New-look Aspen boys hold off Coal Ridge
The Aspen Times
The new-look Aspen Skiers needed some familiar faces.
And familiar numbers.
The Aspen High School boys basketball team battled a rash of injuries, built a double-digit lead and then held off hard-charging Coal Ridge, 47-41, on Friday night at the AHS gym.
The Skiers, who also battled foul problems in the first game after the holiday break, had to use different lineup combinations Friday with the loss of senior Parker Johnson to a knee injury this week.
Plus, junior Evan Patzoldt had suffered a sprained ankle in practice and wasn’t expected to play much against the Titans.
But Patzoldt, in spite of the tender ankle, came off the bench to spark the Skiers in the first half as they built a 39-24 halftime lead.
Aspen seniors Clayton Crawford and Trent Lichtenwalter doubled up with a pair of double-doubles in the key Western Slope League victory. Crawford finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds; fellow all-stater Lichtenwalter finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Patzoldt scored 10 and added five rebounds as the Aspen boys improved to 4-2 overall and a perfect 3-0 in the Western Slope League.
Crawford and Lichtenwalter also combined to limit Coal Ridge center Andy Bowles (6-6) to 11 points — the Titan’s leading scorer.
Alec Herrera added nine points for the Titans on three 3-pointers.
Coal Ridge, in all, hit six 3-pointers to stay in the game and then close the lead against the Skiers.
A long 3-pointer from Jacob Solinger cut Aspen’s lead to 45-36 with 3:14 to play.
Crawford, playing with four fouls, stopped the Coal Ridge run with a basket — what would be the Skiers’ final hoop of the game.
Baskets from Bowles, Richie Winkler and a 3-pointer from Herrera sliced the final score to 47-41, in spite of a pair of missed Aspen foul shots in the final 16 seconds.
Ely Arreola added six for the Titans, including a 3-pointer.
The Coal Ridge boys (2-5 overall, 2-2 in league) will host Basalt in another conference game today.
The Aspen boys also collected six points from Dominick Alcorta and five from new starter Patrick Martin (including the Skiers’ only 3-pointer).
Sophomore guard Jack Rosenthal, another new starter this week, added a basket for the Skiers, who also had defensive help from J.J. Ready, Levi Wright and Ryan Scheidt.
The Skiers will take Friday’s victory into a showdown today for the conference lead.
Highly regarded Moffat County (Craig) will visit Aspen High School with the boys varsity game scheduled for 4 p.m. today.
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Sophomore Ava Lane is a flourishing star in her own right, but spends a lot of her time trying to chase down senior Sierra Bower and sophomore Katelyn Maley, both in practice and in races. This, however, is only making her stronger down the line and it’s not a task she will shy away from.