UPDATE: St. Mary’s captures its first state girls’ basketball title, defeating Colorado Springs Christian School

0 View Gallery  View Comments DENVER – St. Mary’s sophomore Josephine Howery was cool and calm at the line in the final minute, draining four consecutive free throws. Senior Makenna Bodette was all in on a preservation swat. The Pirates weren’t going to let their first state title in program history slip away Saturday. Bodette scored 15 points, Howery added 14, and St. Mary’s held on to beat Colorado Springs Christian School 44-38 in Class 3A finals at the University of Denver’s Hamilton Gymnasium. “I think the school has been around for something like 140 years and it’s cool that this is the first state title in hoops,” St. Mary’s coach Mike Burkett said. “This is a good group. They won it for their community and for their school.” Related: Lewis-Palmer has the recipe to return to 4A boys' basketball state championship in 2019 Raw emotion @SMHSColorado wins #3A state title over @CSCSLIONS 44-38 #copreps pic.twitter.com/mLo584gfbm — Hugh Johnson (@HughJohnson707) March 11, 2018 The Pirates’ standouts were clutch as they clung to a 40-38 lead in the last 51 seconds. Howery went 4 for 4 from the line and Bodette soared high to make a key block on 3A’s leading scorer, Megan Engesser. “We’ve been in a lot of close games this season, so we knew we had to finish,” said Bodette, the team’s senior captain. “It’s unreal. I’m just really excited.” As the clock expired, the team celebrated alongside their green-clad fans and jumped in joy all the way to the locker room. The two teams also gathered in a circle and shared in prayer. “A lot of emotions were in that prayer circle,” Howery said. “In that circle we’re all common, we’re all in the same faith. It was really incredible we were able to do that.” The Tri-Peaks rivals had met twice before the finals with both teams winning once. And just like Continue Reading

St. Mary’s captures its first state girls’ basketball title, defeating Colorado Springs Christian School

0 View Gallery  View Comments St. Mary's is having a first-of-its-kind party. St. Mary's beat Colorado Springs Christian School 44-38 in an all-Colorado Springs 3A finals Saturday at the University of Denver's Hamilton Gymnasium. The Pirates had never won a state title in girls' basketball, per the Colorado High School Activities Association. Clinging to a 40-38 lead in the final minute, Josephine Howery hit four free throws and Makenna Bodette had a key block on Megan Engesser to seal the Pirates' victory. Related: Lewis-Palmer falls to Longmont in 4A basketball state title game Raw emotion @SMHSColorado wins #3A state title over @CSCSLIONS 44-38 #copreps pic.twitter.com/mLo584gfbm — Hugh Johnson (@HughJohnson707) March 11, 2018 The Pirates led 21-14 at half, using a 15-5 run to finish the second quarter in command. The Lions scored five straight points to tie the game at 14-apiece before Josephine Howery and Mary Cummings hit 3s in the final two minutes as part of a momentum-swinging 7-0 spurt. Behind Engesser, the Lions roared back to take a 30-29 lead in the third. But the Pirates outscored them 12-8 in the fourth. Continue Reading

D-II Colorado Mesa becomes first in state to offer varsity women’s college wrestling

The Field House. College Sports coverage from The Denver Post’s Kyle Fredrickson. Girls in Colorado who grow up and aspire to earn college scholarships on the wrestling mat will now have an option to compete closer to home. Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction will offer Division II women’s wrestling starting this fall, the school announced recently, with its search for a head coach underway. The team will operate as part of the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association, a national governing body with eligibility rules similar to the NCAA. The WCWA currently supports 38 college programs spread out between D-II, D-III, NAIA and NJCAA. It also hosts a national tournament that draws more than 200 athletes, according to its website. CMU is the first member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and one of only about 15 programs in the western U.S. to join the WCWA. CMU will also make scholarships available for its new team with the size and total number dictated by the head coach, a school spokesman said. Girls wrestling is not currently sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association, but it does allow for girls to compete as part of boys’ teams and CHSAA offers several all-girl tournaments that are not considered varsity events. At Colorado State, the Rams have a women’s wrestling club team. The sport’s popularity among girls has skyrocketed over the last several years, according to the National Federation of State High School Association’s annual survey. In 2010-11, a total of 7,351 girls participated in high school wrestling. In 2016-17, that number rose to 14,587 as part of an upward trend that dates back more than two decades. “We are and will become an even more sought-after wrestling program by diversifying our program and offering a female team that provides access and opportunities to young women that few other colleges do,” CMU men’s wrestling coach Chuck Pipher said Continue Reading

