Roaring Fork boys ready for regionals |

Roaring Fork boys ready for regionals

G. Sean KellyGlenwood Springs correspondent

CARBONDALE – Roaring Fork has been here before.Like last year, the Rams boys basketball team has the luxury of hosting the Class 3A regional playoff rounds, and – like last year – Roaring Fork hasn’t lost in a long time – almost three months, or 18 games.But forward Christian Tena and the rest of the Rams know that a new season starts in March, and in this season it’s one-and-done.”We can’t have any slumps,” Tena said. “We have to play the whole game and can’t take any minutes off. Last year we learned that in three minutes when we went through a slump (in the 2004 state semifinals) and it took us out of the state championship game. “It’s a different level of competing now.”Different level or not, the No. 1 seed Rams (18-3) won’t adjust their game to No. 8 Bayfield (9-12) for today’s 8 p.m. contest at the Roaring Fork gym. The winner advances to the sweet 16 of the Class 3A state tourney.”We’ve been talking about their approach so we know how to control the game,” Tena said. “Basically, we’ll make them play our style.”The Rams’ style under head coach Roger Walters consists of relentless defense and constant motion to make up for a lack of size. It’s worked well so far as Roaring Fork has allowed more than 50 points only once against a 3A opponent.”I think we’ll just approach it the same way as last year,” Tena said. “We’ll do what we’ve been doing – mostly defense is what’s gotten us here.”The Rams have plenty of offense to go along with the stifling defense.Nic Lough leads Roaring Fork with more than 17 points per game, but the offense revolves around point guard Aaron Markham. Markham averages 14.5 points and leads Class 3A with 8.3 assists per game. He is also second in the state with 3.9 steals per game. Tena is the main man in the paint, with 10 points per contest.Bayfield counters with 6-foot-6 paint player Troy McCoy, who averages almost 13 points. Guard C.J. Bell is also a threat, at 11.6 points per game. In the other boys regional game at Roaring Fork Friday, No. 4 University (13-10) takes on No. 5 Holy Family (13-10) at 4 p.m. The winners advance to the regional championship at 3 p.m. Saturday at Roaring Fork High School. The regional champion moves on to the final eight of the 3A state tourney.Basalt, Aspen hit road for regional roundFinally, the Basalt Longhorns boys basketball team doesn’t face a No. 1 seed in the first regional game. But the Aspen boys do.The Longhorns (12-10), who were a No. 8 seed the past two seasons, enter the regional round in Buena Vista with a No. 4 seed this year. The ‘Horns face No. 5 Strasburg (18-5) at 4:45 p.m.No. 8 seed Aspen (7-15), meanwhile, faces No. 1 Buena Vista in their gym tonight.The two first-round winners will tip off for the right to advance to the final eight on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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