Skiers struggle in loss to Eagle Valley
Aspen High School senior point guard Lucas Farrell said last week that he and his fellow senior guard Ryan Kerr must have a good night in order to beat Eagle Valley.
Hosting the ninth-ranked Devils Saturday night in a key Western Slope Conference matchup, Farrell said if the guards had a good night, there “was no doubt that we could win.”
The stats for Farrell and Kerr Saturday night – six points.
Both, who are usually deadly from the outside, combined for one 3-pointer as Eagle Valley defeated the Skiers 53-41.
The loss drops Aspen to 4-1 in the WSC (9-4 overall) while the Devils, who were stunned with a loss at Rangely two weeks ago, climbed to 4-1 in league play and 8-3 overall.
Jim Bair, the Devils’ 6-foot-7 inch center, scored 19 points – 18 in the first half – to pace Eagle Valley.
“It was important for us to come here and have a good game,” Bair said. “We’ve always had a great deal of respect for Aspen and we knew that they are a much better team this year, so to come down here and beat them is big for us.”
Farrell spoke of his uncharacteristic shooting slump after the game.
“I don’t know what was going on,” Farrell said of his dismal shooting night. “I don’t know about Ryan, but I just couldn’t get anything going.”
Aside from Farrell and Kerr, only three other players scored for Aspen – Andrew Smith led the Skiers with 15, Sasa Militec netted 12 and Stefan Koenes pitched in with eight.
The Skiers, who tied a school record with 104 points the previous night against Paonia, got no scoring assistance from the bench – to the dismay of coach Steve Ketchum.
“How often is it that the entire team can’t score,” he said. “Even your bench – that is a bad night.”
The early stages of the game showed promise of what may be a neck-and-neck battle as the two teams traded baskets until midway through the second period.
Koenes began the scoring with a power move inside to get past Bair for an easy bucket.
Bair then responded with two inside jumpers giving Eagle Valley a 4-2 lead.
Smith tied the score at four-all before the Devils took a 9-4 lead, forcing the Skiers to take a timeout.
After the timeout, Militec drilled a long 3-pointer to bring his team to within two, 9-7.
But then the Devils forced four turnovers resulting in two fastbreak points giving EV a 13-7 lead.
Militec answered back with a nice baseline-jumper. Smith then swiped the ball from Bair and sent it out to Harris Mufson to begin the fast break where Smith scored a layup and was fouled.
The senior post player converted the free throw, cutting the lead to 13-12.
The Devils scored a quick bucket and then Militec canned a long 3-pointer at the buzzer as Aspen went into the second period down by one, 16-15.
In the second period, the two teams played evenly until Aspen took the lead after Koenes stole the inbound pass and fed Smith underneath for a 27-26 lead.
But then, Eagle Valley ripped off 10 straight points to take a 36-26 halftime lead. And the Devils never looked back.
The Skiers will travel to Hotchkiss Friday and will then host Cedaredge Saturday at the Skierdome.
For more coverage on the Skiers, see Friday’s weekly sports section.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.