Aspen girls stumble against Grand Valley |

Aspen girls stumble against Grand Valley

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Aspen could not handle the pressure.

Visiting Grand Valley’s aggressive press and half-court defense caused fits all night for the Skiers, who turned the ball over 28 times and were stymied on offense. During one stretch in the second and third quarters, Aspen scored one field goal in more than 17 minutes. It could not recover, falling to the Cardinals, 50-28.

“We’re small and fast, so we need to pressure everyone,” Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said. “We need to get up and down the floor. … We wore them down with our transition game.”

Shawnee Young nailed a 3, then Karmen Steimel picked off a lazy pass and scored in transition, helping turn an 8-6 Cardinals lead into a seven-point cushion midway through the first quarter. After Skiers senior Lindsey Anderson hit a 3, Grand Valley reeled off seven straight points to close the quarter, punctuated by Amelia Sudick’s jumper with 8 seconds remaining.

Things got no better for the Skiers in a second quarter in which they hit just one field goal and scored three points. Despite missing all four of their free throw attempts during the frame, the Cardinals (4-0, 1-0) controlled the offensive glass and took a 28-12 lead into the break.

“You can’t turn the ball over that many times, especially against a team like that,” said Aspen head coach Jeremy Haack, whose team has dropped two straight since its 61-29, opening night win over Battle Mountain. “We missed a lot of lay-ups. … If we make those, it’s a different game at halftime.

“We’ve got to do a better job of being patient on offense. If we don’t have anything in transition, we have to be smart and pull the ball out and set something up and try to execute.”

The Skiers could generate little offense during a third quarter in which they scored just two points – on Jonelle Berklund free throws. Grand Valley defenders flooded the passing lanes and denied the post when Aspen did cross half court. During one stretch, Erin Vanderpool scored six straight points – four on uncontested lay-ups after steals. The senior led all scorers with 13.

The Cardinals stretched the lead to 29 with a 12-2 run to open the fourth quarter. Steimel finished with 11 points and Young added seven.

“The defense in the second half, we turned it up a notch,” Johnson said. “The first half was a little sloppy, but in the second we put it together. … That’s what we want to do every game.”

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