Pospisil: New Class A high school football schedules should limit blowouts

Remember these numbers? In the 2016 and 2017 seasons, almost three-fourths of Class A football games were won by 17 points or more. More than a third ended under running-clock timing because the winning team maintained a 35-point lead. In the 2018 and 2019 schedules released Tuesday, the issue appears addressed. And it says here the Nebraska School Activities Association staff, led by Nate Neuhaus, has done its biennial job well. A reason to hope for closer games is schools in Class A, which expands from four districts to six, are getting two more non-district games — four overall — to open the season. Two more opponents on their level. In weeks 3 and 4, the power schools face each other. The struggling teams aren’t going to absorb as many poundings that can wipe out any hope of district success. “I love it,’’ said Millard West coach Kirk Peterson, whose first four games are Millard North, Omaha Burke, Omaha North and Millard South. “If that doesn’t get the kids’ attention, nothing will. I always like being challenged before districts. You see what the weaknesses are and what you do well.” Class A’s district assignments, based on the schools’ combined point standings in 2016 and 2017, have their quirks. Millard West and Omaha Benson play outside the Metro Conference the final four games. Columbus has Metro opponents the last five weeks. Peterson said his schedule does a little of everything for preparing for the postseason — the two games against the Millard rivals, the defending state champion (Omaha North) and a possible preseason No. 1 (Burke) — his determination, not mine yet — and some travel in October. Omaha North opens with Omaha Creighton Prep, which is likely to be a Thursday night TV game, then has Millard West and Burke in weeks 3 and 4. Bellevue West pops up as a non-district opponent in week 8. “We will need to be ready to Continue Reading

One of the biggest blowouts ever? Colorado Springs basketball team shut out 73-0

0 View Gallery  View Comments The James Irwin girls' basketball team suffered one of the most lopsided losses in Colorado history Friday night. And the Jaguars coach, Anthony Byrd, is completely fine with that. He's not embarrassed, upset or sad about what happened. Final score: Lamar 73, James Irwin 0. No, that's not a typo. Though quarter-by-quarter scores weren't immediately available, Byrd said defending Class 3A state champion Lamar averaged about 20 points per quarter. And he claimed that when the Savages were well ahead in the Class 3A Tri-Peaks League game at the James Irwin gym, he told opposing coach Erik Melgoza, "Don't take it easy on me." Related: Friday's prep roundup: Doherty in hunt for team title after first day of Class 5A Region 3 wrestling tournament "I'd rather have you beat me down than have mercy on me," Byrd said. "You can't punish the girls or guys who do work on their game. You teach the game, you teach it one way. You teach them to have class. You teach them to play until the buzzer goes off. You can't say, 'Play until you have 30 and relax.' No. you play one way and that's play hard." The final score should come with an asterisk, however. The Jaguars were without point guard Krystina Hagood, who averages nearly 20 points. The sophomore missed the game to attend to a prior obligation. Hagood's absence exposed a harsh truth: The rest of the Jaguars (3-13, 2-8 TPL) rely heavily on one player to carry the offense. "We don't really have a lot of girls with the skill development to create and get their own shots," Byrd said. "I knew it was going to be difficult for us to score." David Ramsey: Here's how to prevent another blowout The loss brings back memories of Sierra's 101-7 win over Mitchell on Jan. 11. The Colorado High School Activities Association no longer keeps record of the widest margin of victory, saying, "This category has been suspended in the spirit of the game and good sportsmanship." Still, Byrd Continue Reading

