Hoops: Basalt boys no match for Nugent, rival Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Hoops: Basalt boys no match for Nugent, rival Aspen

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jim Ryan/Special to The Aspen TimesSkiers senior Jake Nugent goes up strong against a host of Basalt defenders Friday at Aspen High School. Nugent finished with 15 points in a Skiers rout.

ASPEN – No Austin Roark, no problem for the Aspen boys.

On a night when their standout post player was relegated to the bench because of illness, the rest of the Skiers more than picked up the slack against undersized and overmatched rival Basalt.

A bout between the 3A Western Slope’s best and worst teams played out as expected, as Aspen seized control shortly after tip-off and never was tested. Aspen scored 25 of the game’s first 26 points, amassed a 29-point lead at halftime and rolled to a

73-14 win.

“You never want to see that in terms of a blowout,” Skiers head coach Steve Ketchum said.

“Our starters played half the game, we did not press and did not try to run up the score at all. We played 12 guys today, and some of them got in a varsity game for the first time and scored their first points ever. I’m very happy for them.”

The winless Longhorns (0-9 overall, 0-4 conference), who dropped their first three conference games by an average of 28 points, looked lost on both sides of the court from the outset Friday. Aspen (8-2,

5-0), meanwhile, went to work quickly. Senior Jake Nugent scored on the game’s opening possession, sparking a 11-0 run in the first 5 minutes, 40 seconds.

While Basalt could muster just one first-quarter point – a free throw from Javier Huerta with 2:17 remaining – the Skiers moved the ball at will, generated multiple open looks and jumped out to a 16-1 lead after eight minutes. Five different players scored.

That trend continued in the second. James Powell drilled a 3, Nugent converted a three-point play and Quinn Morehead scored from long distance in the early stages of the frame, giving the Skiers a 25-1 cushion.

They were equally as impressive on defense. Aspen did not allow a field goal for the game’s first 10 1/2 minutes. Huerta finally got a shot to fall at the 5:30 mark.

The junior scored six of the visitors’ seven first-half points.

“We set some defensive goals tonight,” Ketchum said. “We more than met them. I’m very happy for them.”

The onslaught continued in the third, as the Skiers opened with a 15-0 run highlighted by six points from sophomore Clayton Crawford and five from Morehead.

Aspen outscored Basalt, 22-2, in the quarter. The starters, who played sparingly, headed to the bench for good with 4:30 remaining in the fourth.

“I just thought we played great tonight, especially without Austin,” Ketchum said. “Everybody played hard and tried to play together.”

Nugent finished with 15 points, Morehead added nine and freshman Evan Patzoldt pitched in with eight for the Skiers, who figure to receive a much stiffer test Saturday: They host Grand Valley, the Slope’s second-best team, at 4 p.m.

“I’m glad we got to rest a lot of starters. We shouldn’t be too tired tomorrow – that can’t be our excuse,” Ketchum said. “We’ve got a hell of a fight coming up. It will be the biggest game of the year so far for us.”


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