/F Haley Bratton, sr.; G Amelia Nunn, sr.
Outlook: Graduation and a transfer took the Falcons’ top five scorers from a year ago. Jordan (5.2 ppg) leads a senior class of five but she's the only one with a large amount of varsity playing experience. Projected starter Courtney Deitrick is out for the season after suffering a knee injury earlier this year.
Coach: Joel Babbitt (third season, 10-37)
Last year: 5-19 (4A first round)
Key players: C Alexa Smith, so.; G Jade Pantle, sr.; G Kami Ahart; F Emma Weaver, jr.; G Courtney Fox, jr.
Outlook: With four seniors on varsity, Babbitt calls the upcoming season as “our turnaround year.” Multisport athlete Smith was a bright spot during an otherwise rough season, averaging 8.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. An improved backcourt game with Pantle and Ahart, both three-year varsity players, will give the Rangers another needed dimension.
Coach: Dennis Coates (third season, 32-12)
Last year: 21-4 (4A second round)
Key players: G/F Ali Meyer, jr.; G Rhyley Lane, jr.; F Michelle DeCoud, sr.; G Madison Thomas, sr.
Outlook: The Bears, off a breakout season, lost five seniors but do return key pieces from that team. The 6-1 Meyer (7.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg) shifts to forward from guard this season, and the Bears expect solid backcourt play from guards Lane and Thomas.
Coach: Jamie Carey (second season)
Last year: 19-7 (4A quarterfinals)
Key players: G Mikayla Reese, jr.; P Raven Daniels, sr.; P Bri Pratt, sr.; G J’nae Squires, jr.
Outlook: For the first time, the Scorpions surged into the round of 8. With three returning starters and several other impact players, there’s no reason to expect anything less. Reese, who already has verbally committed to Oklahoma State, averaged 13.6 points, 3.3 assists and 3.5 steals last season. She’s joined by returning starters Daniels (5.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Pratt (4.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg). Vista Ridge transfer J’nae Squires scored 6.7 points per game after sitting out the first half of the season. Her little sister, freshman Oliana, could make a difference at guard sooner rather than later.
Coach: Amelia Yates (first season)
Last year: 2-19
Key players: F Dani Garcia, jr.; G Felicia Jacquez, sr.; G Tierra White, sr.
Outlook: The Wolves return a solid nucleus during a rebuilding phase, led by Garcia (7.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg), Jacquez (4.7 ppg) and White (3.4 ppg).
4A SOUTH CENTRAL
Coach: Dan Heath (second season)
Last year: 12-12 (4A second round)
Key players: F Nicole Archambeau, soph.; P Lindsey Schwab, jr.; G Erica O’Rourke, jr.
Outlook: The Tigers can expect a solid season from Archambeau, who broke through as a freshman by averaging 11 points. Schwab and O’Rourke, both juniors, added to the youth movement by averaging 4.8 and 6.2 ppg, respectively.
3A TRI-PEAKS (EAST)
Coach: Robb Kelley (second season)
Last year: 8-12
Key players: F Hannah Elmore, jr; G Kateri Felix, jr.
Outlook: The Jaguars are thinking big, even after losing three senior starters and staring at stiff league competition. Elmore and Felix were honorable mention all-conference last season and are expected to improve. Freshman G Moriah Ceballes could make an impact right away.
Coach: Rob Burkett (14th season, 243-72)
Last year: 17-7 (3A round of 16)
Key players: G Gabi Florek, sr.; F Emily Whitelaw, sr.; G Nicole Niles, sr.; G Laure Broerman, sr.
Outlook: With experience, size, speed and athleticism, the Pirates are primed to snap their two-season hiatus from the 3A state tournament’s quarterfinals. The four seniors all are three-year starters, led by Florek, a first-team all-state selection who averaged 14.1 ppg last year, and Whitelaw, who averaged nearly three blocks.
(NOTE: No information provided for Ellicott. Non-area teams in league: La Junta, Trinidad, Pueblo Centennial, Dolores Huerta Prep and Lamar).
3A TRI-PEAKS (WEST)
Colorado Springs Christian School
Coach: Doug Ravasdy (second season)
Last year: 8-16
Key players: F Ryley Hoekert, jr.; C AnnaMarie Howard, sr.; G Annika Anderson, sr.
Outlook: The Lions, who three seasons ago played for the 3A state title, return their two top scorers and rebounders and have their sights on improvement. Hoekert (10.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Howard (10.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg) certainly gives CSCS a few weapons to reach that goal. Ravasdy raves about the improvements, especially on defense, made by Anderson.
Coach: Brandon Roe (fifth season)
Last year: 15-11 (3A quarterfinals)
Key players: G Kenzie Gordon, sr.; G Amanda Shade, sr.; G Carly Chaney, jr.; F Hayley Benker, jr.; G Megan Droll, jr.
Outlook: Only Gordon, the point guard, returns from last year’s squad that fell to eventual 3A state champion Faith Christian. Still, Roe has confidence that his experienced and athletic returners will step up and succeed in their new roles as impact players.
Fountain Valley School
Coach: Paula Walter (12th season, 99-129)
Last year: 7-13 (in 2A Black Forest League)
Key players: C Delia Brekken, jr.; G Clare Hamilton, soph.; G Bailey Knecht, sr.
