Aspen boys basketball bounces back big
The Aspen Times
The Aspen Skiers could not wait to get back on the basketball court Friday night.
And when the Aspen High School boys basketball team blitzed Olathe with a dizzying 17-2 start, the visiting Pirates couldn’t wait to get off the court and hit the road home.
The Aspen boys, still stinging from a down-to-the-buzzer two-point loss at Moffat County on Tuesday night, bounced back on their home court Friday with a start-to-finish 59-23 victory over Olathe.
The start featured a forced turnover by the Skiers on the Pirates’ first possession, leading to a thundering two-handed dunk by Aspen senior Clayton Crawford.
The finish included points by all 10 Skiers who played in Friday night’s Western Slope League victory.
“Any dunk sets the mood for the rest of the game, especially if it’s the first play,” said Aspen senior Trent Lichtenwalter, who had a hand in the forced turnover that yielded Crawford’s crowd-pleasing jam. “That was a tough loss (at Craig on Tuesday). But that loss made us focus a lot more on the ultimate goal.”
Lichtenwalter helped the Skiers erase the memories of that 61-59 loss to the Bulldogs — the Skiers only conference loss of the season — with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Skiers improved to 14-3 overall, 13-1 in the Western Slope League.
“The start … doesn’t get any better than that,” Aspen head coach Steve Ketchum said of the momentum-building dunk. “I was so glad our starting five played so well that all these other guys got a lot of minutes.”
Ketchum used all his varsity players and collected points from the likes of Tristan Niskanen, JJ Ready, Ryan Scheidt, Patrick Martin and Jack Rosenthal.
Rosenthal had one of five Aspen 3-pointers against Olathe.
Junior Evan Patzoldt had two 3-pointers and a game-high 14 points for the Skiers.
Crawford finished with eight points.
Dominick Alcorta totaled seven and seven — points and rebounds.
“What a great team effort. Every single kid on our team scored baskets,” Ketchum said. “We brought some good stuff (Friday night).”
Olathe headed home with a 1-17 overall record, 1-14 in conference, along with the frustration of a pair of technical fouls.
Mitchell Carlson led the Pirates with nine points.
Trenton Jole, Olathe’s all-state running back from the state-playoff football team, added six points for the Pirates.
Aspen will host Basalt today at Aspen High School. The Basalt boys lost 75-50 at Roaring Fork on Friday night.
The girls varsity will start at 4:30 p. m. today. The boys varsity will follow at 6:30 p.m.
Olathe girls roll
The Olathe High School girls basketball feased on turnovers Friday night against winless Aspen.
The Pirates, who forced 24 turnovers by the Skiers in the first half, rolled to a big 56-9 victory over the Aspen girls.
Led by the early offense of Theresa Tafoya, who scored six quick points, the Olathe girls led 12-2 at the end of the first quarter.
They doubled the lead iin the second quarter, again limiting the Skiers to two points — foul shots by Erika Detrick and Anna Belinski.
The Skiers scored five points in the third quarter but gave up 21 to the pressing Pirates, who put 12 different players in the scoring column.
Mary Landis and Jessica Furr scored for the Skiers in the third.
Furr led Aspen with four points. Landis led the Skiers with nine rebounds.
Taylor Gibson led the balanced Olathe girls with nine points. Tafoya finished with eight. Temry Rodriguez and Payton Grett scored seven each as the Pirates improved to 14-4 overall, 11-4 in the Western Slope League.
The Aspen girls moved to 0-17, 0-13 in conference play. They will host Basalt (1-13 overall, 1-11 in league) at 4:30 p.m. today.
The Basalt girls lost 67-20 to Roaring Fork on Friday night.
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A confident group early in the season, the Aspen High School boys soccer team lost its footing midway through and could have seen its playoff aspirations slip away. But the Skiers came together in a way they hadn’t in many years.