Boys basketball: Grand Valley rallies by Aspen
When it comes to music and basketball, the Grand Valley boys know the score.
The visiting Grand Valley Cardinals and the host Aspen Skiers and their fans were serenaded by the spirited Air Force Band on Saturday afternoon at Aspen High School.
The band, in Aspen for the annual Winterskol parade, performed their traditional repertoire of snappy tunes in the AHS gym.
But when the close game moved into the fourth quarter, the Cardinals started marching to their own drummer — tuning up a crescendo of an offensive attack.
With a dizzying 13-2 run to open the final period, the Grand Valley boys rolled away to a 70-52 victory in the Western Slope League game.
The Skiers had opened the key conference game with an offensive flurry of their own.
A 3-pointer from Jack Rosenthal and a layup from Zack George at the first-quarter buzzer gave the Skiers a frantic 20-19 lead entering the second period.
An even second quarter, marked by turnovers from both teams, left the score 34-32 at halftime with Grand Valley up.
With defensive changes, the Cardinals held Aspen to eight points in the third period, easing to a 49-40 lead as play headed to the fourth quarter.
The deciding surge to open the fourth started with a dunk off a steal by Grand Valley’s all-stater John Parker, who would lead all scorers with 23 points.
Gunner Rigsby — his real name — hit a driving layup and then passed to Parker for a basket. Rigsby then nailed a 3-pointer from the corner to push Grand Valley into a 58-40 lead.
The frustrating Cardinals’ defense held the Skiers scoreless for nearly three minutes of the final period.
AJ Detrick broke the spell for the Skiers with two foul shots at the 5:08 mark.
But by then the lead was up to 20 as the Cardinals improved to 8-2 overall, 4-1 in the Western Slope League.
Aspen, coming off a big win at Olathe on Friday, fell to 4-4 overall, 1-2 in league play.
Rosenthal led the Skiers in scoring with 17 points, including one 3-pointer. He also had five rebounds.
Tristan Niskanen added 13 points for the Skiers.
Detrick scored eight; George totaled six; and Will Hazen scored four.
Quinton O’Keeffe added a 3-pointer for Aspen.
Parker’s 23 led Grand Valley. He also had eight rebounds.
Teammate Tanner Magee finished with a double-double — 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Rigsby finished with 19 for Grand Valley, including three 3s.
The Cardinals, in all, hit seven 3-pointers.
The Skiers will jump back into league play next weekend when they host Coal Ridge on Friday before traveling to Basalt next Saturday.
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There might be part of Hailey Swirbul that is finally beginning to believe she belongs. The 22-year-old cross-country skier is coming off quite a stretch with the U.S. ski team, one that includes her first career World Cup podium and a successful go in the notorious Tour de Ski stage race.