Aspen High girls basketball recaptures last year’s magic |

Aspen High girls basketball recaptures last year’s magic

Aspen Times Staff Report

The only returning starter from the best girls basketball team ever assembled in Aspen led the new-look team to a comfortable victory Friday in their opener against Paonia.

Point guard Ellen Falender recorded a triple-double – 18 points, 10 steals and 13 assists – in Aspen’s 61-40 rout of Paonia.

“I was pretty pleased for our first game,” said coach Lance Finkbeiner. “We had an excellent first quarter and that set the tone for the whole game.”

At the half, Aspen led 31-11.

“With that lead, I was able to play a lot of the girls in the second half, trying some different combinations,” he said.

And every player who saw action Friday scored points for the Skiers.

“It was pretty balanced,” the second-year coach said. “And to get the first win that way builds confidence. I think [the players] realize now that our potential is higher than they may have originally thought.”

Forward Lizzie Suiter scored 13 points for Aspen, while guard Cory Reno added 11.

Finkbeiner credited the play of guards Kelly Waldron and Lacee Patterson.

“Early on in the season it tends to be ugly, but we took care of the ball and played smart,” he said.

On Tuesday night, Aspen puts its home winning streak of at least 15 games on the line when the team hosts Battle Mountain for a 7 p.m. tipoff. Ranked No. 5 in a Class 3A preseason poll, Aspen girls are the defending Class 3A state runner-ups and Western Slope League champs.

Aspen didn’t lose a single home game during its 23-2 run last season.

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