Aspen boys top Roaring Fork

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

This time, the Skiers started with defense. Shoe-queaking, passing-lane, shut-down defense.

The Aspen High School boy basketball team, fueled by a scrambling defense, stormed to a 15-0 lead over visiting Roaring Fork on a stormy Tuesday night in Aspen.

The Aspen boys, ranked No. 4 in the state in Class 3A by, used the defensive energy and an assist-heavy offense to beat the Rams 53-30 for their ninth consecutive win.

“It starts with defense every single game,” said Aspen senior Trent Lichtenwalter, who led the Skiers with 23 points and 10 rebounds. He said the Skiers wanted to start fast with an intense defense after beating the Rams by only three points a month ago.

“That’s exactly what happened,” he said of the Aspen defense leading to an efficient offense at the other end. “We knew we could play better.”

Lichtenwalter praised his teammates’ passing on the offensive end.

“They kept feeding me,” said Lichtenwalter, who scored off assists from all four other Aspen starters — Clayton Crawford, Dominik Alcorta, Levi Wright and Evan Patzoldt.

Crawford had eight and eight — points and rebounds.

Patzoldt scored 12 for the Skiers, including a pair of 3-pointers.

“Great teamwork (Friday night),” Aspen head coach Steve Ketchum said after the Skiers improved to 11-2, 10-0 in the Western Slope League. “They were giving it up. They didn’t care who scored.”

Only four turnovers in the second half certainly helped.

“We played so well defensively in that first quarter,” Ketchum said. “That was a quality win.”

Timmy Nielsen led Roaring Fork with 12 points, including two 3-pointers as the Rams made a big run in the third quarter when they outscored the Skiers 12-9.

Ben Carpenter, one of the league’s top 3-point shooters, had three treys Tuesday night, finishing with 10 points for the Rams (6-9 overall, 6-6 in league).

The Skiers will play again tonight at Basalt in the makeup of Friday night’s snowed-out game.