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Seven all-state selections cap hoops season for Southwest Colorado

Dove Creek seniors Kylie and Kalie Gatlin, and senior Halee Beanland, right, enjoy an inside joke while awaiting the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Feb. 12. The Gatlin sisters were honored with all-state selections. Joel Priest/Special to The Journal
Three Panthers, two Bluejays and two Bulldogs named all-state

DENVER – As evidenced by unprecedented senior representation in the Colorado Coaches of Girls’ Sports All-State Games, the 2023-24 basketball season included incredible team and individual achievements, particularly for Southwest Colorado girls basketball teams this winter.

In the final nod of appreciation for the players whose efforts inspired fantastic years for Montezuma-Cortez, Mancos, and Dove Creek hoops, the Colorado High School Activities Association released a list of all-staters that included six local girls, along with M-CHS’ Tay Wheat for the boys.

The dynamic backcourt tandem of Panthers senior Savannah Haselroth and junior Taylor Whited earned their first all-state honors, both on the 3A honorable mention squad after pacing head coach Brad Wright’s group to the program’s deepest postseason run – the 3A Sweet 16 – along with best-ever finishes within the Intermountain League and district tournament, claiming third place in both.

Montezuma-Cortez's Savannah Haselroth drives against Yuma's Caddis Robinson on March 17 during the 2024 CCGS All-State Games' Class 3A feature in Aurora. Haselroth received a 3A honorable mention. Joel Priest/Special to The Journal

Haselroth led the team in scoring average, with Whited not far behind. The duo closed out the season one-two among the team’s steals and assists leaders and led the Panthers to their first winning season in more than two decades as a result.

For Mancos, their top two scorers also landed all-state recognition, with sophomore leading scorer Claire Goodwin taking a 2A second team selection, while senior Quincy Montoya capped her career with on the honorable mention list. The Jays took home the program’s best state finish – picking up fifth place in the 2A state tournament – while also posting a high-water mark in wins (20).

Mancos sophomore Claire Goodwin drives to the basket against Sedgwick County's Avery Goddard in this file photo. She received all-state, second-team honors. Ben Bradley/Special to The Journal

Goodwin and Montoya were seemingly everywhere on the floor for head coach Kerri Morgan’s team, forcing turnovers, operating the lethal Bluejays transition game and topping the team in scoring, assists and steals.

The Dove Creek girls program has leaned on the Gatlin sisters for the past four years, and in their final season for head coach Julie Kibel, Kylie and Kalie both took home all-state honors. Kylie took home a 1A second team selection, while Kalie earned honorable mention for a team that placed at state for a second straight year – taking fifth in the 1A field – while earning four consecutive San Juan Basin League titles over the course of their careers.

Kylie Gatlin led the team in scoring and steals, while her sister Kalie provided a team-best assist-turnover ratio for the Bulldogs, as Dove Creek eclipsed 20 wins for the third consecutive year.

Montezuma-Cortez junior Tay Wheat attacks the basket Feb. 9 against Ignacio’s Trace Crane in Cortez. He received a 3A all-state honorable mention. Ben Bradley/Special to The Journal

In boys action, Panthers junior Tay Wheat added to his football all-state collection with his first honor in hoops, taking a 3A all-state honorable mention nod after guiding a young squad to its highest win total in four years as well as a second consecutive trip to the 3A postseason.

Wheat averaged double-figure scoring for head coach Mike Hall’s team, while leading the Panthers in steals and assists on their way to a third-place finish in the district tournament.

The Colorado High School Activities Association compiled their all-state teams based off nominations from each of the respective leagues in the state’s six basketball classifications. From there, coaches voted on the all-state selections to develop the distinctions of first team, second team, and honorable mention all-state.