Boys basketball: Coal Ridge beats Aspen with late surge
The Aspen Times
The Titans are on top — still.
The Coal Ridge High School boys basketball team broke open a close game with a big fourth-quarter surge, defeating Aspen 60-46 at the AHS gymnasium.
The Titans, the leaders of the Western Slope League, battled the Skiers in a back-and-forth opening three quarters.
Coal Ridge led by two points after the first quarter.
When Will Hazen hit a 3-pointer for Aspen right before halftime, the Aspen boys took a 22-21 lead.
Jack Rosenthal of the Skiers banked in a jumper at the end of the third quarter to tie the game at 36-36 with the fourth quarter remaining.
Aspen stunned the Titans with another 3-pointer from Rosenthal to open the fourth, giving the Skiers a 39-36 lead before a modest, but entertained crowd.
That’s when Coal Ridge junior Hunter Gerber stepped to center stage.
After hitting two free throws, Gerber returned the lead to Coal Ridge with a driving, acrobatic layup and a 40-39 lead.
Gerbers’ points started what would be a devastating 24-7 run by Coal Ridge over the final six minutes of the game.
Gerber scored eight points in the quarter, including 5-of-6 foul shots, finishing with a game-high 24 points. He hit three of Coal Ridge’s seven 3-pointers.
Teammate Brandon Herrera, also with three 3s, added 12 points as the Coal Ridge boys improved to 5-0 in the Western Slope League, 6-4 overall.
Aspen was paced by 22 points from Rosenthal, a senior. He converted four 3-pointers against the Titans.
Fellow senior Tristan Niskanen nearly posted a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds Friday night.
Hazen added eight points for the Skiers.
Zack George added one of Aspen’s seven 3-pointers in the league loss.
Nine different players scored for Coal Ridge.
Aspen moved to 1-3 in conference play, 4-5 overall.
The Skiers will travel to Basalt on Saturday for a rivalry game against the Longhorns at the Big House.
The boys varsity will start about 4 p.m. The girls varsity game will start about 2:30 p.m.
David Stapleton is the development officer for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. A product of the club, AVSC sat down with Stapleton for a Q&A session in this week’s Clubhouse Chronicles.