It’s true that many times the most valuable player on a basketball team doesn’t have gaudy statistics, but it’s still meaningful to highlight a few of the state individual leaders from games played before the holiday break.
Kolton Peterson of Lakewood is the fifth-leading boys scorer in Class 5A with a 21.8 scoring average, according to a list compiled by maxpreps.com, a website dedicated to high school sports. Ralston Valley’s Antonio Capley is second in rebounding with an average of 11.5 a game and ranks just ahead of Mountain Vista’s Jake Belknapp and Dallas Walton of Arvada West, who have pulled down 11.3 rebounds a game.
Mountain Vista’s Isaac Essien is the state’s 5A assist leader with an average of 7.4 a game. Arapahoe’s Joseph Kleeman is second in steals with 3.1 a game.
Valor Christian’s Jeremy Randle leads all Class 4A 3-point shooters as he has connected on 53 percent of his attempts, while Ponderosa’s Derek Hansen is second with a 51-percent shooting accuracy from long range.
In 5A girls scoring statistics, Pomona’s Ashley Madden is scoring 26.5 points a game to rank second in the state. Ralston Valley Ashley Van Sickle is the state leader with 7.3 assists per game and is second in steals with a 4.7 average.
Jaz’myne Sipes of ThunderRidge is Colorado’s second-leading 5A rebounder with 11 per game while Lutheran senior Kristen Vigil is tops in 3A steals with 5.3 per game and is second with 5.7 assists. Faith Christian’s Makena Long is the 3A statistical leader by making 50 percent of her 3-point attempts.
Eye on the national team
Sebastian Anderson, an eighth-grader at Ranch View Middle School in Highlands Ranch, has his sights set on being one of the 24 players who will be selected this spring to be on the Under-15 Boys national soccer team.
Anderson, who plays for Real Colorado, was one of 48 players invited to the national camp last September and he was among the 36 players to take part in the final team camp Dec. 13-20 in Sunrise, Florida.
In the December camp there were 32 players, including Anderson, from the U.S. Soccer Development Academy at the U14 level and four nondevelopment players.
“It was a great feeling when I first got the email to come back for the second camp,” said Anderson. “It was great to know all the work has paid off and I had another chance to prove myself in front of all the coaches.
“The second time was a lot calmer because I knew a lot of the kids that came back from the first camp. I was more familiar with everyone. I just played like I usually play and let my play show for itself.”
Week three of the “On the Mat” rankings have been released, and Pomona looks like the team to beat in Class 5A.
The Panthers are No. 1 in Tim Yount’s Class 5A team rankings, with Legacy third, Ponderosa fifth and Chaparral 11th.
Yount, Colorado’s wrestling guru, has a full-time job but has been compiling weekly individual and team rankings for the past 22 years after examining results.
Four Pomona individual wrestlers are No. 1 heading into the new year. Justin Pacheco (113 pounds), Tomas Guiterrez (120), Theorius Robison (126) and 145-pounder Jason Romero top the rankings.
Mosha Schwartz of Ponderosa is the top-ranked 106-pounder, Legacy’s Ryan Deakin is first at 138 pounds and Cherry Creek’s Matt Finesilver is No. 1 at 152 pounds.
Other wrestlers who are ranked No. 1 included Jared Todd of Heritage (160), Chaparral’s Dawson Cranmer (170), Legacy’s Matt Hebel (182), Mountain Vista’s Trent Schultz (195 pounds) and Cohlton Schultz of Ponderosa (220).
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 303-566-4083.