Roaring Fork High School boys basketball poised for big winter in Carbondale | AspenTimes.com

Roaring Fork High School boys basketball poised for big winter in Carbondale

Mike Vidakovich
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

CARBONDALE — Veteran Roaring Fork High School head coach Larry Williams enters his 10th season guiding the Rams, and this year's crew may be one of the best to hit the court in Carbondale in recent memory.

That being said, last year's Roaring Fork team was no slouch by any means, going 18-6 overall and losing to Manitou Springs by a scant two points in the state tournament's Sweet Sixteen. Williams, though, feels the 2017-18 Rams, with a little tweaking, may have that special ingredient to get them into rarified air in the 3A Western Slope League race.

"We still need to have some individuals find what role they best fit into to help the team the most," stated Williams, who is, in early season practices and scrimmages, experimenting with players in different positions on the floor than they are accustomed to.

One player Williams is sure to find a position for is senior forward Justin Thompson. Thompson, a big cog in the Rams' success a year ago, could be the WSL's best player. Williams says the 6-foot-2 leaper worked hard on his game during the summer months and is primed for a stellar year.

Not far behind Thompson on the list of the league's top players is 6-foot-3 junior post player Joe Salinas. Though his offensive game may still need some polish, Salinas is a capable rebounder and shot blocker who will give Roaring Fork a much-needed presence in the paint that has been missing in past years.

Williams will also rely on junior guard Ronald Clemente to orchestrate the Ram offense and help provide perimeter defense against talented, opposing backcourts.

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Coal Ridge, Grand Valley and Delta should provide some big tests for Roaring Fork when league play starts in January. A key date to circle on the calendar for area hoops fans is Jan. 23 when the Coal Ridge Titans pay a visit to Carbondale.

Always fundamentally sound and focused under Williams, the Rams won't put the cart before the horse and look ahead on the schedule at any time during the season.

"We'll take things one game at a time, the way we always have," Williams said. "We'll focus on defense first, rebounding, and shot selection."

Roaring Fork will open the season on Dec. 1 against Steamboat Springs at the Brenda Patch Tournament in Carbondale. The following afternoon in the Patch Tourney, the Rams will take on the Rifle Bears.

sports@postindependent.com

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