Published: February 23, 2014
In just two seasons, the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference has established itself as one of the most competitive leagues for boys' basketball.
On Sunday, that became quite evident when the Colorado High School Activities Association released its 48-team field for the 4A playoffs.
Not only did Cheyenne Mountain and Sand Creek secure No. 2 seeds and home sites for this weekend's second-round and round-of-16 games, but four other league teams earned postseason berths and home games when the first-round commences Wednesday.
"It speaks to the league's reputation around the state," Cheyenne Mountain athletic director Kris Roberts said. "I thought it was a really good seeding for the PPAC, especially getting two No. 2 seeds. I thought with us and Sand Creek beating each other, it might drop one of us to No. 3. It's sure nice not to travel."
Last year, Cheyenne Mountain upset host Pueblo East at the State Fair Events Center to advance to the 4A quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Meanwhile, Sand Creek clinched home-court advantage for the second year in a row, hoping to use that to again reach the quarterfinals.
In each 12-team region, the top four schools are awarded first-round byes, and the highest seed plays host to the second round and round of 16. Valor Christian (19-4) and D'Evelyn (18-5), who met in last year's 4A semifinal in Boulder, earned top seeds, as did Thompson Valley (22-1) and Pueblo South (21-2).
Meanwhile, the 5A Metro League didn't fare as well in the boys' bracket. Only league champion Doherty (16-7) earned a first-round bye and a second-round home game. The other five league teams - Rampart (17-6), Liberty (13-10), Fountain-Fort Carson (10-13), Pine Creek (8-15) and Palmer (6-17) - earned double-digit seeds and will hit the road as prohibitive underdogs for first-round matchups Wednesday.
In addition to Cheyenne Mountain (18-5) and Sand Creek (18-5), the other No. 2 seeds in 4A went to Pueblo East (18-5) and Denver South (15-8).
On Wednesday, 4A defending state champion Lewis-Palmer (13-11) plays host to Montrose, while Falcon (11-12) meets Pueblo West (9-13). The other two contests involving PPAC teams are throwbacks to the former 16-team Metro League when Coronado (9-14) travels to Air Academy (17-6) and Mitchell (12-11) plays at Palmer Ridge (12-10).
Sierra (10-13) and Canon City (9-14) will hit the road Wednesday, traveling to Steamboat Springs and Elizabeth, respectively.
Speaking of hitting the road, Mesa Ridge (13-9), which won its first Metro League title last week, earned a No. 4 seed and first-round bye, but will play Friday in Loveland at the Thompson Valley-hosted group of games.