Hoops: Grand Valley girls rout Aspen, 62-18 | AspenTimes.com

Hoops: Grand Valley girls rout Aspen, 62-18

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen girls basketball coach Jeremy Haack left a tournament earlier this month feeling optimistic about the progress his young squad had made.

After Tuesday’s home opener against Grand Valley, it’s clear that his Skiers have a long way to go to compete with the 3A Western Slope’s elite.

Aspen (1-2) clearly was overmatched. It struggled mightily to advance the ball against suffocating Cardinals pressure and run its offense. Things did not go much better on the other end, where Grand Valley controlled the glass and routinely converted from beyond the arc. The Skiers could not keep pace, falling 62-18 – their second loss by 40-plus points in three games.

“It’s early in the season, and we’re a young team when it comes to varsity experience,” Haack said. “We’re playing hard, but it’s just going to take some time to bring it all together. We’ll be OK.”

The Cardinals raced out to a quick lead in the opening quarter thanks in part to seven points from diminutive guard Rocio Roman, who showcased adept touch on the run, at the free-throw line and from deep. With about three minutes remaining in the first, she nailed the first of three consecutive Grand Valley 3-pointers, which turned an 8-2 advantage into a 15-point cushion. The Cardinals led 19-2 after eight minutes.

The onslaught continued in the second with Lauren Paskett leading the charge. She scored the quarter’s first five points, prompting Haack to call a timeout. The break in play did little to quell Grand Valley’s momentum.

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Later, Paskett and Haley Johnson converted in succession on the offensive glass, then Whitney Vance picked off a lazy pass and scored to completely blow things open. Aspen, meanwhile, could muster just two field goals in the first 16 minutes – the last coming on a shot in the lane from Maggie Ryan that barely beat the buzzer in the second quarter.

“They’re a great defensive team,” Haack said. “I think it starts on the defensive end with aggressive man-to-man and throwing in some different traps. We have to get the offense going that way and get the confidence up.”

The Skiers scored just two points – on a jumper from Anna Stevens – in the third quarter. They trailed 52-10 heading to the fourth.

“It wasn’t frustrating. I really like this team a lot,” Haack said. “I appreciate the girls and their effort tonight against one of the top teams in the league. … I really think there’s a big win waiting for this team down the road.”

Aspen will look to rebound Saturday, when it hosts West Grand at 2:30 p.m.

jmaletz@aspentimes.com