Top 5 high school events of the weekend around Colorado Springs

0 View Comments THURSDAY Liberty at Doherty boys' basketball, 7 p.m. Doherty leads the way in the 5A Colorado Springs Metro league with a 6-0 league record and a 13-3 overall record. The Spartans are ranked ninth in the Colorado High School Activities Association top 10 for Class 5A boys' basketball. Behind them are in-town rivals Rampart and Liberty, who both sit at 4-2 in league. The Spartans host the Lancers, who have won three straight, Thursday. Doherty is led by senior Kyrele Benford who averages 13.8 points and by junior Alijah Bates, averaging 12 ppg. The Lancers are led by senior forward Moz Doria (16.9), junior guard Sean Bohuslavsky (15.1) and senior guard Kyle Bohuslavsky (10.7). FRIDAY Vista Ridge at Falcon boys' basketball, 7 p.m. Last time these two teams met in a 5A/4A Pikes Peak clash they needed extra time to decide a winner. Vista Ridge reigned victorious in a 59-49 overtime win at the beginning of January. Since then the Wolves have gone 3-3, but are climbing the ranks in Class 5A as a top-25 team. Falcon on the other hand has won six straight, including a one-point win over Discovery Canyon on Wednesday. Falcon has four scorers who average double figures, led by Reece Warren with 18.5. Brendan LaRose (15.7), Noah Martinez (13.4) and Swing Jersey (11.2) also average double figures. Vista Ridge is led by Tristan Pratt with 13.4 points per game, followed by Micah Hilts and Raymond Harper with 11.9 and 11.3 points per game respectively. Air Academy at Discovery Canyon girls' basketball, 6 p.m. If the Kadets take care of Cheyenne Mountain on Thursday, Air Academy will travel to Discovery Canyon Friday in search of a 13th straight victory and a dominating 16-1 record. Heading into Thursday, the Kadets are undefeated in Pikes Peak League play with a 6-0 record but every game counts as Lewis-Palmer is right on Air Academy's heels with a 5-1 league record, 11-4 overall. CHSAA ranks Air Academy as the fifth-best team in 4A girls' basketball. Continue Reading

Iowa high school football: Playoffs to stay at 16 teams, use RPI system; board allows interstate games

Iowa high school football fans should expect plenty of changes beginning in the 2018 season.The Iowa High School Athletic Association's Board of Control approved, among other things, changes to the sport's postseason qualifying system and a new district format on Wednesday at its monthly meeting in Boone.The Board of Control voted to keep 16 playoff qualifiers for each class, a format that's been around since 2016. The Iowa Football Coaches Association and playoff advisory committee recommended the playoffs expand back to 32 teams for Class 3A, 2A, 1A, A and 8-Player, and expand to 24 teams for Class 4A. All classes had 32 playoff teams from 2008-15.“Player safety is the number one priority,” IHSAA executive director Alan Beste said in a release, “and we are also committed to playing early round postseason games on Friday nights. Keeping 16 qualifiers per class allows for maximum recovery time between games and maintains high school’s Friday night tradition.”The Board of Control also approved new football district formats, a decision that came after the Board announced classifications back in October. For the 2018 and 2019 football seasons, Class 4A will have seven districts with six teams per district (42 teams); 3A, 2A and 1A will have nine districts with six teams per district (54); Class A will have eight districts with six teams per district and two districts with seven teams (62); and 8-Player will have seven districts with eight teams per district and an eighth district with eight teams.Classification and district assignments will be finalized and released on Thursday, Jan. 25, according to the association's release. As for how teams will qualify for the postseason, district champions and teams that tied for district titles will earn automatic playoff bids. All nine games will count toward the postseason for the first time since the beginning of district football, and the 17-point Continue Reading

David Ramsey: How can we stop the scourge of high school basketball mega-routs?

