Boys basketball: Roaring Fork tops Basalt
The Aspen Times
BASALT — In trying times, the Roaring Fork Rams turned to a familiar friend — defense.
The Roaring Fork High School boys basketball team, with a squeaky-sneaker defensive effort, eased past Basalt 43-38 on Saturday night for the Rams’ second consecutive valley rivalry victory.
The Rams, off to a 3-0 start in the Western Slope League, beat Aspen 60-49 on Friday night in Carbondale.
Roaring Fork hit five 3-pointers in the Big House on Saturday and parlayed a fast first-quarter start into a four-point halftime lead.
The pesky Rams limited the homestanding Longhorns to only five points in the third quarter, extending the lead to 34-28 entering the fourth quarter.
Roaring Fork’s Ben Carpenter hit two key free throws late in the fourth quarter, part of his team-leading 16 points.
The Rams, in all, converted 6-of-8 free throws, including 4-of-6 in the decisive fourth quarter.
The Basalt boys, playing in their second consecutive pressure-packed home game, battled back from the early deficit only to trail by 10 points late in the second quarter.
But Pedro Rivera started a Basalt surge with a 3-pointer.
And at the halftime buzzer, Basalt’s Mike Glen swished an NBA-range 3-pointer to pull the Longhorns to within 27-23.
Glen, who would lead all scorers with 23 points, scored all five points for the Longhorns in the third period.
And the BHS sophomore scored seven consecutive points in the fourth quarter as the Longhorns scrambled to stay in the thriller.
The Rams, with a lead and a foul advantage, burned precious time off the clock with their delay game late, closing out the victory with Carpenter’s final two foul shots with 3.9 seconds left.
Aldo Pinela, with a 3-pointer, scored 11 for Roaring Fork (6-2, 3-0).
Lorenzo Andrade, with two 3-pointers, scored six for the Rams, who also got six points from Ray Acuna.
Pedro Rivera and Pablo Rivera each scored five points for Basalt (2-4 overall, 0-3 in conference).
Wade Soho added three points.
Richie Guerrero scored two points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Glen led all rebounders with 11.
“At the beginning of the game, we were a little slow,” Basalt head coach Danny Martinez said. “You’ve got to bring the energy from the get-go.”
He said the Longhorns did a good job battling back, especially after they were blown out by the Rams in their last meeting.
“Roaring Fork is a good team,” Martinez said. “They are very good defensively, and they take care of the ball. They do the little things right.”
The Rams had only nine turnovers in the game.
“Honestly, that’s the most disciplined team I’ve seen,” Martinez said, also commending the effort of his Longhorns down the stretch.
“Michael (Glen) had some big shots tonight,” he said. “Defensively, we did a pretty good job.”
Williams, too, was pleased with the Roaring Fork boys’ defense.
“We knew that defense would be a strength,” Williams said. “The kids work hard, and we’re quick. We struggle offensively from time to time, so we have to relay on our D.”
He said the Rams did an excellent job with the delay game late in the fourth quarter.
“I was really proud at the end when we went to the stall, we didn’t throw the ball away,” Williams said. “And we made our free throws tonight.”
Basalt will return to action with a game against Moffat County in Craig on Friday night.
Roaring Fork will host Grand Valley next Friday in Carbondale.
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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