Sluggish start dooms Aspen girls | AspenTimes.com
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Sluggish start dooms Aspen girls

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN Roaring Fork’s Rebecca Roeber stood at the free throw line, eyes fixed on the rim.Her team led by 15 late in the third quarter Tuesday, but the Skiers, buoyed by guard Georgia Lipkin’s back-to-back 3-pointers, appeared poised to mount a comeback.

Roeber’s first shot clanged off the rim. After releasing the ball on her second attempt, the senior, sensing her shot was off line, lept forward, pulled down the rebound in between a group of Aspen defenders and went right back up for the score.Teammate Maria Flores scored in transition seconds later after picking off a pass, giving the Rams a 40-21 cushion heading into the fourth.Order was restored.Roaring Fork (12-6 overall, 9-4 3A Western Slope), which dominated the first half, withstood a late Aspen surge to pick up a 52-38 victory – and strengthen its hold on third place in the conference.The Skiers (3-15, 0-13) outscored the Rams, 17-12, in the final quarter but could not overcome their lackluster start. “Roaring Fork is a good team and they battle, but our girls got after them,” Aspen coach Jeremy Haack said. “They play really good defense and, at times, we struggled to score.”

That was apparent during a first half in which the Skiers hit just five field goals and trailed by 11 after 16 minutes. During one nine-minute stretch at the end of the first and beginning of the second quarter, Roaring Fork went on a 16-4 run, fueled in large part by its dominance on the offensive glass, to break the game wide open.”Take out one quarter, and that would’ve been a much different game,” Aspen guard Grace Seigle said. Or the entire first half; the Skiers and Rams each scored 27 points during the final 16 minutes.Aspen tried to cut into the lead in the fourth, but Roaring Fork came up with an answer for nearly every Skiers bucket. Seigle opened the quarter with a 3-pointer, then Rams senior Leslie French nailed a jumper from the foul line. Seigle completed a three-point play after being bumped on a drive to the basket with 5:23 remaining; Roaring Fork’s Daisy Tena beat Aspen’s press and scored in transition on the ensuing possession. After Skiers guard Julia Hassall missed on both of her free throw attempts with 2:33 on the clock, Rams senior Nikki Smeins caught the outlet pass and scored on the break, putting the game out of reach.

Aspen, which blew a 13-point lead in Friday’s 29-38 loss to Coal Ridge, closed on a 6-2 run but couldn’t avoid a 15th consecutive loss. Seigle and Hassall combined for 17 points.”With all those close games we lost, and for them to still be playing this hard, I give the girls credit,” Haack said. “They care about this team, and other teams might have quit by now.”We have senior night coming up, so we want to send those seniors out with a win.”Aspen hosts Cedaredge at 5:30 p.m. on Friday in its regular-season finale.jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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