Aspen boys rout rival Basalt, improve to 10-0
ASPEN Its been nearly six weeks since Andrew Papenfus cracked his collarbone in a collision at practice. The Aspen junior says hes nearly 100 percent. And while its taken a long time to regain the accuracy on his shot, Papenfus feels as though his game is almost as good as it was before that fateful fall on an attempted dunk back in November. He was on point Friday night against visiting rival Basalt. Papenfus hit two 3-pointers in the opening minute of the fourth to stretch the Skiers lead to 24 and, in just his fourth game of the season, finished with a team-high 17 points. Two teammates joined him in double figures, and the Aspen defense was stifling in a 58-36 rout of the Longhorns. With the victory their fifth straight by double digits the Skiers improved to 10-0 for the first time in recent history.This has been a pleasant surprise, Papenfus said. I dont think anyone thought wed be at this point we are now. It feels good to finally be out there playing.The Skiers were having fun early and often Friday night. Trevor Watson hit two 3s and scored 10 points during a first quarter in which Aspen jumped out to a commanding 16-4 lead. Basalt, which was held scoreless for the quarters final 4 minutes, 57 seconds, could muster just one field goal each from guards Omar Lopez and David Gruenefeldt.The Longhorns (2-7 overall, 2-4 3A Western Slope) hung tough in the second quarter. After Gruenefeldt nailed a 3, Luke Pratte handled a perfect bounce pass from Lopez and scored in transition, cutting the deficit to eight and prompting a Skiers timeout with 3:37 remaining. Basalt pulled to within seven one minute later when Lopez drained three free throws after being hit on the arm during a shot attempt from beyond the arc. Gruenefeldt and Lopez combined for 16 of 18 first-half points for the Longhorns, who trailed, 27-18, at the break. They would pull no closer. Papenfus soared and pulled down an offensive board, then finished off the glass with 5:30 to play in the third to give Aspen a 32-19 advantage. He hit two free throws and scored in transition, then Nicky Fuller nailed a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer, stretching the lead to 40-21.Jake Wirkler had Basalts lone field goal during the quarter.We were only down nine at the half, but they picked it up. Thats what good teams do, first-year Longhorns head coach John Pettit said. Today we just werent ready to match their intensity. We couldnt handle their pressure.Even when we struggle on offense and you can see that we do at times the defense always seems to be there, said Aspen head coach Steve Ketchum, whose team is allowing about 47 points per game. We did a great job of defense on them for most of the game.The Skiers’ offense followed the defenses lead. They hit three 3s two from Papenfus and one from guard Matthew Holmes in the opening two minutes of the fourth to jump ahead, 49-25. Six different players scored in the final five minutes as Aspen emptied the bench.All told, 11 Skiers tallied points. Watson finished with 11 and Holmes with 13.Teams dont know who to guard now, Papenfus said. Everyone is capable of scoring.And Aspen keeps winning. With a victory Friday against Cedaredge, the Skiers will improve to 8-0 at the midway point of the conference schedule. I dont know how or why this is happening, Ketchum said. Maybe its just our defense or maybe its just that we have good chemistry. Either way, its still surprising.The Longhorns will look to regroup Saturday when they host Coal Ridge at 4 email@example.com
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