Roaring Fork basketball rolls to sweep of rival Basalt on Friday night
The Roaring Fork girls used a decisive 15-0 first-half scoring run in building a 29-17 halftime advantage, as the Rams held serve from that point on to defeat the rival Basalt Longhorns on Friday evening in Basalt, 47-36.
“The scoring run was a key, but we knew coming in that Basalt would be a different team than the first time we played them,” Roaring Fork Head Coach Jade Bath said. “But we’re a different team, too. We settled in, moved the ball around and played our game. It was fun to watch.”
Things looked good for the Longhorns early on as senior guard Nicole Alvarado dropped in the first baskets of the game as the home team, dressed in white, took a quick 4-0 lead. The game took a decided turn for the worse after that for Basalt.
Roaring Fork junior Kendall Bernot hit a banked-in free throw and fellow junior post Gabriela Santana hit a free throw and scored a basket down low to give the visitors from Carbondale a 5-4 lead that they would never relinquish.
Another junior for the Rams, Logan Erickson, would get into the scoring act from a bit farther out as she hit two 3-pointers to give Roaring Fork an 11-4 lead after the initial period of play.
Erickson and Bernot kept the Rams on the right track with baskets in the painted area as the second quarter began and the advantage for Roaring Fork jumped up to 15-6. The height of Santana near the basket and foul trouble were big obstacles for Basalt, but senior Cintia Miramontes finally broke the scoring slumber for the Longhorns with two free throws to get her team moving in the right direction again.
Santana was quick with an answering basket on a spin move to the hoop from the right elbow, and athletic Ram guard Emily Broadhurst added a steal and a left-handed layup to make it 29-13.
Basalt wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet as senior Kate Schrock hit a 3-pointer to start the second half, and sophomore Taylor Glen converted a steal into a layup to cut the Longhorn deficit to 29-22, forcing Bath to take a timeout to talk with her Rams.
With Basalt inching closer, Santana hit a leaning bank shot from the right side and Bernot scored a couple of baskets down low to stem the Longhorn tide, putting the Rams up 35-25 entering the fourth quarter.
Schrock and sophomore Riley Webb hit 3-pointers to give Basalt one final boost, but another basket by Bernot and a jumper from Roaring Fork’s lone senior, Megan Nieslanik, helped the Rams to secure the big conference road win.
Roaring Fork (8-5, 2-3 WSL) was led in scoring by Erickson with 15 points, Bernot tallied 14, and Santana chipped in with 10 points. Webb took scoring honors for Basalt (4-10, 1-3) with 10 points.
The Rams will be at home Saturday afternoon to face Olathe at 2:30 p.m. in another Western Slope League contest.
ROARING FORK 72, BASALT 43
As time was nearing expiration in the third quarter of Friday night’s rivalry battle between the Basalt Longhorns and Roaring Fork Rams (11-2, 4-1 3A WSL), senior forward Justin Thompson drove the right baseline and rose up, seemingly to the rafters, and dropped down a rim-rattling dunk over a host of defenders to give his Rams a commanding 58-35 lead en route to a 72-43 Western Slope League victory at Basalt’s “Big House.”
The 23-point margin heading into the fourth quarter was in no way indicative of the competitive first half of play which saw the Longhorns draw as close as 25-19 on a Jake Reardon basket near the end of the second quarter. Roaring Fork junior guard Ronald Clemente would score on consecutive drives to the basket, though, as the Rams would up the ante and lead 32-22 at the intermission.
Basalt had trouble for much of the evening with the all around play of Thompson, and the inside strength of 6’3” junior postman Joe Salinas. Dominant on the boards throughout the game, the Rams began to look hard for Salinas on the block in the second half, and the big man didn’t disappoint as he garnered a rebound and scored on a putback to give Roaring Fork a 42-27 cushion. Salinas would score again on a spin move to the basket as the Rams began to run away and hide at 47-29.
Roaring Fork’s third quarter burst was helped along by consecutive 3-pointers from junior guard Oscar Miranda to open the quarter and the inside rebounding, scoring, and defense of another junior, Aidan Sloan.
Senior Justin Henderson had a solid game to help along the Basalt cause, scoring 12 points, as did fellow senior Wylie Hawkins, who had 8 points. But the Rams, still in the hunt for the top spot in the WSL, proved too tough on the evening.
Thompson and Salinas tied for scoring honors for Roaring Fork, each tossing in 20 points. Sloan and Miranda helped the cause with 9 points each.
With the loss, Basalt Head Coach CP Martinez and his Longhorns drop to 4-10 overall and 2-2 in league play.
Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Aspen’s John Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him. He eventually finished runner-up in the iconic race.
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