AHS girls fall to La Junta in first round
Aspen Times Staff Writer
No. 14 La Junta knocked off the No. 19 seed Aspen High girls Friday night, then went on to upset No. 3 Centauri – in Centauri – in the opening round of the Class 3A girls basketball tournament.
The Skiers lost 46-39.
“It was pretty disappointing,” said Aspen coach Lance Finkbeiner. “We jumped out to a 7-0 lead. We had a great start – [Senior] Tara Walker hit a three in the first few seconds of the game.
“We were down 22-24 at halftime – it was like a two- or four-point game the whole way. But at the end, when it counted, we couldn’t close the gap. We had to foul them at the end.”
Finkbeiner noted that the Skiers did manage to shut down two of La Junta’s highest scorers – “two of the best players in the state,” he said. However, two lesser-known La Junta shooters came off the bench to make up the difference, he said.
Despite a sprained ankle, senior Lizzie Suiter led scoring on the night with 21 points.
“That’s over half of our scoring,” Finkbeiner said. “She had a great game, and could have really dominated had she been able to jump or run.”
But the Skiers can take solace in the fact that No. 14 seed La Junta, now 19-5, pulled off a few upsets this weekend to earn a berth to the state championship quarterfinals. On Saturday the team dispatched No. 3 seed Centauri, a clear favorite for a state title.
“That doesn’t surprise me at all,” Finkbeiner said of La Junta’s success. “Their only losses on the year have been to the number one and number two teams in the state. They’re an incredible team. They should have been ranked much higher.”
Finkbeiner and the Skiers, though disappointed, were happy for the experience the season gave the team’s younger – and possibly returning – players.
“It’s a tough one to swallow, for sure,” he said. “But overall, we did have a successful year – we’re 13-10, which isn’t too bad. We had a couple of big wins on the year – Cedaredge and Basalt.”
It would be easy enough to quantify long-distance adventures in Snowmass Village by the usual stats and figures: 90-plus miles of singletrack and dirt roads, four core endurance races every summer, infinite route combinations no more than a few hundred yards from the nearest parking spot or bus stop. But there’s another metric worth clocking too: Smiles per hour.
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