AHS girls ‘on a roll’ with weekend wins
With back-to-back wins Friday and Saturday at Olathe and Gunnison, the Aspen High girls basketball team pulled even with Eagle Valley for the fourth-place spot in the Class 3A Western Slope League standings with just one regular-season game to play.
The AHS girls, 6-7 in league and 8-10 overall, bested both Olathe and Gunnison by four points each, meaning Aspen’s regular-season finale on the road at Cedaredge Friday night will be a factor in determining whether Aspen hosts, or travels, next Tuesday night in the first round of the 3A WSL district tournament.
“They’re pretty big wins for us, being our first games without Leandra [Sivess],” said Aspen coach Lance Finkbeiner, referring to the team’s co-captain who tore a knee ligament in a game against Eagle Valley on Feb. 6.
The Skier girls have won four of their last five games and, as Finkbeiner noted, “at one point we were eighth in the league but now we’re tied for fourth with Eagle Valley.
“Both teams [Olathe and Gunnison] are at the bottom of the league but they’re also pretty tough at home. So it’s a pretty good result for a road trip without some of our best players.”
Against Olathe on Friday, Aspen junior Liz Floyd led all scorers with 16 points. Floyd also pulled down 14 rebounds. Aspen led by 10 points at halftime and led by a similar margin down the stretch before Olathe drilled a couple 3-pointers late to cut the final deficit to 40-36, according to Finkbeiner.
“The score was closer than the actual game,” the coach said. “And again, it was another solid effort from Liz Floyd. I’d say she’s one of the top five players in the league. She’s had an incredible year. She catches everything we throw at her and she’s been averaging 14 points and nine rebounds a game.”
Facing Gunnison on Saturday, Aspen only took the lead in the final minute of the game, courtesy of a Jeri Gerbaz 3-pointer. Aspen trailed by four at halftime, 16-12, “and just kind of hung with them, down four, down six, but then we outscored ’em 15-4 in the fourth quarter,” Finkbeiner said.
“It was the opposite of the Olathe game. Here, we were down most of the game and we made the run at the end,” the coach continued.
With the score 31-all with a minute to play, Gerbaz drilled a trey ” her third of the day, finishing with nine points ” and Aspen hung on to win 38-34.
“It was a huge shot. And it was exciting to come back and win like that. We didn’t shoot that well from the field but we made the run when we needed it in the end,” Finkbeiner said.
Floyd led Aspen with 11 points and Corie Thompson also chipped in nine points.
“We’re on a little bit of a roll right now heading into the end of the year, which is always a positive. And we’re excited just to have a chance to host a tournament game,” said Finkbeiner. “But we have to win [on Friday at Cedaredge] to make it happen.”
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