AHS girls beat Hotchkiss to advance to semifinals | AspenTimes.com

AHS girls beat Hotchkiss to advance to semifinals

Todd Hartley

The Aspen High School girls basketball team, the regular-season champions of the 3A Western Slope League, advanced to the semifinals of the District 4 Tournament with a convincing 67-44 win over No. 8 seed Hotchkiss Thursday night at the Skierdome.

The Skiers, with guard Jennifer Snook starting in place of center Rebecca Anderson for defensive purposes, started slowly and led just 12-10 after the first quarter. Hotchkiss’ Michaela Kenkel scored six points early to keep the Lady Bulldogs close.

But Anderson returned to the lineup in time to score 12 points in the second quarter as the Skiers exploded for 25 points in the frame to push their halftime lead to 37-17.

“Rebecca really stepped up for us,” said Aspen coach Lance Finkbeiner. “She dominated the second quarter.”

Buoyed by Anderson’s standout play, the Skiers kept the ball rolling in the second half to thwart any hopes of a Hotchkiss comeback.

Jill Evans had 13 second-half points and Cory Reno scored 11, all in the fourth quarter. The Skiers were never seriously challenged down the stretch.

“Cory had a great game off the bench,” said Finkbeiner.

In all, eight Aspen players figured in the scoring, led by Evans’ 20 points. Anderson finished with 14, Reno scored 11, and Kelli Dangler, Marta Losonczy and Ellen Falender each contributed six points.

Kenkel led the way for Hotchkiss with 15 points. Becky Widner had seven, and Jessica Tribble, Jennifer Widner, Tana Hawk and Tammi Roesler each finished with five for the Lady Bulldogs.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get up for a game like that,” said Finkbeiner. “But overall I was pleased with the effort.”

The big win allowed Finkbeiner to rest his starters and give needed playing time to some of his bench players as the postseason gets under way.

The Skiers travel to Central High School in Grand Junction today for a semifinal matchup at 3:30 p.m. against the Roaring Fork Rams, the league’s No. 4 seed. In the only prior meeting between the teams this year, the Skiers defeated the Rams 47-40 in Aspen.

Roaring Fork upended No. 5 Rangely 61-59 Thursday night in Carbondale to move on to the semifinals. The Rams trailed late in the game but hit a 3-pointer with six seconds to play to pull out the victory.

Basalt’s girls, the No. 2 seed, also advanced to the semifinals with a 62-42 win over Eagle Valley. They will meet the winner of last night’s contest between No. 3 Olathe and No. 6 Gunnison at 6:30 p.m. tonight in Grand Junction.

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