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Patient Rams too much for Titans

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jim Ryan Special to the Post Independent
ALL |

CARBONDALE – Coal Ridge boys basketball coach Paul Harvey told his players not to fall in love with the jump shot.

They didn’t listen.

Going up against a stingy Roaring Fork defense didn’t much help matters for the Titans, who suffered a 44-37 loss to the Rams in Carbondale on Saturday.

“Credit Roaring Fork’s defense,” Harvey said. “They really help out well and know how to clog the paint. That forced us into shooting jumpers, setting for the jump shot. I told them not to fall in love with the J, and they did.”

The Rams had their jumpers working early, taking a 19-8 lead after a quarter behind a triple apiece from Clay Gross, Dakotah Grett and Dalton Handy. Handy’s dropped with 3 seconds left.

Trading baskets with Coal Ridge in the second quarter, Roaring Fork maintained its 11-point cushion, taking a 29-18 lead into halftime.

From there, the Rams did their best to slow the pace, working the ball around the perimeter and milking the clock.

“They showed a lot of patience today,” Roaring Fork coach Larry Williams said. “Most of the time, they did really well with it.”

Coal Ridge twice cut its deficit to five points (29-24 and 38-33) in the second half, but poor shooting and timely buckets by the Rams kept the Titans at bay.

“We were really trying to stop Coal Ridge from trying to penetrate,” Grett, a sophomore, said. “We wanted to make sure they weren’t knocking down their 3s. We tried to play the best defense we could.”

The Titans shot at just a 14-for-50 clip (28 percent) from the floor.

“They’re very good at playing with the lead,” Harvey said. “That’s one of Coach Williams’ strong points. If you get him the lead, it’s tough to come back. They’re very patient. That’s the antithesis of us. We’re kind of impatient. Sometimes that gets us, like tonight. We didn’t get great shots.”

Handy led Roaring Fork (7-3, 4-0 in the 3A Western Slope League) with 13 points. Grett chipped in with nine, Jake Strack-Loertscher seven and Clay Gross six. Trae Moxley finished with eight rebounds.

Darik Brown paced Coal Ridge (6-4, 3-1) with 13 points. Brandon Bates scored six for the Titans, who host Gunnison on Friday.

Roaring Fork, now in sole possession of first place in the 3A WSL, is at Rifle on Friday.

A win’s a win, no matter how they come.

While it wasn’t pretty, Coal Ridge assistant girls basketball coach Damon Martinez happily welcomed Saturday’s 41-25 victory over Roaring Fork.

“We’ll take it,” said a smiling Martinez, who was filling in for head coach Rick Schmitz. Schmitz was busy celebrating his wife’s 50th birthday. “A W’s a W. We can’t complain.”

After playing at a frenetic pace in a 54-34 loss in Rifle the night before, the Titans’ legs didn’t appear to be at full strength.

“It was a little bit of a hangover,” Martinez said. “Playing Rifle, I think all our energy was spent last night, so we were flat.”

The Titans took a 13-7 lead into halftime, extending the advantage to 23-13 after three quarters.

Carly Cloninger and Chasity Gonzales poured in 10 points apiece for Coal Ridge (7-3, 3-1). Paige Ryan scored eight and Ciara Chacon finished with six points and eight rebounds.

Megan Gianinetti led Roaring Fork (0-10, 0-4) with 15 points.

“Turnovers hurt us,” Rams coach Justin Perdue said. “And not making free throws, not making our gimmes.

“I told them at halftime it would come down to a few possessions, a few shots here and there.”

jcaspersen@postindependent.com


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