Steamboat basketball teams prepare for district tournament

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Western Slope League district tournament

Thursday in Grand Junction

Boys bracket

No. 1 Durango (14-5) vs. No. 9 Battle Mountain (8-11), 7:30 p.m. at Colorado Mesa University

No. 2 Palisade (14-5) vs. No. 7 Montrose (7-12), 4:30 p.m. Colorado Mesa University

No. 3 Eagle Valley (14-5) vs. No. 11 Glenwood Springs (5-14), 7:30 p.m. Grand Junction Central High School

No. 4 Rifle (11-8) vs. No. 5 Steamboat (10-9), 4:30 p.m. Grand Junction Central High School

Girls bracket

No. 1 Montrose (15-4) vs. Palisade (8-11), 6 p.m. Colorado Mesa University

No. 2 Delta (16-3) vs. No. 7 Eagle Valley (12-8), 3 p.m. Colorado Mesa University

No. 3 Rifle (13-6) vs. No. 6 Steamboat (11-9), 6 p.m. Grand Junction Central High School

No. 4 Durango (11-8) vs. No. 5 Glenwood (12-6), 3 p.m. Grand Junction Central High School

— The Western Slope League brought back the district tournament for this exact reason.

As eight teams descend on Grand Junction for the three-day tournament, both brackets provide immense intrigue.

In the boys bracket, there isn't a clear-cut favorite.

Durango is the No. 1 seed, moving into the tournament from the Southwest League. It has wins against No. 2 Palisade and No. 7 Montrose, but for most of the league, Durango is a mystery.

To add to the intrigue, Delta, which was the No. 2 team in the WSL for most of the year, was beat in the pigtail game by Glenwood Springs.

Then there is Rifle, the No. 4 seed, which has won eight straight.

Steamboat is 4-7 against the bracket, but the average margin of those games was 43-38.

In the girls bracket, top seeds Montrose and Delta are clear favorites. Those teams cruised through the league portions of their schedules, but Rifle, Glenwood Springs, Durango, Eagle Valley and Steamboat should have a good chance at advancing.

The Sailors, for instance, are one of the hottest teams entering the tournament. Steamboat has won four of its past five with its only loss a seven-point defeat by Delta.

The top seven teams from each bracket advance to the state tournament.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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