Outlook: After 11 years in the 2A Black Forest League, the Danes move into 3A. They’ll depend on the rebounding of Brekken, a three-year starter, to go along with leadership and all-around skills of Hamilton and Knecht.
Coach: Roxanne Dale (first season)
Last year: 20-4 (3A round of 16)
Key players: F Ali Thompson, jr.; F Gabby Santos, jr.; G Meghan McGee, sr.; G Kristi Longfield, jr.
Outlook: Under a new coach, the Mustangs must find a way to replace the backcourt scoring provided last year by Amelia Schofield and Erika Yost en route to a berth in the round of 16. Seniors Ali Thompson (7.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Gabby Santos (6.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) give Manitou a strong foundation down low. Santos also has the versatility to play guard, along with returners McGee and Longfield.
The Classical Academy
Coach: Kasey Lucero (first season)
Last year: 10-11
Key players: G CheyAnn Queener, sr.; G Leah Hinckfoot, soph.; F/C Eloise Smith, sr.
Outlook: Lucero, who ran the Titans’ junior varsity squad last year, makes her varsity debut with nine returning letter-winners. Queener averaged 8.4 points, 4.0 steals and 3.2 rebounds and has earned a reputation as a tenacious defender. TCA also expects improvement from Smith (4.7 ppg last year) and Hinckfoot, who started and contributed as a freshman.
(Non-area teams in league: Buena Vista and Salida).
2A BLACK FOREST
Coach: Rosie Converse (first season)
Last year: 2-6
Key players: P/C Jael Rexroat, sr.
Outlook: Rexroat led the team on and off the court last year, averaging 19 points and 16 rebounds as well as earning a spot on the dean’s and honors lists.
Colorado Springs School
Coach: Randy Wilson (first season)
Last year: 10-12
Key players: C Kendra Baucom, jr.; F Jessica Eades, jr.; G Nataya Stepleton, soph.
Outlook: The Kodiaks have no seniors, but have plenty of experience with all three returners having started since their freshman seasons. Baucom averaged 10.4 points and 13.2 rebounds last season and will be relied upon to continue with those contributions this season.
Evangelical Christian Academy
Coach: Bruce Beers (12th season, 155-94)
Last year: 24-3 (2A third place)
Key players: G Abby Dorman, sr.; F Tori Mann, jr.; G Sammi Bost, sr.
Outlook: The Eagles are loaded again and should figure into the mix of elite 2A teams come March. Last year, ECA fell in the state semifinals before a painful loss in the state championship game. Dorman averaged 14.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 steals as a junior.
Coach: Tony Goodman (sixth season)
Last year: 16-8
Key players: G Shelby Patterson, jr.; G Victoria Goodman, soph.; F Aleah Heredia, jr.
Outlook: The Panthers hope their first regional victory in more than 30 years will continue to elevate the program. Patterson averaged 20 points during the second half of the season, while Goodman led the nation among freshman with 82 3-pointers. Heredia averaged nearly nine rebounds and gives Peyton toughness in the paint.
Pikes Peak Christian
Coach: Lisa Addington (first season)
Last year: 8-12 (in 1A Black Forest League)
Key players: G Sarah Buckhouse, sr.; C Iyanu Lipede, sr.; F Megan Kalina, sr.; G/F Heather Sterner, sr.
Outlook: It’s a brave new world for the Eagles, with a new coach in a new league after the move up to 2A. Last year, Lipede averaged 7.8 points and 9.6 rebounds, while Kalina added 4.8 points and 6.9 boards.
The Vanguard School
Coach: Frank Haist (ninth season)
Last year: 20-6 (2A quarterfinals)
Key players: G Bailey Haist, sr.; G/F Cassandra Sulski, sr.; G/F Caitlin Bower, jr.; F Angel McNulty; G/F Peri Rose Sykes, sr.
Outlook: All five starters return from last season’s squad that reached the 2A state tournament. Sulski and Sykes are three-year starters, while McNulty and Bower started for the past two, so the chemistry couldn’t be better. Haist is the floor general who can take the Coursers to the next level.
(NOTE: No information provided for Calhan and Miami-Yoder. Non-area teams in league: La Junta, Trinidad, Pueblo Centennial, Dolores Huerta Prep and Lamar).
2A/1A WEST CENTRAL
Coach: Michelle Eastman (first season)
Last year: 5-15
Key players: G/F Kate Tapia, jr.; G Samantha Skottegaard, sr.; G Darien Carrillo, sr.; C Olivia Ruiz, sr.
Outlook: Continuity won’t be a problem for a first-year coach with only three departing seniors. Tapia (8.4 ppg) is the team’s leading returning scorer
(Non-area team in league: Custer County).
1A BLACK FOREST
Colorado School for Deaf and Blind
Last year: 1-14
Coach: Michelle Wintering (first season)
Key players: None listed.
Outlook: Wintering looks forward to watching her young team grow and improving throughout the season. Seven of eight letter-winners return.
Last year: 6-15
Coach: Charles Saiz (third season)
Key players: G McKenzie Dalton, sr.; G Lexie Dalton, soph.; P Hannah Smith, jr.
Outlook: The Hornets should get better as the season progresses. Dalton missed most of last season with a knee injury, and Saiz considers her “the heart of the team.” Dalton was all-conference as a freshman, and Smith played solid defense in the blocks.
(NOTE: No information provided for Edison. Non-area teams in league: Elbert and Simla).