Aspen High boys streak past Moffat County
The Aspen Times
At halftime, Aspen High School boys basketball coach Steve Ketchum implored his team to take care of the basketball.
A nightmarish 12 first-half turnovers had left the Skiers trailing Moffat County by one (27-26) in a key Western Slope League game Saturday night at the Aspen High School gym.
The Aspen boys responded with an explosive 23-2 run in the third quarter and only four turnovers in the entire second half of a 66-53 victory over the stunned Bulldogs.
“You saw what we did when we cut down on the turnovers,” Aspen senior Trent Lichtenwalter said of the Skiers’ 40-point second half, including a season-high 24 points in the third quarter.
Lichtenwalter, who had his second consecutive double-double, hit three baskets during the third-quarter run. He finished with a game-high 25 points and 12 rebounds.
“One of the big mottos this year for us is to be unselfish. It doesn’t matter if I get 20 points or Levi gets 20 as long as we get a W,” Lichtenwalter said, mentioning senior guard Levi Wright, who has six assists for the Skiers.
Lichenwalter, the son of Daylene and Gary Lichtenwalter, added a 3-pointer (one of six for the Skiers) in the fourth quarter, when Aspen held off a charge that included three 3-pointers from Moffat County’s Tyler Davis. He led the Bulldogs with 17 points.
“We took care of the ball in the second half … just four turnovers,” Ketchum said of the Skiers, who followed Friday’s win over Coal Ridge with Saturday’s victory over Moffat County. “And they had no answer for Trent.”
Ketchum said he was surprised junior guard Evan Patzoldt was able to play Friday and Saturday after he suffered a sprained ankle in practice Tuesday.
“I didn’t think he would be healthy enough to do that,” Ketchum said. “I was very surprised. But he’s a tough kid, and he loves the game.”
Patzoldt hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Wright early in Aspen’s dynamic third-quarter surge. He would finish with nine points in the quarter and 14 for the game.
“I did everything I could at school and at my house … icing, elevation, everything I could do to get back (on the court),” said Patzoldt, who scored 10 points in Aspen’s 47-41 win over Coal Ridge on Friday night.
He said he had more confidence in his ankle Saturday, which helped him track down six rebounds against Moffat County.
He said the key to the Skiers’ scoring surge was sharing the basketball and avoiding turnovers.
“No selfish team wins championships,” said Patzoldt, the son of Sandra and Lynn Patzoldt. “You can’t have one player do 1-on-1 stuff. Everyone has to be involved.”
Clayton Crawford, who had 14 in the win over Coal Ridge, scored 14 more against Moffat County to go along with nine rebounds.
The Skiers also got seven rebounds from Dominick Alcorta as they improved to 4-0 in the Western Slope League, 5-2 overall.
The Moffat County boys fell to 2-1 in league and 4-2 overall.
Joe Camilletti scored 13, including two 3-pointers, for the Bulldogs.
The Aspen boys will play at Roaring Fork next Friday night before traveling to Olathe on Jan. 18.
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