0 View Comments No one has devised a statistical meter for sportsmanship. We need one. A statistic for sportsmanship could eradicate our scourge of high school basketball slaughters. “Check this out!” a player could say to friends and family, “We’re so classy! So merciful! We might even win a state title in sportsmanship!” Hey, we’re part of the problem. The Gazette celebrates statistics. The bigger, the better. If a player scores her/his 1,000th point, we clap really loud. All involved in the game – including college coaches holding those precious scholarships – watch those point totals. Those numbers matter far too much to point-hungry players, coaches and moms and dads. (Especially the moms and dads.) Ramsey: Here's how to prevent another Sierra 101, Mitchell 7 game And what better time to pad those numbers than a blowout win? Easy baskets, and a chance to push that scoring average from 9.6 to an even 10. No scoring star collects points sitting on the bench. Routs are brutal for the losers. That’s easy to see. But the routs fail to nourish the winners, too. It’s bad, and it’s bad. Always the worst combo. When Colorado Springs Christian girls basketball coach Mark Engesser examines the season for his 3A Lions, he first talks about battles with 4A Pueblo West and 5A Fruita Monument. His Lions lost both games. But the defeats to those powers exposed weakness and prepared his Lions for the terrors of the upcoming state tournament. Engesser doesn’t want to talk – or think – about his 66-8 victory over Rye. “I don’t even like those games,” Engesser said. “Unfortunately, you have to play your conference opponents. Rye, I’ll give them credit. They played hard, played all the way to the end. “If I had a choice, I wouldn’t even play that game, I don’t like those games. It might help them a little bit to play a good team, but it Continue Reading

Kansas high school football star Luke Schemm collapses after scoring touchdown, dies

A 17-year-old high school football star who collapsed after scoring a touchdown in a state playoff game has died, his family said Wednesday. Luke Schemm got the touchdown and the extra point Tuesday night for Wallace County High School in the Western Kansas town of Sharon Springs before he ran off the field and collapsed, his father, David Schemm, said at a news conference outside a Colorado hospital. Schemm became the latest high school football player to die this season after doctors at Swedish Medical Center in the Denver suburbs gave his family and friends time to pay their final respects. Mourners at a church vigil heard he had died Wednesday night, KWCH-TV reported. “Luke is currently on life support, but he has no brain function,” his dad had said through tears earlier in the day. “We have come to terms that Luke, our beautiful gift from God, is no longer with us.” Luke Schemm, 17, died Wednesday after being declared brain dead in a collapse after scoring a touchdown in a Kansas high school football state playoff game the night before, his family said. ILLINOIS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYER DIES AFTER KICK RETURN INJURY It wasn’t immediately clear what caused him to collapse Tuesday in the Eight-Man Division II playoffs. A video from the game on KWCH shows him running into the end zone with the ball after bouncing off would-be tacklers. “The team was gathered on the sidelines getting ready to go for the kick. Before they even left the sideline, he just collapsed,” said Brian McVay, superintendent and principal of Wallace County schools. “But as far as why, I haven’t had time to track that down.” The referees didn’t see him take any head or neck contact during the game, said Gary Musselman, executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association. After he fell, Schemm had to be rushed to a local hospital Continue Reading

Colorado girls basketball referee convicted of groping players DURING games

A bold pervert was convicted of groping Colorado high school girls in the middle of basketball games he refereed. Stephen Amador, 52, was caught red handed grabbing at least six girls’ butts and breasts as they played games in front of family members, friends and school administrators in Jefferson County. He was convicted of nine counts of unlawful sexual contact, which happened during three games in early 2013, 7NEWS reports. The veteran ref’s audacious conduct was noted by the female student-athletes, who talked about the “creepy” rule keeper. "Five victims who testified. They did a fantastic job," Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Pam Russell told the TV station. "Most of these girls have gone on to college and moved on." Players in Lakewood noticed Amador was getting handsy during a game last January, but initially brushed it off as accidental contact. But the emboldened Amador took it to another level. As he handed one girl a ball to inbound, the deviant “brushed the underside of her breasts,” KCNC-TV reported. Another girl said she was standing in the backcourt as free throws were shot when she felt the degenerate “grab my right butt cheek” and squeeze it. "Oh my God, did that just happen?" the girl told detectives of her shocked reaction. He’ll be sentenced on Feb. 28 and faces a maximum of two years for each of the nine counts. Amador, a grandfather himself, had refereed games for at least 15 years, overseeing grade school kids to college level games. And the sicko shouldn’t have been anywhere near the girls. Records revealed Amador had been cuffed for a felony sexual assault charge in Denver in 1991. He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, 7NEWS reports. That same year, he was found guilty of harassment in Douglas County. The revelations caused the Colorado High School Activities Association to change its policies for referees. "If Continue Reading