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Demons put on their dancing shoes

DHS boys basketball makes return to playoffs for first time since 2007

Easton Garcia and the Demons will make their first postseason appearance since 2007 when Durango hosts Pueblo South on Tuesday. Enlarge photo

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald file photo

Easton Garcia and the Demons will make their first postseason appearance since 2007 when Durango hosts Pueblo South on Tuesday.

The five-year wait is over.

The Durango High School boys basketball team earned the No. 8 seed in the Bill Weimar Region of the Class 4A state basketball tournament on Sunday, marking the Demons’ first postseason berth since 2007.

DHS (12-11) will host No. 9 seed Pueblo South (10-13) on Tuesday at Durango High School. The winner of the first-round matchup will advance to meet the bracket’s top seed, Sierra (22-1), on Friday in Colorado Springs.

“I don’t want to say it’s easier, but it’s a lot better being at home than on the road, especially with us being in Durango,” DHS head coach Alan Batiste said.

Game time for Tuesday is tentatively set for 7 p.m., and more information about ticket prices will be available Monday.

The Colts are a member of the Class 4A South Central Conference, which landed six of its seven teams in the Class 4A bracket. In the SCC, Pueblo South managed a 5-7 mark, and much like Durango, were helped in terms of seeding by their strength of schedule, which includes wins over 4A playoff qualifiers Cañon City (twice), Air Academy, Pueblo County and a six-point loss to Sierra.

Durango, meanwhile, benefitted greatly thanks to a road victory over Class 3A state-ranked Pagosa Springs in January and near misses against postseason qualifier Montrose and Class 5A playoff participants Grand Junction and Fruita Monument, all of which boosted their schedule strength.

It was that strength that likely gave DHS the home game.

“I knew there was a good chance of us hosting, especially if we won Thursday night (against Montezuma-Cortez),” Batiste said. “But it was big to see our name and be able to host a game.”

As for the players, Batiste said he hadn’t yet talked to all of them about the selection but is eager to see their anticipation at practice on Monday.

“We’ll find out the environment of how excited they are (Monday) at practice,” he said.

Fellow Southwestern League member Montrose earned the No. 3 seed in the Bill Weimar Region and will have a bye as the Indians await the winner of No. 6 Elizabeth and No. 11 Skyline. Grand Junction is the No. 8 seed in the Class 5A John Casey Region and will host No. 9 Loveland in the opening round, while Fruita Monument earned a bye as the No. 3 seed in the Ray Ball Region and will meet the winner of Lincoln and Pomona.