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AHS ladies ready for Rams and Longhorns

Ben Husband

Just like last year, the Aspen High School girls’ basketball team has had a surprise season.

It was last year that the Skiers shocked the regional scene by winning both the District and Regional Tournaments to advance to the 3A State Tournament for the first time in 17 years.

But, after losing three top offensive players from last year’s dream team to graduation, fans had to wonder how this year’s Skiers would respond.

And respond they have, posting one of their best seasons ever at AHS by winning seven of nine league games to date and 12 out of 16 overall – good enough for third place in the Western Slope League standings.

The Skiers began the season by charging out to a 5-1 record before the holiday break. Their first loss was to Rangely early last month; they haven’t lost back-to-back games all season long.

And, the Skiers went undefeated this year at home in league play.

But this weekend, Aspen’s ladies face their toughest challenges of the season. They travel to Carbondale tonight to take on the Rams at Roaring Fork High School (7 p.m.) and to Basalt Saturday (4 p.m.) to take on the Longhorns.

Aspen is tied with Roaring Fork at 7-2 in the league standings, while Basalt is in second at 8-1.

At stake for the Skiers is a chance to enter the Class 3A District Tournament, which begins Thursday, Feb. 18, as one of the top four seeds.

The top four finishers in the league standings will host the first round of the Class 3A District Tournament, beginning Feb. 18.

The bottom eight teams will face each other in pigtail games with the higher seed hosting on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

The winners of the pigtail games will then advance to face the top four seeds in the Feb. 18 opening round of the District Tournament.

The District Tournament will continue with semifinals on Friday, Feb. 19 at Grand Junction Central High School. Third-place and championship games will be played Saturday, Feb. 20.

Any one loss or two losses could hurt Aspen’s chances of finishing in the top four slots, but a win would almost guarantee a slot in the top four.

“We are excited to play,” Waldron said. “I think that we are playing our best basketball right now and at the right time of the year.

“Getting a chance to play our valley rivals at this time of the season is what we’ve been working on all season long,” he added.

Basalt is coming off a huge win over Roaring Fork last weekend. The Longhorns have been on a roll since the holiday break.

“They must be playing some great basketball right now,” Waldron said. “The reports about them are glowing.”

Waldron said “playing with confidence” is going to be a big factor for his Skiers this weekend.

A lot of that confidence comes with the play of junior center Rebecca Anderson, who turned in a career night last Saturday with 16 points.

“That was one of the biggest lifts this team could have gotten right now,” Waldron said of his inside player. “She has been working so hard in practice and in the games all season long and she really took charge in that game with a real relaxed and poised manner.”

Anderson’s inside play will “make all the difference in the world for us the rest of the way,” Waldron predicted.


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