Defense helps Aspen boys win 11th in a row
The Aspen Times
Defense provided the fuel for the Aspen High School boys basketball team Friday night at Coal Ridge.
The Skiers, ranked No. 4 in Class 3A by coloradopreps.com, collected their 11th consecutive win with a 60-42 victory over the Titans at New Castle.
“Our defense was awesome,” Aspen boys head coach Steve Ketchum said. “We really had incredible defensive effort by all of our guys.”
He said the Skiers jumped out to a 16-6 lead in the first quarter.
The Aspen boys led 32-16 at halftime.
“They made a couple of good runs, but we were able to respond,” Ketchum said, adding that the defense of junior guard Levi Wright set the tone for the road win.
“Levi’s defense was off the hook. He held their best 3-point shooter to zero points … zero,” Ketchum said.
He said the Aspen interior defense did an outstanding job against the post players for Coal Ridge.
“None of their posts were near double figures,” Ketchum said as the Skiers improved to 13-2 overall and a perfect 12-0 in the Western Slope League.
Evan Patzoldt led the Aspen offense with 21 points, including three 3-pointers. He was 2-for-2 at the free-throw line.
Senior Trent Lichtenwalter totaled 18 points, including two 3-pointers. He was 4-for-4 at the foul line.
Fellow senior Clayton Crawford, who also hit two 3-pointers, finished with 16 points.
“We still had way too many turnovers, but this was a great road win for us,” Ketchum said, adding that junior varsity call-up Shane Ormond hit a 3-pointer for the Skiers. “Those were his first varsity points.”
He said the Skiers now will focus on a key road trip to Craig on Tuesday when the Aspen boys will take on the No. 9-ranked Moffat County Bulldogs (10-2 overall, 8-1 in league). The Bulldogs will host Basalt today.
In girls basketball, Coal Ridge topped the Aspen girls 48-19.
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A confident group early in the season, the Aspen High School boys soccer team lost its footing midway through and could have seen its playoff aspirations slip away. But the Skiers came together in a way they hadn’t in many years.