Basketball: Aspen boys knock off Rifle
The Aspen Times
The Skiers turned the tables on the Bears this week.
The Aspen High School boys basketball team knocked Rifle from the ranks of the unbeaten Friday night with a thrilling 57-53 victory before a lively crowd at the AHS gym.
The Skiers, who lost to the Bears 51-39 last weekend in Carbondale, rebounded in their home opener with a fourth-quarter surge, outscoring the visitors 17-13.
Aspen took the lead for good in the opening seconds of the final quarter when Evan Patzoldt hit two free throws and then passed to teammate Dominick Alcorta for a fast-break layup, breaking what had been a 40-40 tie after three periods.
Alcorta, who would finish with a team-high 17 points for Aspen, added a putback basket, and Jack Rosenthal hit his third 3-pointer of the game to fuel the Skiers’ late offense.
With the Bears in scramble, comeback mode, the Skiers managed to convert 8-of -13 foul shots in the last quarter, finishing 13-of-21 for the game.
Rosenthal hit all four of his fourth-quarter foul shots, finishing with 15 points.
Patzoldt also scored 15 in the Aspen victory after scoring 28 in Hotchkiss on Thursday when the Skiers beat the Bulldogs 68-58.
One night later, three Skiers finished in double figures as they improved to 3-1.
Alcorta added nine rebounds to lead the Skiers. Colton Bonk added five points for Aspen.
Greg Schwartz added one of six 3-pointers for the Skiers.
Avery Lujan led Rifle with 17 points, including five 3-pointers — three coming in the opening quarter.
Joe Kosht added 10 points for the Bears, who moved to 3-1 with the Friday night nonconference loss.
Morgan Robinson, with a pair of 3s, scored nine points for Rifle.
The Bears converted only 7-of-19 from the free-throw line in the Aspen gym.
“Our guys are starting to figure it out a little bit,” Aspen head coach Rolf Schildman said. “That’s a very well-coached team there. They are tough.”
He said the Skiers had to take the Bears out of their offensive flow after the opening quarter.
“We had to disrupt their offense,” Schildman said. “We had to stop that first pass. You can’t let them run their offense — it’s like a machine.”
The Skiers, who trailed by six at halftime, outscored Rifle 19-13 in the third quarter.
Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Aspen’s John Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him. He eventually finished runner-up in the iconic race.
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