The Primero High School boys basketball team advanced to the Western Region of state playoffs after a hard-fought victory over the Cotopaxi Pirates in the semifinal game of the District 6 playoff tournament on Friday, Feb. 28.
The game was played at Del Norte High School in front of a heavily dominant oppositional fan base. Despite foul issues and superb performances from Cotopaxi’s Coleman and Gulliford, the Bulldogs built a fourth quarter lead of ten points and held on to seal a win with a 59-56 final score.
Starters Lance Peters, Antonio Cordova, and Mike Damelio led the team to a decisive finish against Cotopaxi, scoring 18 points each during the game. Seniors Andrew and Connor Lutz also made strong showings, scoring 11 and 16 points respectively.
While the Bulldogs suffered a tough loss to the reigning champions Sangre de Cristo in the championship game with a final score of 35-70, the team is excited about their second place District finish and advancing to Regional play.
The Primero team is heading into Regionals for the first time since the 2015-16 season. Due to the structure of the playoff format this year, Primero finds itself one victory away from a State Playoff berth.
Primero’s Regional opponent will be the Debeque Dragons from District 1, a team which beat Ouray High School on February 29 by sinking two free throws in the final three seconds of the game to win their district championship 65-64.
Debeque is also the defending State 1A champion, with a record of 19-2; having gone 25-0 last year in their title run.
The Primero/Debeque matchup will take place on Saturday, March 7 at the Gunnison High School gym. Game time is 11:30 a.m.
Primero will lean heavily on its core players: Antonio Cordova, Michael Damelio, Andrew Lutz, Connor Lutz, and Lance Peters, to find success against the Dragons. Just as important may be the support the team’s bench provides with Glenn Cournoyer, Josiaha Martinez, Johnny Rivera, Cody Saint, Dalton Trujillo, and Maximilian Zeal. “These 11 young men have truly made this year memorable under first-year coach, Seth Kravig,” said Primero Principal Blake Byall.