AHS boys b-ball swishes league opener
After a frustrating loss at home Friday, the Aspen High School boys basketball team traveled to Rangely and opened its Class 3A Western Slope League schedule with a 79-65 win over Rangely.
Sophomore AHS point guard Nick Farrell netted a career-high 30 points – including six 3-pointers – leading Aspen to a 6-4 record overall, 1-0 in league.
“We played one of the best first halves I’ve ever seen,” said Aspen coach Steve Ketchum. “Our offense was in high gear. Nick Farrell was phenomenal.”
Aspen junior Jeff Brence scored 23 points in the win (one more than his 22-point per game average), including 17 points in the first half.
“The second half was a different story,” Ketchum continued. “Rangely came out and played extremely well.”
Aspen’s lead of 30 points entering the fourth quarter dwindled to 14 points at the end of the contest.
“They got hot,” Ketchum said. “But any win is a good win when you get to league.”
Aspen’s Zac Paris contributed 8 points, Phil Salazar netted 7 points and Blake Beyea added 5 points.
“It was nice to see other guys step up because we’ve found we can’t win if that doesn’t happen,” Ketchum said. “The win left me feeling good about our overall game and the effort our kids gave.”
On Friday against the larger, Class 4A Moffat County, Aspen put out a good effort but didn’t seize opportunities in the final moments of a 67-64 loss.
“It was a nail-biter,” Ketchum said. “We trailed by 14 points going into the fourth quarter and fought back,” taking a one-point lead with a minute remaining.
“We choked it up in the end,” he continued. “But the effort they gave carried over to Saturday and that’s what’s really important – the league games.”
Against Moffat County, Brence scored 30 points and Farrell knocked down 15 points. Senior Duncan Delano added 10 points for AHS.
Aspen opens its league schedule at home this Friday night against Paonia, a team that beat Aspen by three points during an early-season non-league contest. Now, Paonia is ranked No. 7 in Class 3A. Friday’s tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
On Saturday, Aspen hosts Eagle Valley, a longtime rival, at 5:30 p.m.
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