By Dale StrodeHerald Sports WriterThey're Thunderbolts.
They've won 16 games.
They're from the Tri-Peaks East League.
And they're mysterious.
Scouting information on the Rye Thunderbolts was hard to come by this week. But that's just fine with Bayfield High School girls basketball coach Stephanie Dennison.
"We want to really focus on our game and the fundamentals of our game," Dennison said as the Wolverines prepared to host a Class 3A Regional tournament today and Saturday at Bayfield High School.
The BHS girls won the right to host by winning the Intermountain League District Tournament last weekend in Monte Vista, the first district title for a Bayfield girls team as a Class 3A school.
"Our girls are very excited about hosting ... a little nervous, but excited," Dennison said.
The BHS girls (16-4) host the Rye girls (16-5) at 7 p.m. today in the second game of the regionals.
Olathe (16-6) will play Estes Park (16-6) in the other game at 5 p.m. today at the BHS gym.
The winners will play at 1 p.m. for the regional title and a chance to play in the Great 8, the State Tournament, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins on March 12-14.
"Our practices have been going well," Dennison said. "We worked on situations ... press breakers and our press. We worked on setting good screens and playing hard defense. Now we're ready to go out and play the game."
She said the Tri-Peaks East instituted a gag order for its teams entering the playoffs, limiting the exchange of information and game tapes.
But in many ways, Dennison said, that lack of information will help the Wolverines as they polished their game before tonight's regional opener.
For the record, Rye finished second in the Tri-Peaks East during the regular season, behind St. Mary's of Colorado Springs (19-3). Rye finished seventh in its district tournament last weekend.
The Thunderbolts' losses this year came to St. Mary's (twice), Classical Academy (twice) and Lamar. All three are in the Class 3A playoffs. Classical and Lamar both are 17-6.
Rye's top players include Sarah Pigg and Kate Lesser, who led the team in scoring at the district tournament.
The team also features 6-foot senior Nicole Horton, along with veterans Lauren Lauritzen, Laney Burns and Brittany Padilla.
The Wolverines will counter with their familiar roster led by seniors Lindsey Shaw, Jordan Sirios, Amanda Broad, Mandy Sutton, Jacy Miller and Lindsey Lind.
Junior Myra Dean, sophomore Jacey Sirios and freshman Candace Shaw round out the BHS varsity.
Lindsey Shaw scored 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the championship game of the IML tournament against Monte Vista last weekend. Dean added 12 points.
Other Class 3A girls teams selected to host regionals this weekend are Jefferson Academy of Broomfield (18-4), Gunnison (17-5), Holy Family (21-1), Buena Vista (21-1), Eaton (20-2), Brush (16-6) and St. Mary's (19-3).
Bayfield High School boys basketballThe Bayfield boys are going to Aspen. But it's not a ski vacation.
Rather, the BHS boys are headed to Aspen on a basketball mission - a regional mission.
The Wolverines (7-13), who played their way into the 3A regionals with a big win over Monte Vista last Friday night in the IML tournament, will play at Aspen (21-1) at 7 p.m. today.
The Aspen-Bayfield winner will take on the winner of Platte Valley (16-7) vs. Buena Vista (13-10) in the regional championship at 1 p.m. Saturday in Aspen High School's new gymnasium/fieldhouse.
The Skiers, coached by veteran Steve Ketchum, won their district title for the second consecutive year.
Last year, the Aspen boys reached the state semifinals featuring a team that included Class 3A player of the year Cory Parker (now at Drake University).
In what was projected as a preseason rebuilding job, the Skiers won their league and tournament titles this year and compiled the best record in school history.
They avenged their only loss of the season with a 30-point victory over Coal Ridge (New Castle/Silt) in the tournament finals last weekend.
Andrew Papenfus led the Skiers with 19 points in the tournament championship game, including three 3-pointers. Three other Skiers scored in double figures in the title game: Trevor Watson (16), Matthew Holmes (15) and Walker Abrahamovich (14).
Ketchum is in his 11th season as the head coach at Aspen High School, where he's twice taken the Skiers into the state semifinals. He's had one state runner-up finish in Colorado. He won multiple state titles in Missouri before working with a German basketball club program for several years.
The BHS boys earned their regional berth with the 78-64 win at Monte Vista, led by five players in double figures - Jesse McCoy (16), Jared Qualls (13), Zach Adams (13), Logan Funkhouser (11) and Dakota Decker (11).
Other 3A boys teams selected to host regionals are Eaton (18-4), Peyton (19-2), Jefferson Academy of Broomfield (21-1), Kent Denver (18-4), Pagosa Springs (13-10), Coal Ridge (New Castle/Silt, 19-3) and Salida (19-4).
Pagosa Springs earned the host designation after winning the IML regular season and winning the IML tournament last weekend. The Pirates beat Bayfield 73-49 in Saturday night's tournament championship.
Pagosa Springs will play St. Mary's of Colorado Springs (13-10) at 7 p.m. today. Erie (14-9) will play Dolores Huerta of Pueblo (15-7) in the other regional first-round game in Pagosa Springs.
The winners will play at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The regional winners move on to the State Tournament at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.