Class 5A girls basketball midseason report: Grandview is title favorite, but trio of other teams can challenge

Midway through the Class 5A girls basketball season, the path to the title runs through mighty Grandview.

The Wolves, ranked No. 1 in the CHSAANow poll and No. 14 nationally by espnW, are headlined by 6-foot-7 junior center Lauren Betts, the top-ranked player in the nation for the Class of 2022 who’s averaging a double-double with 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds. Surrounding her on stacked Grandview, which has made three straight title game trips, are double-digit scorers in 6-foot-4 senior Addison O’Grady (Iowa commit) and dynamic junior Marya Hudgins.

But despite the existence of a top team in a top-heavy classification, the inevitability of a clear favorite winning the crown in Colorado high school hoops always comes with a but, as a handful of teams have the potential to put the Wolves’ supremacy to the test.

“Grandview is the heavy favorite, but Valor, Regis, us, and possibly Ralston could challenge them,” Highlands Ranch coach Caryn Jarocki said. “(To stop Grandview) you would really have to D them up, and get on the boards, keep Betts off the boards, and really force them to run the floor and do some things they’re not comfortable doing. But it’s hard to defend a 6-7 player.”

Valor Christian, Regis Jesuit and Highlands Ranch are best equipped to match Grandview’s firepower, and those teams are ranked No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in the most recent CHSAANow poll. Here’s a look at their chances in what’s shaping up to be a Grandview-against-the-field tournament. All stats are as of Thursday.

Valor Christian
Kindyll Wetta of Valor Christian poses for a portrait on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

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The Eagles, who won consecutive Class 4A championships in 2015 and 2016 and have been a perennial title contender under seventh-year coach Jessika Caldwell, are in their third season in Class 5A. The prior two ended at the hands of Grandview, in the Great 8 in 2019 and the Final 4 last year.

But if anyone has the pure talent to match up with Grandview, it’s Valor Christian. Even though the Eagles are playing the season without junior power forward and Oregon State pledge Raegan Beers, who is rehabbing from an ACL injury, Caldwell’s crew has depth and a star point guard in Kindyll Wetta.

Wetta, who earned all-state honors last year after missing her freshman and sophomore campaigns to successive ACL tears, ranks first in the classification with 8.7 assists per game and also paces the Eagles in rebounding at 6.4. The CU commit could be scoring a lot more, but understands her team is at its best when she’s dispensing to the weapons around her.

“She’s done a great job of understanding we have a lot of scoring options on our team and of getting other people involved,” Caldwell said. “She’s obviously a great scorer but she has a really strong knack for finding the little crevices and finding that next pass.”

Jenna Siebert, a Mines commit, complements Wetta as the Eagles’ other primary ballhandler. She’s shooting 45% from 3-point land this …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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