Up-tempo and optimistic, Aspen girls open season | AspenTimes.com

Up-tempo and optimistic, Aspen girls open season

Lance Finkbeiner, coach of the Aspen High girls basketball team, is optimistic about his team’s chances this year. Even though, Finkbeiner readily admits, not many of his peers share his perspective.

“I think we’ll be able to compete,” said Finkbeiner, whose team opens the 2003-04 season tonight at West Grand High School in Kremmling.

“I think we’ll be able to surprise some people. I think everyone thinks we’re having a rebuilding year, an off year, and I don’t see that at all.”

Last year, the Skiers finished fourth in the Class 3A Western Slope League standings, behind Basalt, the three-time reigning league champs, Roaring Fork and Cedaredge. The Skiers finished at 13-10 overall and 9-5 in league play.

Aspen’s co-captains this season, seniors Leandra Sivess and Alex Bethel, return to starting roles, and three other seniors, Jeri Gerbaz, Katie Hyman and first-year player Lindsay Patterson, will add depth and experience to the lineup, the coach said.

Junior Liz Floyd, a forward/center, “has had a great preseason,” Finkbeiner said. “She’s going to be one of the top players in the league this year, I think.

“Then we’ve got what we call our ‘fab five’ in sophomores,” Finkbeiner said, “and, of course, Carly Magill’s the top one.”

Magill, last season’s starting point guard as a freshmen, is joined by forward/center Corie Thompson, a promising young post player.

“With her and Liz inside, they’re going to have a big post presence,” he said.

Perimeter scoring threat Carly Rosen, Brittany Fortier and Nina Sivess, the captain’s younger sister, round out the fab five.

“We’re quicker than we’ve ever been, so I think it’s going to be more exciting to play and more exciting to watch. Last year we slowed things down offensively. This is a much more up-tempo team. I’m excited.”

Next weekend, Dec. 11-13, the AHS girls travel to the Steamboat Invitational, where they will face 4A schools Conifer and Steamboat, as well as league rival Roaring Fork, ranked second in a statewide Class 3A preseason poll by a Denver paper.

“Roaring Fork’s going to be a good team, for sure,” said Finkbeiner, “but I think overall our entire league is up. After Roaring Fork, of course there’s Basalt and Cedaredge making up the top teams, but I’ve also heard good things about Hotchkiss and Eagle Valley. It might be a tough league this year.”

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