Aspen boys struggle, but stay perfect |

Aspen boys struggle, but stay perfect

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The Skiers boys basketball team shot 20 percent Friday night against visiting Cedaredge. They missed 11 of 18 from the free throw line, scored just six points in the first quarter and had just four players score.

But the only numbers that matter to coach Steve Ketchum and company? Eleven wins and no losses. A dominating night on the defensive end helped Aspen overcome its worst offensive showing this season in a 41-25 victory ” its eighth straight in 3A Western Slope conference play.

“To be honest, the shooting was just not there tonight,” Ketchum said. “We missed a lot of wide open looks and a ton of lay-ups. Obviously, it was not a real fun night for the fans.”

Matthew Holmes scored 17, Andrew Papenfus chipped in with 12 and Trevor Watson and Walker Abrahamovich each had six for the Skiers, who scored just 14 points in the first 16 minutes. The silver lining? Their defense allowed just 11 over that span to a Bruins squad that has twice scored more than 70 points and is averaging nearly 48 points a game.

“I was watching the girls game, and it was pretty close, something like 12-12 at halftime. I was chuckling under my breath that this can’t be much fun to watch,” Ketchum said. “Then here we are at 14-11. … the defensive effort was phenomenal. Cedaredge has a good scoring team, some big players and some solid guards.

“In other years, if we had an off game like this, we’d just get pounded and have no chance for victory. We were playing so well on the defensive end that [offense] didn’t matter a whole lot. It was frustrating, that’s all it was.”

The Skiers’ effort was good enough to increase their lead atop the Slope to two games over Coal Ridge ” and hand the Bruins their fifth consecutive loss. Aspen hosts Hotchkiss at 4 p.m. Saturday.

In their previous meeting with the Bulldogs in December, the Skiers rolled to a 76-47 victory.

“If the shots fall, we should have a good ball game,” Ketchum said. “But you never know.”

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