Moffat Co. nips Aspen boys for district title |

Moffat Co. nips Aspen boys for district title

Aspen High School's Clayton Crawford pulls down a rebound during Friday night's District Tournament semifinal against Coal Ridge and Dusty Taylor (11). The Skiers beat Coal Ridge to advance to Saturday's tournament championship against Moffat County.
Jim Ryan/Special to The Aspen Times |

The Western Slope District Tournament championship slipped away from the Aspen High School boys basketball team Saturday night in Palisade.

The Skiers, with a six-point lead entering the fourth quarter, watched as Moffat County put up a dizzying 25 points in the final period for a 62-54 victory and the tournament championship.

The Aspen boys managed only 11 points in the fourth quarter — limited by foul problems and a facial cut that sidelined senior Trent Lichtenwalter for significant minutes in the final period.

Moffat County went on a 12-4 run early in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 50-50. The Bulldogs had trailed 43-37 entering the final eight minutes of play.

With long-range shooting from Kort Hathhorn and Joe Camilletti and a dunk shot from 6-7 Javen Gumber, Moffat County took the lead for good at 55-54 with 2:00 to play.

Aspen senior Levi Wright, plagued by foul trouble, had given the Skiers their last lead of the game when he hit two free throws earlier for a 54-52 Aspen lead.

Senior Clayton Crawford triggered Aspen’s early run against Moffat County. He had 16 points in the first half. He finished with 18.

Lichtenwalter, who played the last few minutes with a large bandage on his head, led the Skiers with 19 points. Evan Patzoldt added seven. Jack Rosenthal hit a 3-pointer for Aspen.

Kathhorn led all scorers with 26 points, including five 3-pointers.

Camilletti added 19 points for the Moffat County boys (18-4).

Aspen, as the No. 2 representative from the Western Slope District Tournament, also is 18-4 heading into the Class 3A Regionals next weekend.

The Skiers now must await the Class 3A seedings to see if they might host one of the eight Class 3A Regionals.

The seedings will be announced today or Monday by CHSAA.

In the boys third-place game, Grand Valley beat Coal Ridge 78-59. Grand Valley is 14-8; Coal Ridge is 11-11.

In the boys consolation final, Roaring Fork knocked off Gunnison 46-41 to earn fifth place and the fifth and final qualifying spot for the Class 3A Regionals next weekend.

Moffat County, Aspen, Grand Valley, Coal Ridge and Roaring Fork will advance to the boys 3A Regionals.

Girls tournament

In the girls division of the Western Slope District Tournament, No. 4 seed Moffat County raced to the championship with a 47-44 victory over No. 2 seed Olathe on Saturday afternoon.

Moffat County (16-6) had knocked off the No. 1 seed Grand Valley girls 52-40 on Friday. Olathe (17-5) had advanced with a 44-20 win over Gunnison on Friday.

Moffat County led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter and 28-26 at halftime.

The Bulldogs also led by two entering the final quarter, 38-36.

Sophomore Leah Camilletti had two key foul shots and a late steal to seal the three-point championship victory. Camilletti finished with 10 points for the Bulldogs.

Allie Ehlers led Moffat County with 13 points.

Theresa Tafoya led Olathe with 13 points. Taylor Gibson added seven for the Pirates.

In the girls third-place game, Grand Valley defeated Gunnison 58-30. Grand Valley is 17-5 on the season; Gunnison’s girls are 8-14.

In the girls fifth-place game Saturday morning at Palisade High School, Cedaredge defeated Coal Ridge 51-42.

The top five teams from the tournament will advance to the 32-team Class 3A Regionals next weekend.

There will be eight regional sites with four teams playing at each site.

The regional winners will move on the Class 3A State Basketball Tournament on March 13-15 at the Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs.

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