The Class 3A State Basketball Tournament reaches the Great 8 Thursday and two of Southern Colorado's teams will be top contenders.
On the boys side, behind Colorado commit Dominique Clifford, The Vanguard School is a team to beat as the No. 2 seed in the field.
"I feel like we're the most dangerous team in this tournament, coming in with that experience, and that hunger from losing last year," junior guard Ryan Lair said. "We have the most motivation of anyone in this tournament."
After falling to Manual in the state finals last year, the Coursers expect to be a game better in 2020, starting with Thursday's showdown against Sterling (10:15 a.m.)
"Everyone is filling into their roles and understanding what they do best," Clifford said. "So I think the confidence level is there, I think everyone understands from last year, what we expect and how to get it done."
The Lady Pirates on the other hand, are one of the state's few teams contending for a three-peat this weekend.
At 23-1, St. Mary's has been as impressive as any team in Colorado this season, outscoring their opponents by an average of 40 points per game.
"I'm really excited, ever since I got to St. Mary's, I always wanted to three-peat," senior forward Catherine Cummings said. "Knowing the girls that were with me, I knew we had a chance to do that. We have some nerves but mostly excitement."
Up first for Mike Burkett's squad is a rematch with the Coursers (11:45 a.m.) a team they beat 82-39 earlier this season. The first of three games in three days to put the school in select company.
"A few of us are nervous but most of us are confident and excited for this," senior guard Seneca Hackley said. "This is an opportunity to do something great and we're excited I would say."
Both contests will take place at Denver University's Hamilton Gym.