Hoops: Aspen boys rout Glenwood Springs
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – The Aspen coaching staff scouted Glenwood Springs twice this past week in preparation for Saturday’s clash with the Demons.
It came away impressed – and concerned.
“After watching them play, I thought to myself, ‘I don’t think we can compete with this team. They’re that good,'” head coach Steve Ketchum said. “They almost pulled the upset against Grand Junction, a team that is like 7-0 in 5A, and last night they beat a good Coal Ridge team.
“I don’t know what just happened.”
After stumbling out of the starting gates this season, it looks as though Aspen finally has arrived.
The Skiers made one loud statement against the Demons, dominating from the outset thanks to impressive play from senior stars Austin Roark and Quinn Morehead. The duo combined for 16 points during a first quarter in which the home team quickly amassed a 10-point lead. After 16 minutes, the advantage had ballooned to 28. Aspen never looked back, cruising to a 63-35 victory that had Ketchum shaking his head afterward.
“I’m absolutely shocked. Are you kidding me? Who are these guys?” the coach joked. “I’m very excited and very proud.”
Added Morehead: “No one would’ve thought about doing something like this a few weeks ago – Glenwood is a real solid team. I guess we were just on fire.”
That’s an understatement.
The Skiers (2-2) seemingly scored at will during the opening quarter against a Glenwood team that appeared fatigued one day after outlasting Coal Ridge. Morehead led the charge, scoring nine in the frame, including his team’s first five. The guard was on point from behind the arc, had little trouble penetrating the lane for high-percentage shots and twice burned the Demons in transition.
Glenwood (5-3) had no answer for Roark, either.
“Austin’s really starting to find his niche a little more and is starting to come on,” Ketchum said. “It felt like there was a little bit of jelling going on at times, a little chemistry starting to develop out there.”
The Demons stayed within striking distance largely because of three first-quarter 3-pointers, two courtesy of Collin Porterfield. They could muster just one field goal and three points during the second, however, and trailed 42-14 at the break.
“The defense seemed to work well,” Ketchum said. “We didn’t give up easy baskets and rebounded really well. And we just shot great in that first half.”
Added Glenwood coach Cory Hitchcock: “We came in here 5-2 and were hanging with 5A teams and playing our type of basketball. I just don’t think we showed up to play tonight.
“This was a trap game. We show up one night and play in a packed house [and win], then come here tonight, on the first day of break, and the crowd’s not into it and we don’t have energy. I’m not making excuses, though. Aspen came out strong and really wanted it more than us. And you don’t get whipped by 30 because you’re a good basketball team.”
The onslaught continued in the second half. The Skiers led by 26 after a sluggish third quarter by both sides, then were resting their starters down the stretch as they coasted to the surprising win – their second this week over 4A competition. They nailed a late 3 Monday night to pull out a one-point victory over Steamboat Springs.
Morehead finished with a game-high 21 points Saturday. Roark pitched in with 17 and Clayton Crawford 12 for Aspen, which will not play again until Jan. 5, when it hosts Roaring Fork in a much-anticipated 3A Western Slope showdown.
Porterfield led the Demons with 12 points.
“What a great feeling going into the break after back-to-back quality wins,” Ketchum said. “How long ago was it [when we lost to Eagle Valley and Meeker]? Two weeks? It seems like light years away.”
Added Morehead: “We played together tonight. Nobody had an ego, and we just made it happen. We can still play better, too. … We definitely can be a good team.”
The Skiers were no match for the Demons’ balanced offensive attack and stingy defense Saturday afternoon.
Three different players scored in double figures for Glenwood, which led 29-18 at halftime and pulled away during a third quarter in which it surrendered just four Aspen points.
“They’re a great team. They move the ball well and shoot the ball well,” Skiers head coach Jeremy Haack said. “I thought our girls played hard and competed well.”
Especially during the early stages of the opening quarter, when the Demons struggled to run their offense in the half court. Hayley Kremer’s transition basket with about 4 minutes remaining pulled Aspen to within one at 8-7.
Glenwood answered with a 7-2 spurt fueled by four points from standout Lexie Warkentin and a key 3-pointer from Delaney Gaddis, who scored nine of her 14 points in the opening frame.
The Demons spread the floor and moved the ball well during the second quarter. Had it not been for a slew of misses from close range, they likely would’ve led by more than 11 at the break.
No matter. Glenwood’s defense effectively put this game out of reach in the third quarter.
“They ran a zone defense for much of the second half, and at times it was hard to get a shot off,” Haack said. “We’ve definitely got some things to clean up.”
Warkentin finished with 16 points and Connor Adams added 15 – all in the second half – for the Demons, who improved to 9-0.
Bailey Everhart scored 13 points for the Skiers, who have dropped two straight since opening the season with three consecutive wins.
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