The defending league champions, Holy Family, suffered a major blow in losing Chris Helbig to a football injury. While the Tigers will still be very competitive, teams like Windsor and Mead, already looking strong going in, have an even better chance of…
The defending league champions, Holy Family, suffered a major blow in losing Chris Helbig to a football injury. While the Tigers will still be very competitive, teams like Windsor and Mead, already looking strong going in, have an even better chance of winning the Tri-Valley.
Below is the predicted order of finish:
1. Windsor. Last season: 18-7 overall, 11-3 in league.
The Wizards have potential for a magical season after finishing as the league runner-up to Holy Family. They also reached the Sweet 16 of the Class 4A playoffs before bowing out to Longmont. Windsor has the perfect recipe for a run at the league crown with a natural point guard and creator in Noah Baldwin (10.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.6 spg last year), an instant offense guard in Colton McLean (9.4 ppg, 42 percent from three), and an aggressive forward in 6-foot-4 Michael Scheid (13.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg). Landon Schmidt (10.5 ppg) is one of the best pure athletes in the Tri-Valley. More than anything, Windsor is balanced and seasoned. They are slight, slight favorites over Mead and Holy Family, in our opinion.
2. Mead. Last season: 15-8 overall, 9-5 in league.
Mead has a super athlete in Walker Korell (14.6 ppg), our preseason player of the year. He’s known for being a dunk artist, but Korell is also an efficient scorer who buried 45 three-pointers and shot 43 percent from downtown as a junior. Guard Michael Ward can also make defenses pay with his shooting stroke. So can Michael Rice. James Maher (7.9 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.7 rpg) is a solid distributor. Mead could definitely win this league and, just like Windsor, might be a bubble top 10 team in 4A.
3. Holy Family. Last season: 20-5, 13-1 in league.
The Tigers are facing adversity. Chris Helbig, one of the favorites to earn 4A player of the year honors and a potential Division I or Division II recruit in football or basketball, tore his right ACL towards the end of the regular season on the gridiron. Without our No. 10 ranked prospect in the Class of 2016, a big 6-foot-3 point guard, Holy Family will be looking to replace some of Helbig’s production with a committee of Joe Golter (5 ppg as a sophomore), Andy Nelson (2.9 ppg as a junior), Kyle Helbig and others. Peter Villecco is a bright coach and his system is about discipline. They take excellent shots and play smart basketball. Holy Family should still be one of the top couple teams in the league.
4. Roosevelt. Last season: 10-13, 7-7 in league.
The Roughriders, potentially, could be too low at No. 4 as they do return their top six scorers. Jared Chick (12.6 ppg last season), Orlando Valles (11.2), Orlondo Rivera (10.4), Jay McCloughan (6.2), Deaunte Hunt (5.4), and Jacob Bejarano (5) are all back for coach Joe Brown, so this team could certainly seal a bid to the 32-team playoff bracket. For a squad that was very competitive, but a bit inconsistent at times a year ago, Roosevelt might be able to string hot streaks and finish very high in the Tri-Valley.
5. Erie. Last season: 13-11, 9-5 in league.
Kyle Leahy has moved on and with him goes 18 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.3 steals per game. He was a dominant guard who could keep the Tigers in any game. Five other seniors from a year ago, ones who played major minutes, have also graduated. First-year coach Scott Melin does have an old-school center, our No. 27 prospect in 2017, in 6-foot-8 Cameron McCurry. McCurry, who is still growing height-wise, has good inside touch and is an intelligent player. He averaged 10.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and two blocks per night as a sophomore. The Tigers are an unknown product beyond the big guy, but with him they are already off to a good start.
6. Skyline. Last season: 8-15 overall, 5-9 in league.
The Falcons are a bit of a mystery team. The program doesn’t have any stats on MaxPreps or The Denver Post, but Josh Angstead is a good three-sport athlete (football, basketball, track and field) who will be back. Matt Dietz is a 6-foot-4 and 215-pound football star that can also hoop. We’re mostly in wait-and-see mode with this group, but No. 6 seems like an appropriate pre-season ranking for Skyline.
7. Berthoud. Last season: 5-18 overall, 1-13 in league.
Leading scorer Nathan Hammel (15.7 ppg) has graduated, but McCallan Castles (10.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.9 blocks per game), a top 30 prospect in 2018 by PHC, is a 6-foot-4 guard with a great young body and pretty good skills. He could be a future Tri-Valley Player of the Year and more. 6-foot-5 senior forward Cody Braesch is a pretty thick, strong post who averaged 7.6 points and 5.7 rebounds, and Patrick Barron and Jamie Gray are solid. The Spartans, under first-year coach Mike Burkett, could definitely make progress this year.
8. Frederick. Last season: 2-21 overall, 1-13 in league.
Enoch Miller takes over after successful stints at Niwot (third place last year in Northern Conference) and Shining Mountain (59-12 record). Larry Frank stepped away from the program with a 74-66 record, but the Warriors struggled in his final season. Miller will have Chelton Lebon, a senior point guard who averaged 14.5 points last year, to work with. Beyond Lebon, Frederick will have a lot to prove, but will be a team of intrigue under new coach Miller.
Preseason All-League Teams
Preseason Player of the Year: Walker Korell
Walker Korell, 6-foot-3 senior guard, Mead
Noah Baldwin, 6-foot-1 senior guard, Windsor
Cameron McCurry, 6-foot-8 junior center, Erie
Michael Scheid, 6-foot-4 senior forward, Windsor
Jared Chick, 5-foot-10 senior guard, Roosevelt
Michael Ward, 6-foot junior guard, Mead
Joe Golter, 5-foot-10 junior guard, Holy Family
Colton McLean, 6-foot-3 senior guard, Windsor
Chelton Lebon, 6-foot senior guard, Frederick
Landon Schmidt, 5-foot-11 senior guard, Windsor