Mmmm, that’s some spicy SCL basketball
As I write this, I’m drooling on my keyboard.
No, it’s not because it’s lunchtime nor because of early onset dementia (the jury may still be out on the latter), but simply thinking about the upcoming South Central League basketball schedule makes my mouth water.
Over the next two months, prep basketball ‘round these parts will be tasty.
Whether you prefer the fast boys game, the methodical girls game, or liken yourself a connoisseur of both, the best hoops in the state may well be played in Pueblo gyms every Tuesday and Friday night all winter long.
We can start with the obvious, being your friendly neighborhood defending state champion boys basketball team.
Despite the state’s ranking czars seeing it fit to drop the 2016 4A state champion Cyclones to second in the latest CHSAANow.com 4A boys basketball poll, a hard luck drop following an overtime loss to a seven-win, 5A Rampart team consisting of mostly giants, Pueblo West will be coloquially considered the top 4A team in the land until somebody proves otherwise.
The last 4A team to prove otherwise was none other than Pueblo South, currently ranked 10th in the state and a preseason favorite by many to win the whole dang thing this season.
Circle Jan. 24 (at South) and Feb. 10 (at P-Dub) on your calendar – and arrive at least 90 minutes early if you want a seat (seriously) – for the Colt/Cyclone battle royale.
And if that wasn’t enough, Pueblo East, at 7-4, is returning to the form that made it the 2014 state champion. Those Eagles will keep South and West honest.
But don’t sleep on SCL girls basketball.
Even with the defending boys state champ being from Pueblo, there’s an outside chance that the top three girls basketball teams in the state will end up being from Pueblo.
Look at the latest CHSAANow.com rankings for proof – Pueblo South is ranked number-one, East is number-two and Pueblo West is sixth. Combined, the three teams cruised through its preseason slate with a record of 26-2. The teams’ two combined losses could be forgiven – South’s L came against North Aleghenny, PA at Disney World in Orlando while the Cyclones’ only loss was a buzzer-beater to also-ranked Air Academy. East still doesn’t have a blemish.
The round-robin between the three teams will be must-see basketball.
Now, being a homer may be in my job description. However, it’s not outlandish to predict that two Pueblo teams will be in the 4A boys Final Four in March while three Pueblo teams could be in the 4A girls Final Four.
See, you just drooled too. Remember when you judged me so harshly earlier? It’s that home-cooked, spicy basketball – it does weird things to people.
Anthony Sandstrom can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter and Instagram @ASandstromView. On Wednesday nights at approximately 6:14 p.m., he always seems to be shopping at Safeway, too.