Rams take down Longhorns in boys’ action
Roger Walters’ third-quarter tongue-lashing raised the emotions of the Roaring Fork boys b-ballers at the right time during Saturday’s Class 3A Western Slope League district tournament championship game in Palisade.”Coach questioned our manhood and pride,” Roaring Fork guard Aaron Markham said. “We responded to that.”Ahead 30-20 over Basalt when Walters called timeout, Roaring Fork came out of the break and scored the next 10 points to key the Rams’ 56-40 win. The victory gave Roaring Fork its second-straight district title as well as home court for the first round of the 32-team Class 3A state tournament.”This was exactly the game we expected,” Markham said of Basalt. “We thought that we could pull away, but it was a dog fight.”That was until Walters signaled for the timeout with 5:02 left in the third quarter.Prior to the play stoppage and Walters’ prodding, the Longhorns trailed for most of the contest but refused to be put away.Markham, who led all scorers with 15 points, Christian Tena and Adam Joiner each had two field goals in the run that pushed the Rams’ lead to 40-20.”We needed a little chewing,” Tena said. “We had a good lead, but [Basalt] was fired up. They know us as a team, and they are a high-quality team.”Tena lit the fire by putting in a field goal off an inbounds pass. Markham followed with a driving layup through the Longhorn defense. Then Tena moved Roaring Fork to a commanding 36-20 lead on a put-back off a Rams miss.”I’ve never been an offensive guy,” Tena said. “But I had to do something on the offensive end.”Roaring Fork also frustrated Basalt’s offense in the third, holding the Longhorns to four points and 2-of-7 from the field.Adam Joiner and Nic Lough added 11 each for the Rams. Darren Duroux also scored 11 in a losing effort for Basalt.Roaring Fork, 18-3 overall, drew a No. 1 seed in one of the four eight-team regional brackets. Roaring Fork hosts No. 8 Bayfield (9-12) on Friday at the RFHS gym.No. 4 Basalt (12-10) faces No. 5 Strasburg (18-5) in Buena Vista Friday. No. 8 Aspen (7-15) will take on No. 1 Buena Vista (19-3) in Buena Vista.In the 3A WSL district semifinals Friday, Roaring Fork overpowered Aspen, 64-32, and Basalt took a 42-34 decision over Gunnison.Lough led all scorers with 23 points in the Ram-Skier contest. Longhorns Darren Duroux and Cody Burkholder shared high-point honors in the Gunnison game with 13 points each.
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