Sluggish start dooms Aspen girls
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Skiers guard Rebecca Dolores had the Aspen High School gym buzzing.
Her desperation 3-pointer from just inside half court bounded off the backboard and through the net as time expired in the third quarter Thursday night against Coal Ridge, bringing the crowd to its feet. That momentum carried into the opening two minutes of the fourth. Freshman teammate Bailey Everhart pulled down an offensive board and scored, then Lindsey Anderson hit two free throws and completed a three-point play to finish off an improbable 16-0 run that cut the Titans’ lead to six.
The Aspen girls had life ” but not enough to overcome a frigid start and inconsistent play against the 3A Western Slope’s front-runner. Coal Ridge jumped out to a 16-3 lead after one quarter, smothered the Skiers for much of the night with man-to-man pressure and hung on for a 52-41 victory.
“We beat them in the second half, but you’ve got to beat them for four quarters,” Aspen head coach Jeremy Haack said. “I think after tonight, the girls see what they’re capable of.”
The Skiers (2-5 overall, 0-3 3A Western Slope) did more than just hang with the Titans (6-1, 4-0). They outscored Coal Ridge, 38-36, in the game’s final 24 minutes.
Still, Aspen could not dig itself out of an early hole. The Skiers looked lost on offense in the first eight minutes, struggling to string passes together, hold onto the ball or generate open looks against a Titans defense that extended their pressure well beyond the 3-point arc. Aspen had just one field goal in the first ” Dolores threw up a shot in the corner, then keenly chased down the rebound and finished off the glass ” and it came in the final minute.
It wasn’t much better on defense. The Skiers committed nine fouls during the first, allowing six different Coal Ridge players to score.
The Titans’ balanced play continued in the second quarter. In the final 2:20, Kellyann Romero hit an open jumper, Tori Verdieck scored on the offensive glass, Mikaela Guettler hit two free throws and Chastity Gonzalez picked off a pass and finished in transition. Gonzalez’s basket capped an 8-0 run that stretched Coal Ridge’s lead to 29-12 at halftime.
That advantage ballooned to 24 after Sam Wilson nailed a jumper midway through the third ” more than enough for the Titans to endure a late Aspen run.
“We’re so close,” Haack said. “I told the girls this game would set the tone for the next two weeks. … It was absolutely [a step forward.] We’re getting better.”
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