CARBONDALE, Colorado - The energy level for the Roaring Fork High School boys basketball team was running a little low Saturday afternoon. By the end of the game, the Rams had found just enough to hold off a pesky Basalt Longhorns squad.
Trae Moxley scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Rams, and his steal in the waning seconds of overtime helped Roaring Fork remain unbeaten in Class 3A Western Slope League play with a 57-53 victory over the Longhorns at the Roaring Fork High School gym.
"I don't think I'm ready for a nap, but I think we're ready for a deep-thought session," said Moxley, whose team had eared a win at Aspen the previous night. "Don't get me wrong. Aspen's a great ballclub and so is Basalt. But for us, I think we're one of the best teams in the league, and we need to show it more."
No doubt, Roaring Fork (8-2 overall, 7-0 league) had chances to blow the game open, holding the Longhorns (3-6, 2-4) without a field goal for the first five minutes of the second quarter in outscoring them 13-3 in the stanza. That led to a 24-17 halftime lead, but the 12 turnovers Basalt forced over the course of regulation helped the Longhorns force overtime.
"After the energy we spent last night, I was worried coming into this one," said Roaring Fork coach Larry Williams, whose team beat Aspen 45-42 in overtime Friday. "We have to become more fundamental. That's the bottom line. Our turnovers are killing us."
Basalt got a team-high 18 points from Javier Huerta - 11 coming in the second half and in overtime - along with 14 points and a pair of 3-pointers from Berto Garcia. The last 3-pointer that Garcia hit - a 25-footer from the top of the key with 15 seconds remaining in regulation - sent the game into overtime tied at 46-all.
"We had some guys who made some big plays for us tonight," Basalt coach Rolf Shildman said. "I was hoping that momentum would carry over into overtime, but we just couldn't execute when we really needed to."
Roaring Fork took the lead in overtime thanks to Tanner Nieslanik, whose steal, layup and subsequent foul shot staked the Rams to a 49-46 lead with 3:27 on the clock. A layup from Huerta with 1:15 left tied it at 53, but another steal from Nieslanik resulted in a fast-break layup from the 6-foot-5 Moxley with 25 seconds remaining.
Basalt took a time out with 13.6 seconds on the clock. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Moxley knocked the ball to mid court. A jump ball gave the ball back to the Rams with 4.1 seconds left and Nieslanik sealed it with a pair of double-bonus foul shots two seconds later.
Spencer Glasener added eight points for the Longhorns, who play next at Olathe on Friday. The Rams, who have won eight straight overall and outrebounded Basalt 34-23, will host Coal Ridge on Tuesday.
Hattie Gianinetti scored a game-high 14 points to pace four Roaring Fork players in double figures, and the Rams rolled to a 70-28 league win against Basalt.
Maddie Nieslanik and Megan Gianinetti each had 12 points to go with a 10-point performance from Shaeley Lough, helping the Rams (5-5 overall, 5-2 3A WSL) take control from the start. Basalt (0-9, 0-6) trailed 17-2 after one quarter, and a 3-pointer from Carina Capobianco with 5:01 left in the second snapped the Longhorns' nine-minute window without a field goal.
Basalt kept fighting, as a jumper from Emmalee Erickson cut Roaring Fork's lead to 38-17 to start the third quarter. The Rams, however, responded with a 9-0 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from Hattie Gianinetti with a little less than four minutes gone in the second half.
"I think Basalt is kind of in a rebuilding stage right now, but I think our girls took advantage of that," Roaring Fork coach Kirk Cheney said. "We understand that we have to play our game and not worry about what's out there across the floor from us."
Capobianco had 10 points and Erickson nine to pace Basalt's scoring.