Log In

Reset Password
Sports Youth Sports Professional Sports More Sports College Sports High School Sports

Durango coaches react to playoff seedings and matchups

Demons hockey, girls and boys basketball all made it to state playoffs
Noah Miles of Durango High School puts up a shot on Feb. 10, 2024, while playing Grand Junction at DHS. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Durango High School will be well-represented in the state playoffs this winter. The boys basketball, girls basketball and ice hockey teams all made it into their state playoffs.

The ice hockey squad got the best seed out of the three teams. The Demons finished the season on a four-game winning streak with the last win against Crested Butte which came by forfeit because Crested Butte had numerous players out with sickness.

Durango finished the season 11-6 and won nine of its last 10 games. The strong finish to the season helped the Demons earn a No. 4 seed in the 4A state playoffs and a home game.

“It's wonderful to have a home playoff game,” Durango hockey head coach Brian Ensign said. “It's good for hockey and the community and I'm really looking forward to it.”

The Demons will host No. 5 seed Cheyenne Mountain next Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. at Chapman Hill Ice Rink.

Ensign said Durango played Cheyenne Mountain in a scrimmage before the regular season and beat them by one. Ensign also pointed out that the Demons lost to Cheyenne Mountain last season 5-0 and Cheyenne Mountain went on to win the state championship.

“They have good depth, and they're well coached,” Ensign said about Cheyenne Mountain. “They play a nice structure defensively. I think we probably have the lowest goals against in the league right now. They're right close to us with the second least in the league. They are defensive, have good goaltending a good defensive style and a lot of depth. I think they’re very similar to us in a lot of respects.”

The Demons aren’t focused on the state final on March 5, they’re focusing on getting better in practice and playing with confidence, according to Ensign.

“As the year goes by, you add things as a coach,” Ensign said. “You might add some faceoff set plays you might add more systems to your power play. So the special teams components, but all year long, we're focused on puck possession, trying to take time and space, a lot of high-energy play. We’re trying to take time and space away from the other team and when we get it, it's about possession and creating different offensive zone entries and things like that.”

The Durango boys basketball team got the better seed compared to the girls squad. The boys finished 11-11 on the year and won three of their last four games. The Demons got the No. 21 seed and will face the No. 12 seed Dakota Ridge on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Dakota Ridge.

Durango boys basketball head coach Alan Batiste said he expects Dakota Ridge to try and get out in transition similar to how Fruita Monument plays. Therefore, Batiste said he’s happy his squad played Fruita in the last game of the regular season to help them prepare for Dakota Ridge. Batiste also said his team is going to try and slow down the pace of the game as the Eagles can score 70 or more points.

Dakota Ridge, located in Littleton, is 16-7 overall and 10-0 in the first 5A/4A Jeffco League. The Eagles average 67.1 points per game and are led by junior Ethan Beringer who averages 23 ppg and 5.2 rebounds per game.

The Durango girls basketball team is the No. 24 seed and is on the road at No. 9 Vista PEAK Prep on Tuesday night. The Demons have played better since they have gotten most of their roster healthy after an injury-riddled season but they have still lost six of their past eight games.

Vista PEAK Prep, located in Aurora, is 17-6 overall and 7-0 in the 5A/4A Denver Prep League. The Bison average 54.8 ppg and have four players that average at least 7.8 ppg.

“They are very athletic,” Durango girls basketball head coach Lauren Moran said about Vista PEAK Prep. ““They like to push the ball up the court on offense, they're pretty big, long and lengthy. I think they'll be tough, but I think that if we execute, play our game, and play to the best of our ability I definitely think we can be successful.”

Moran realizes that players other than junior guard Mariah Maestas need to step up and make shots if the Demons are going to be successful.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity and the girls are too, it's been really nice to see their confidence and their excitement,” Moran said. “The people that have been on varsity in the past, they've had success in the playoffs. Not just last year, but in previous years they've gone on the road and upset teams that were higher ranked. We all feel like that's something that we have the ability to do again.”