Playoff Push

Mustang basketball squads looking forward to playoff brackets being announced this weekend

Senior Trey Conrad steps to the free throw line during an RV game earlier this season against third-ranked Chatfield.

photo by Sage Heffley

Senior Trey Conrad steps to the free throw line during an RV game earlier this season against third-ranked Chatfield.

Ethan Jordan, Multi Media Editor

For the second consecutive year, the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from Ralston Valley find themselves in the playoffs.

The girls team, which has been a consistent top 10 team the past few years, continued its dominance this year, posting an average 42-point differential and suffering only one loss to top-ranked Grandview in the season opener.

The girls went deep into the playoffs last year, making it to the final four before falling to a strong Highlands Ranch team.

All indications are that the team is even better this year. For one thing, the team is now older and more experienced, with four seniors on the team, four seniors who know what it’s like to play in a Final Four.

“Having the experience in the final four is going to be really helpful for us,” said senior Chloe Gillach, who poured in 20 points in the Mustangs 77-29 victory over Arvada West on Thursday night. “Last year, we were just really nervous going in and having that experience is going to help us be less nervous and more focused this year.”

The one big worry for the Mustangs is that they have not faced a lot of competition, outside of Lakewood, in winning the Jefferson County League Championship. A much higher level of competition awaits in the playoffs.

However, under the watchful eye of Coach Jeff Gomer this is not the case.

“(Coach) Gomer makes sure we do the little things right, and yells at us if we don’t,” said Gillach.

So, with experience and fantastic coaching, the Mustangs will look to make the push to their ultimate goal – winning a state championship.

Playoff seedings will be announced this weekend, and the Mustangs currently sit at only No. 5 in the RPI rankings, despite having won 22 games in a row.

While the boys’ basketball team has not seen quite the same success as the girls in recent years, it is a team that is on the rise.

After not making the playoffs two years ago, the boys were able to sneak into the playoffs last season with a 9-15 record before falling in the first round to Palmer.

This year, the Mustangs head into the playoffs with a much more solid footing, finishing the regular season at 13-10, their first winning record since the 2013-2014 season.

The boys will more than likely start their playoff journey at home. Head coach Mitch Conrad is optimistic going into the playoffs.

“We have won six of our last eight games so we are playing our best team basketball of the season,” Conrad said. “If we play like I know we can, we will pull some upsets in the state tournament.”

The key for the Mustangs will be to stay consistent game to game.

RV has been a bit streaky this season, one night coming out with a great team effort and the next looking more like a collection of players then a team.

If the Mustangs are able to play as one cohesive unit, then there are some upsets in their future.

Like the girls, the boys’ state championship bracket will be released this weekend. As of press time, the Mustangs sit No. 29 in the RPI rankings.