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Mead guard Elijah Knudsen (right) drives around Lincoln’s Ty Foster in the first half of their game in the Great 8 round of the Class 4A state basketball tournament on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at Mead High School.
Mead guard Elijah Knudsen (right) drives around Lincoln’s Ty Foster in the first half of their game in the Great 8 round of the Class 4A state basketball tournament on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at Mead High School.
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The words “unfinished business” get tossed around a lot in the world of sports.

After the 2019-20 season in Colorado was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic before finals were contested, several basketball teams in the state of Colorado do indeed have unfinished business. Literally.

The Mead boys were hours away from the Class 4A title game and a chance to win their program’s first state championship. The Holy Family girls had their season cut short just before the season’s final game, also in the 4A classification. The Fairview boys were still alive in the 5A final four and the Shining Mountain’s girls team had also reached the semifinals in Class 1A.

“Believe me, we’ve thought about it quite a bit,” Mead head coach Darin Reese said. “I think it’ll be this way for a while. It is unfinished and it feels a little empty. The hardest thing from our perspective is that we didn’t have a say in how the season ended and it felt like our guys had done everything they could do to put themselves in a good spot. The toughest part is those five seniors who don’t get a chance to come back and try again.

“But there’s no question that it’s an extra motivator for this group.”

As bothersome as it is for those teams to feel as though last season never truly ended, most of Colorado’s teams are simply excited that this upcoming season is finally going to begin. It will still be strange to play just 14 games in empty gyms while wearing masks.

But hey, that’s just the way things are, at least for now.

“It’s just great to be back in the gym and we can’t wait to play our first game,” Reese said.

There’s no doubt about it, this upcoming Season B campaign will be unlike any other in Colorado prep basketball history.

Below are a few things at stake during this unusual basketball season:

How good are the Fairview boys, really?

In December, MaxPreps.com named the Fairview Knights the best boys basketball team in Colorado, which wasn’t too surprising considering they were one of four teams still playing when last season was canceled. But when the CHSAANow.com preseason coaches poll was released this week, the Knights were listed at No. 12, not even in the top 10.

A fairly remarkable disparity, to say the least.

The Knights have a new coach in Andre Goldberg and return seven of their top nine scorers from last winter’s 23-3 squad. So there’s plenty of reason to believe the Fairview boys will be quite good, though there doesn’t seem to be any consensus on exactly what to expect.

We’ll soon find out.

Can anyone knock off the Mullen girls atop 4A?

The 2019 champions, the Mullen Mustangs are the last girls hoops team to officially wear the 4A crown. Holy Family was slated to take Mullen on in the finals last winter before everything was shut down. Both Mullen and Holy Family return nearly their entire rosters from last season and are listed at No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the preseason rankings. Sitting at No. 4, Erie also brings back the bulk of last year’s Great 8 lineup, so it appears the BoCoPreps.com area could have several challengers yet again in Season B.

Gudino, Wristen on the cusp of 1,000-point mark

This season being shortened to 14 games might pose a problem for many players going after career milestones, but that shouldn’t be an issue for Erie senior Genevieve Gudino. Already with 989 points in her prep career, Gudino will likely need just one game barring an injury, or at most two, in order to surpass 1,000 points in her high school career. She is also close to 300 rebounds (274) and 300 steals (267) as a high school player for both Holy Family and Erie.

Broomfield’s Courtney Wristen, who will play Division-I basketball at the University of San Diego next year, is also on track for 1,000 career points. The 6-foot-2 Eagles forward will open her senior campaign with 857 points. She averaged a team-best 14.2 points per game in 2019-20 and already has over 500 rebounds and 100 blocks as a high school player.

What effect will shorter seasons and the threat of quarantines have on smaller playoff brackets?

With only 14 regular-season games on the schedule and fewer teams qualifying for the postseason, each game counts even more. But with the threat of cancellations caused by COVID-19 exposure looming large, Colorado teams will have to cross their fingers and hope their seasons aren’t ruined by factors beyond their control.

Can Skyline or Silver Creek crack the 5A postseason?

There’s a strange situation in the NCAC, a new league that is made up of seven 4A schools and four 5A schools. Two of those 5A schools are Skyline and Silver Creek, a pair that has been in the 4A classification seemingly forever. Just one more unusual wrinkle in an unfathomably unusual season, if Skyline of Silver Creek qualify for postseason play, it will be in the 5A bracket.