Boys basketball: R.F. holds off Aspen rally |

Boys basketball: R.F. holds off Aspen rally

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

A furious fourth-quarter comeback fell just short for the Skiers on Saturday.

The Aspen High School boys basketball team, trailing by as many as 14 frustrating points, surged in the final 8 minutes of the Western Slope League game against visiting Roaring Fork.

But the resilient Rams, who saw their 14-point lead shrink to three, held off the Skiers by converting free throw after free throw down the stretch.

Final score: Roaring Fork boys 52, Aspen boys 48.

A disjointed second quarter left the Skiers gasping for air as Roaring Fork accumulated a 30-16 halftime lead, helped by a pair of 3-pointers by Chering Sherpa and another trey by Ben Carpenter.

Aspen’s rally actually started late in the third quarter when Tristan Niskanen scored on the inside, Jack Rosenthal hit a basket and Evan Patzoldt hit a pair of baskets to reduce the Roaring Fork lead to 38-28 entering the fourth period.

The flurry that activated the home student crowd came midway through the final quarter when Patzoldt hit a layup and then two free throws, followed by an inside basket by Dominick Alcorta, who had watched the third quarter with a hand injury.

Down by seven points, the Skiers were forced to foul, and they used the exchange to pull to within 43-38 with 2:42 to play on a Patzoldt putback.

The Skiers would pull to within three points on two occasions — at 47-44 and again at 49-46.

But Carpenter and Raul Leyva hit key foul shots over the final minute and a half to give the Roaring Fork boys their second win of the season over the Skiers. Carpenter, who led the Rams with 13 points, hit 5-of-7 free throws in the fourth quarter. Leyva converted 3-of-4.

The Rams also had a key 3-pointer in the fourth period from Aldo Pinela.

In all, the Roaring Fork boys made 14 of 26 free throws.

They improved to 9-5 overall, 6-3 in the Western Slope League. They were coming off a 61-49 loss at Coal Ridge on Friday.

Sherpa added 11 for the Rams. Leyva finished with eight.

Patzoldt, who scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, paced Aspen with 16 points.

Alcorta added 12. Niskanen added six.

Wyatt Feagan scored five for Aspen, including a 3-pointer.

The Skiers, who managed only five points in the second period, finished strong with a 20-point fourth quarter. They went to the free-throw line nine times, converting four.

With the loss, the Aspen boys moved to 6-6 overall, 2-5 in league play.

Aspen lost to powerhouse Moffat County 81-66 on Friday night.

The Aspen boys will play at Gunnison next Friday before a game at Olathe next Saturday.

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