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Durango girls basketball to host CHSAA Class 4A second-round playoff game after earning bye

Durango boys basketball prepares for Sand Creek in first round
The Durango High School girls basketball team earned the No. 14 seed in the CHSAA Class 4A state basketball tournament, and will host a second-round game Friday at DHS against either Skyview or Coronado.

For the second consecutive season, the Durango High School girls basketball team will host a Class 4A playoff game. But this time, the Demons did enough to earn a first-round bye.

The Colorado High School Activities Association’s Class 4A boys and girls basketball state tournament brackets were released Sunday, and both Durango boys and girls teams got in.

The Durango girls team (14-9, 5-3 5A/4A Southwestern League) will host No. 19 Skyview on Friday with the time to be determined. Skyview (20-4, 7-0 4A/3A Colorado 8 League) hosted No. 46 Coronado (7-16, 6-6 5A/4A Colorado Springs Metro League) on Tuesday and was able to escape with a 39-36 victory.

The No. 14 Demons won seven out of their final 10 games, finishing third in the SWL. As a result of the strong finish, DHS earned a top-16 seed, which gave the team a first-round bye. Last season, Durango was upset as the No. 28 seed, losing 38-30 in the first round at home to No. 38 Falcon.

Durango is led in scoring by freshman Mason Rowland, who averages 7.7 points per game. Senior Emma Fitzgerald is second with 5.9, and junior guard Maddy McManus is third with 5.4 per game. The Demons’ defense has been one of the season’s hallmarks. They give up just 34.7 points per game.

If Durango wins, it will be the first time the Demons reached the Sweet 16 since 2017.

Durango High School head coach Tim Fitzpatrick was unable to be reached for comment.

Durango boys basketball

The Durango High School boys basketball team will hit the road for the second consecutive season, as the Demons earned the No. 42 seed when the 4A bracket was released on Sunday. Durango will travel to Colorado Springs to take on No. 23 Sand Creek in the first round at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Sand Creek High School

The Scorpions (15-8, 9-5 5A/4A Pikes Peak League) are an up-tempo team, and if the Demons can pull off another playoff upset, it will require a significant effort to slow the Scorpions.

Durango is looking to reach the second round for the second consecutive season. Last year, the Demons were the second-to-last team to sneak into the playoffs. They pulled off a first-round upset when they beat No. 18 Skyline 54-48 in Longmont. They lost to No. 15 Pueblo Central 51-32.

“No matter who we were gonna see, it’s great to get back to the playoffs,” said Durango head coach Alan Batiste. “I thought it might be either Steamboat Springs or Sand Creek, but with some late results on Saturday, we got bumped up two spots. Sand Creek is a good team, and they play in a tough league.

“They’re going to want to push the basketball and want to play fast. They’ve got a quick tempo to their game. We’re just going to try and play our opponent the opposite of what they’re used to. It’s something new that I’m trying. If they want to run, we’re not going to run, and if they want to slow it down, we’re going to push the pace. We’re gonna gameplan game by game, and I think we can surprise some people.”

The Scorpions average 60 points per game, while Durango (10-13, 1-7 5A/4A Southwestern League) averages 48 per game. The Scorpions are led by Markus Ramirez, who averages 14.1 points per game. Freshman Colin Hawkins averages 8.0, and junior Konner Morgan is just behind Hawkins at 7.8 per game.

Durango High School’s Jordan Woolverton leads the Demons in scoring with 12.0 points per game. He will look to lead the Demons to an upset over the No. 23 seed Sand Creek in the CHSAA Class 4A state basketball tournament first round on Wednesday in Colorado Springs.

Durango is led by junior Jordan Woolverton at 12.0 points per game, and he leads the team in rebounding at 4.5 per game. Sophomore guard Anthony Flint can create problems if his shooting is on, as he averages 11.2 points per game. Senior Martin Cuntz has been a steady post presence for DHS and averages 9.8 per game.

With seniors on this year’s team, Batiste said it will be a big opportunity for younger players to get invaluable experience playing in the state tournament.

“These opportunities only come once in a lifetime,” Batiste said. “I know it’s only the state basketball tournament, but we always try and teach them life lessons through the sport. I’m telling my team that you can take advantage of the opportunity and embrace the moment. Play as hard as you can because we’re a small town, and we don’t really have that tradition of winning state tournaments. So when you get the opportunity to play against those bigger teams, you make the moment. That’s what happened last year, and I feel like we’ve got another good opportunity. Throw out the records and let’s see how we handle Wednesday’s game.”

bploen@ durangoherald.com

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