Rams dominant against Skiers
Aspen, CO ColoradoASPEN Kyle Raaflaub brought the Roaring bench and cheering section to its feet in the early minutes of the fourth quarter in Saturday’s basketball game in Aspen.Raaflaub took an inbounds pass 1 minute, 10 seconds into the quarter, split two defenders and dunked the ball. The emphatic basket gave Roaring Fork a 43-24 lead, and all but sank the Skiers. The emphatic basket left little doubt as to who is the 3A Western Slope’s elite team.A game billed as a battle between the league’s top two teams was decidedly one-sided. Roaring Fork (5-1 overall, 1-0 3A Western Slope) used its length on defense and balance on offense to frustrate the Skiers (4-3, 1-1) the entire game. The Rams, led by Raaflaub’s 17 points, doubled up Aspen, 64-32.”A play like that really brings the fans and the team up,” Raaflaub said. “It took the last breath out of Aspen, and gave us an extra one.”Raaflaub’s dunk sparked an 8-0 Rams run during the next 3 1/2 minutes. The senior was one of three Roaring Fork players – Tyler Hunt (17) and Kade Gianinetti (13) – to score in double digits. Ten of Gianinetti’s 13 points came in the second half as Roaring Fork steadily pulled away.
Junior Torrey Udall scored five of his nine points in the game’s first four minutes to fuel a 7-0 Roaring Fork run. The 6-foot-7 Udall first took Aspen junior Michael Taylor off the dribble and to the hoop, then stepped back and buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key.The Rams took their time on offense, draining seconds on the clock as they strung together as many as 10 passes per offensive possession. They took an 11-5 edge after the first quarter and stretched their lead to 11 at the half.”Our goal was to get high percentage shots,” said Roaring Fork head coach Roger Walters. “Against a team like Aspen that plays great defense, sometimes it takes eight to 10 passes to get a good look.”Perhaps the Rams were most successful in containing Aspen standout Cory Parker. The 6-5 junior, who was averaging nearly 25 points per contest heading into Saturday, was shadowed by as many as four different players throughout the game. He scored just two points in a first quarter in which Aspen had just one field goal, and just five in the first half. Parker finished with just 11 points. He spent the game’s final three minutes on the bench, his face buried in his warmups.
“They out-physicaled, out-rebounded and outplayed us,” said Aspen head coach Steve Ketchum. “We got down 20, and the guys felt like they had nothing to lose. They started being aggressive and taking the ball to the hole. It was a little late. “It’s tough to score against a team that plays defense like that. I think our guys came out a little scared, as evidenced by the airballs and turnovers.”The Skiers started slow Friday, but were able to overcome a double digit first-half deficit in Basalt. Following Aspen’s 60-51 win, Parker said the Skiers would not be able to overcome similar early struggles against the Rams. He was right.”Losing always hurts,” said Ketchum, whose team won’t play again until Jan. 12. “This one leaves a bad taste in our mouths. We’ll have to live with this for a month.”
The Rams travel to Basalt on Tuesday at 7 p.m.Roaring Fork girls top Skiers, 57- 31It took less only four minutes for the Aspen girls basketball team to unravel in Saturday’s game with Roaring Fork.The Skiers (1-6), which were tied with the Rams (4-2) at halftime, could do little to contend with Roaring Fork’s full-court pressure in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Aspen turned the ball over eight times in just four minutes, fueling a 19-2 Rams run. Skiers coach Jeremy Haack burned two timeouts in two minutes to try to quell Roaring Fork’s momentum. The damage was done, however.Aspen trailed by 13 after the third quarter and would get no closer than 11 the rest of the way as the Rams rolled, 57-31.
“I told the girls the third quarter would be huge, and I thought we had a chance,” said first-year Aspen head coach Jeremy Haack. “If we turned the ball over half as many times as we did, we may have had a chance.” Both teams struggled to find continuity on offense in a first quarter in which they combined to score just 10 points. Skiers junior Kerri Kimmel scored both Aspen buckets. She used her size down low and bounced one off the glass. Junior Julia Hassall then weaved through the defense and found Kimmel all alone underneath for an easy two. Hassall, who led all scorers with 17, scored three consecutive baskets to open the second quarter, giving Aspen a four-point lead. Rams junior Celeste Cummings answered with a long 3-pointer from the wing, and junior Heather Sebald went up strong to put Roaring Fork back out in front. After a first half marred by turnovers and sloppy play, the two teams went to the locker room tied at 11. One night earlier, Aspen and Basalt combined to score 51 points during the game’s first 16 minutes.The Rams ramped up their defensive pressure in the opening minutes of the third, which yielded easy baskets and cured their offensive woes. They scored 13 points in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the quarter, coasting the rest of the way. Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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Overall state champions in high school skiing are determined by combining results from Alpine and Nordic. Aspen swept both the boys and girls state titles in 2020, just as they did in 2018. The AHS boys also won the state title in 2019, while the girls finished as the state runner-up.