On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the Arapahoe Girls Basketball Team will travel up to Thornton to take on Horizon in the Sweet 16 of the playoffs. Horizon is seeded 3rd in the state, and with Arapahoe’s recent upset over Chaparral they will come in as the second lowest seed remaining in the playoffs (just above 20th ranked Columbine). Although many see this as an easy win for the Hawks, Arapahoe has more than a shot at winning this matchup.
Although Arapahoe only has a record of 17 wins and 8 losses compared to Horizon’s 22 wins and 2 losses, it should still be a fair game. Out of Horizon’s schedule, only 8 of their opponents even made it to the playoffs, while Arapahoe had 13. Warriors Basketball Captain Maggie Wortman, 12, says that “Being the underdog make us a lot more fired up.” She believes that “the most important thing is that we play like it’s our last chance, and that we all play for each other.” This “we have nothing to lose” mentality will give Arapahoe an advantage because the team’s pure determination to win should drive them to play their best. “I think it helps that we’re playing more as a team than we did last year” said Captain Mia Middleton, 12, who has seen great improvement in overall chemistry as time has passed. With Horizon’s tendency as a first half team, Arapahoe will have to play catch up during the second half. This does not mean that Arapahoe can slack during the first half though. If they want to stay relevant in this game, they will still need to hit the ground running. Especially since Horizon is undefeated at home, and will likely pack a large student section for a Sweet 16 matchup.
So far, Arapahoe has slid through the playoffs, crushing No. 46 Arvada West 68-38 in the first round, and upsetting No. 14 Chaparral 55-47 in a close overtime game. Horizon has had a much easier story. They played no one during the first round, as they had a bye, and they beat the No. 30 Rocky Mountain Lobos by a solid margin of 65-43. Tonight’s game will tip off at 6:30pm.