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Hoops: Dawson scores 25, Aspen cruises at home

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Saddled with foul trouble, Bridger Dawson spent large stretches of Tuesday’s game on the bench.

The Aspen big man sure made his time on the court count. He scored 11 straight points to open the third quarter, helping turn a three-possession game against visiting Moffatt County into a rout. The senior finished with 25 points, helping propel the Skiers to an easy 58-32 victory in their first game after winter break.

With the win, Aspen improved to 3-3. It opens 3A Western Slope play at 7 p.m. Friday against visiting Coal Ridge.

“We had two practices last week and one [Monday], but we looked good,” Skiers assistant coach Greg Gerbaz said. “When we’re patient and pound the ball inside, we seem to do alright.”

Dawson pulled down two offensive rebounds and scored six points in the opening quarter to stake Aspen to a 15-11 advantage.

He converted a runner in the lane, then a lay-up in transition in the opening minutes of the second quarter before picking up a third foul and heading to the bench with his team ahead, 19-13.

Bulldogs senior Dylon Camilletti buried a 3-pointer and hit two free throws to trim his team’s deficit to four with about 2 minutes to play in the half. The Skiers produced an answer, however, as McCall Kauss and Jake Nugent both scored baskets down the stretch to extend the Aspen lead to eight at the break.

“[Dawson] came out with foul trouble … and we increased the lead,” Gerbaz said. “I figure that should give [the other players] good confidence.”

Added Dawson: “They played well without me. … We’re definitely going to need a team effort if we’re going to make a run.”

The Skiers played well with Dawson on the floor, too. He opened the third quarter with two three-point plays under the hoop, then stepped back and drained a 3, stretching the lead to 37-20 and prompting a Moffatt County timeout.

“I can’t really explain it, but I felt like I couldn’t miss,” Dawson said. “That always feels good.”

Soon after, Dawson controlled a pass at the top of the key and drove right past a host of Bulldogs defenders for an easy lay-in.

The 6-foot-8 standout’s most impressive play likely came in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter; he received the inbound pass, dribbled the length of the court, spun past a Moffatt County player and scored off the glass. The effort drew whistles from the Aspen student section.

Dawson was taken out with about 5 minutes remaining as the home team emptied its bench.

Eight Skiers scored during the final eight minutes. Quinn Morehead finished with seven points, while Mike Schwartz and Clayton Crawford each pitched in with six.

Angelo Raftopoulos scored 12 points and Camilletti added seven for the Bulldogs (1-8), who lost, 54-41, to Basalt on Monday.

jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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