Velasquez lifts RFHS girls
Carly Velasquez just did what needed to be done. Velasquez is the Roaring Fork girls basketball team’s point guard, but the senior was a dominant force inside as well during the Rams’ 47-24 Class 3A Western Slope League district tournament championship victory over Hotchkiss Saturday in Palisade.Before taking a seat in the fourth quarter, Velasquez had pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, scored eight points and had five assists.The spark, Velasquez said, was team oriented.”When you’re on a team like ours with evenly-matched players, when one steps up, the whole team picks it up a notch,” she said.Roaring Fork, 19-2 overall on the season, now advances to the 32-team Class 3A state tournament. As the No. 2 seed in one of four regional brackets, Roaring Fork will host No. 7 Bennett (10-13) on Friday at the RFHS gym.Meanwhile, the Basalt girls (8-14) drew the No. 8 seed in a different regional and will face No. 1 Faith Christian (21-2) on the road Friday.Megan Zeigel, who finished with a team-high 10 points for the Rams in the district championship, drained a couple of crucial 3-pointers in the second quarter to give Roaring Fork a double-digit lead.Laura Wright added three key buckets en route to a nine-point night.As a team, the Rams shut down Hotchkiss’ main scoring weapon – Ashley Burke – allowing her just 10 points and held the rest of the Bulldogs to 16 combined points.”We wanted to make her work,” said Rams coach Kirk Cheney of keying on Burke. “She’s a solid player. You look at the moves she makes and the balls she puts in the hole, she earns every basket she makes.”It took Hotchkiss the entire first half to score nine points. That allowed Roaring Fork to hold a 21-9 lead at halftime. The Bulldogs managed to score 10 after intermission, then dipped to five points in the final stanza.Roaring Fork has a new challenge this week with regional play. But the burden is eased since the Rams get to host the four-team event starting Friday in Carbondale.”Its huge, because we love our gym and our fans,” Velasquez said.The Rams advanced to the championship game on a 74-51 win over Basalt Friday. Zeigel led all scorers with 16 points. Campbell added 13, Velasquez tossed in 12 and Ashley Jensen scored 11 points off the bench. Deanna Spracher had 13 points for Basalt.Cedaredge 55, Basalt 39The Longhorns will play the rest of the season on the road after falling 55-39 to Cedaredge in Saturday’s third-place game.Basalt fell behind in the middle of the first quarter and trailed 14-9 by the end of the period. Taking advantage of numerous free-throw opportunities, the second-seeded Bruins led by as many as 19 points in the contest.Cassie Meyer led the Longhorns with 15 points.Cedaredge hit on 28-of-37 free throws as a team.
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The dual-sport student-athlete was named to the Class 3A Western Slope League all-conference first team for softball as one of two Carbondale players on the Basalt High School softball team team last fall.