Aspen girls hoops beats Hotchkiss to advance
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Hopefully, the road to the regional championships will look a lot like this.
With a season-low nine turnovers as well as the year’s best effort from the free-throw line, the Aspen High School girls basketball team dispatched Hotchkiss 53-34 in a tournament “pigtail” game on Tuesday night at the AHS Skierdome.
With the win, the Skiers advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 3A Western Slope League District Tournament. No. 6 Aspen now faces No. 3 Roaring Fork on Thursday afternoon at Rifle High School.
AHS cleared the bench Tuesday night in the victory, giving all nine varsity girls a chance on the court. The Skiers won the tip-off and kept tight control on the game throughout the first half. Coach Lance Finkbeiner said he counted only one turnover in the first two quarters.
The troubled Hotchkiss team battled shooting difficulties, but could only contribute two points in the first quarter compared to Aspen’s 10. Seniors Lacee Patterson and Lizzie Suiter gave Aspen an edge in the second quarter, combining for 10 of the Skiers’ 16 points that helped Aspen build a 26-6 lead at the half.
The Skiers lost a little momentum in the second half, allowing Hotchkiss to cut the deficit to 36-20 at the end of the third quarter.
“It’s hard, when you’re up 20 points at halftime, to keep up that momentum,” Finkbeiner said.
Patterson and Suiter led scoring Tuesday, shooting for 20 and 18 points, respectively. Suiter also recorded a double-double with 12 rebounds. Sophomore Leandra Sivess contributed 9 points, followed by senior Zara Podolak with 4 and senior Mur Hale with 2.
Finkbeiner said he was a bit disappointed with Aspen’s perimeter shooting – the team was 0-for-8 from beyond the three-point arc – but the Skiers do have another three days of district play on their minds, Roaring Fork first and foremost.
“We lost to them this year, so we don’t have anything to lose,” Patterson said.
If AHS falls to Carbondale a second time, they’ll have to rebound on Friday in order to clinch one of the six available slots from the league to advance to the regional tournament which opens March 9.
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The dual-sport student-athlete was named to the Class 3A Western Slope League all-conference first team for softball as one of two Carbondale players on the Basalt High School softball team team last fall.