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Holyoke boys basketball team is the East Region, Pod B, champion after defeating Byers 67-45 Saturday, March 4, at Mullen High School in Denver. Varsity team members are pictured from left, front row, Mason King, Blake Mosenteen, Alex Strauss and Slaten Burris; and back row, coach Scott Dille, coach Keith Pocock, Austin Herman, Brendan Mayden, Wyatt McCallum, Gunnar Kroeger, Tyler Camblin, Anthony Beltran, M.J. Taylor, Arturo Dominguez and coach Logan Krueger. —Johnson Publications photo

Dragons headed to state March 9-11

    Some things get better with time, and the Holyoke Dragon boys basketball team’s rankings is one of them. Headed to the class 2A state tournament for the fourth year running, Holyoke is ranked second in the state this year, up from fourth last year and seventh in 2014 and 2015.
    In the Region 2 tournament last weekend, Holyoke defeated Byers in the regional finals to move on to the Great Eight. This year’s tournament sees a venue change, with the tournament taking place at Loveland’s Budweiser Events Center Thursday-Saturday, March 9-11.
    Only Sedgwick County ranks ahead of Holyoke at No. 1, a rival Holyoke has defeated once in overtime and fallen to twice this season. District 2 is a strong presence this year, as Akron has also made it to the state competition as the No. 4 seed.
    Holyoke (19-4) draws No. 7 Fowler (20-3) for the first-round game Thursday at 10:15 a.m.
    “Drawing Fowler in the first game will be interesting,” said coach Scott Dille. “Sizewise, they appear to be very similar to us. They have one 6-foot 6-inch guy that kind of anchors their defense. People haven’t scored very many points against them this year.”
    No. 3 Del Norte (20-4) plays No. 6 Paonia (21-2) Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The winner faces the Holyoke-Fowler winner Friday, March 10, at 5:30 p.m. in the Final Four, while the losers play in a 10:15 a.m. consolation matchup on Friday.
    On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 Sedgwick County (22-1) faces No. 8 Sanford (16-7) Thursday at 1:15 p.m., while No. 4 Akron (18-5) plays No. 5 Highland (23-0).
    The winners will match up for an 8:30 p.m. Final Four playoff Friday, while the losers play in consolation semis at 1:15 p.m. Friday.
    The third-place game is slated for Saturday, March 11, at 1:30 p.m., and the consolation championship for fifth place is scheduled for Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
    The top two teams in 2A will meet Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. for the state championship golden-ball trophy.

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