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Aspen boys rout Bruins, improve to 13-0

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

CEDAREDGE, Colo. – Talk about a fast start.

After Aspen secured the opening tip Friday, Andrew Papenfus absorbed contact on a 3-point attempt, nailed the shot and the ensuing free throw.

The senior guard scored nine in an opening quarter in which the Skiers jumped out to a 23-6 lead in Cedaredge. Aspen was never tested from there, improving to 13-0 with a 69-30 victory over the Bruins.

“It was a great night. We played unbelievably well,” Skiers head coach Steve Ketchum said. “We had great intensity, and everything was clicking from the start.

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The Skiers led 40-13 at the break, and by 36 after three quarters.

Cedaredge’s Cade Sweeney, one of the 3A Western Slope’s top post players who is averaging more than 16 points per game, was suspended for this weekend’s games. In his absence, Aspen’s Bridger Dawson controlled the paint, scoring 15 points and pulling down eight rebounds.

Papenfus, who nailed four from long distance and finished with a game-high 22 points, was one of seven Aspen players to score. Matthew Holmes pitched in with 16, five assists and three steals.

Thirteen different Skiers saw action.

“We had great balance … and the defense was great, was outstanding,” Ketchum said.

“[The gap between us and Faith Christian] is narrowing a bit. We’re starting to get there. We’re slowly moving in that direction, and that’s what you want. We’re hoping to be there at the right time, like our 27th game of the season.”

The Skiers, currently ranked second in the state in 3A, host Olathe at 4 p.m. Saturday. With a victory, Ketchum will be aiming for his 200th win at Aspen on Tuesday night against visiting Roaring Fork (7 p.m.).

“It’s exciting. It’s really a tribute to the guys that play,” Ketchum said. “I don’t know how much I had to do with it. They make me look good.”

The comeback bid was not enough.

Aspen battled back from a 15-point, third-quarter deficit Friday at Cedaredge. Lindsey Anderson’s bid to tie the game in the waning seconds of the fourth came up short, however, and the Skiers fell, 39-36.

Aspen, which has now lost six straight, dropped a two-point game to Vail Christian on Tuesday.

“You know what, we’re still working hard. We know that if we make our lay-ups, block out and rebound we’re going to win these games,” Skiers head coach Jeremy Haack said. “We missed easy shots under the basket and free throws. It’s tough to win against Cedaredge on the road. We had opportunities. We should’ve capitalized.”

Aspen hit a 3 off an in-bounds play, cutting its deficit to two with about 45 seconds remaining. After Cedaredge was fouled and hit a free throw on the ensuing possession, Haack called a timeout to draw up a play.

When the shot did not fall, the Skiers were forced to foul again. They lucked out, as both attempts were off the mark.

Anderson, who finished with a team-high 16 points, had a good look to force overtime. She couldn’t convert.

Bailey Everhart added 11 points for Aspen, who will be hard-pressed to snap its losing streak today when Olathe, the No. 5 team in the state, visits Aspen High. The Pirates cruised against the Skiers, 49-22, earlier this season.

“We’re going to come out and give Olathe our best shot,” Haack said.

Aspen’s string of inconsistency continued Friday night in Littleton.

The Skiers, 2-2 in their previous four games and coming off a weekend in which it topped Monarch and Fountain Valley, struck first against Chatfield. The lead did not last, however. They surrendered two goals in the second and three in the final period en route to a 5-3 loss.

“Give their team credit. They came out and played hard, and they just seemed to want it more,” Aspen head coach Al Butler said. “When we play a real strong first period, I don’t know what it is but we come out in the second and seem to think we already won the game.”

Bo Writer scored off an assist from Milo Stark with little more three minutes remaining in the first period to give the Skiers the early advantage.

The Chargers (8-10) answered back in the opening seconds of the second period, when Blake Speechley squared the game. Less than three minutes later, Trevor Knoll gave Chatfield its first lead.

James Pardee knotted things at two with nine minutes to play.

Later, in the third, Dawson Ahasic scored with nine minutes remaining to help Aspen pull even at three. The Skiers faltered from there, however, surrendering two goals in 36 seconds to the Chargers’ Kyle Davis and Nate Grush.

“Obviously it’s frustrating when you can’t seem to quite put the game together,” Butler said. “I can’t really pinpoint it, but tonight we took penalties we shouldn’t have in the third, and it never allowed us to [get into rhythm].”

Aspen could not break through in the final eight-plus minutes, and dropped to

9-5 overall. It is now 6-4 in the 5A Foothills conference – good for sixth place.

The Skiers play Columbine (5-9) at 1:20 p.m. Saturday in Littleton.

jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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