Rams claim first 3A WSL title since ’07
CARBONDALE, Colorado – The Roaring Fork boys took care of business at home against Cedaredge Friday to close out the regular season and claim the Rams’ first outright 3A Western Slope League basketball title in six years.
“Our senior year, yeah, we wanted to bring it back home like this,” said Israel Leyva, one of three Rams seniors who celebrated senior night with the 60-42 win over the Bruins.
“This is what we came out to do tonight. We didn’t want to have to share with Aspen,” Leyva said of the second-place Skiers.
Roaring Fork finishes the regular season at 15-3 overall and 14-1 in the league. The Rams enter next week’s 3A Western Slope District Tournament as the top seed, and await whichever league team ends up being the No. 8 seed.
Roaring Fork will host a quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. Feb. 28.
The top four teams advance from districts to the regional round of the 3A state playoffs.
The western district champion will play host as one of the regional sites, and the Rams are hoping to punch a ticket back home in two weeks.
“We’re feeling pretty confident now, and hopefully we can bring regionals here; that’s the plan,” Leyva said.
The Rams built a 30-18 halftime lead against Cedaredge (7-12, 5-11), but got a little sloppy in the third quarter when the Bruins managed to pull within seven points.
“Credit Cedaredge, they played hard and forced us into some turnovers and easy misses,” Roaring Fork coach Larry Williams said.
Sophomore Ben Carpenter hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the third to lift the Rams to a 44-27 lead by the end of the frame.
A steal by junior Tanner Nieslanik and an acrobatic reverse layup midway through the fourth put an exclamation point on things.
Senior post player Trae Moxley led all scorers with 20 points, while fellow senior Dakotah Grett added 13 for the Rams.
Reid Gates was the top scorer for Cedaredge, with 13.
“We’re thrilled to have the No. 1 seed, but we go in knowing No. 8 is more than capable of taking it to us at home,” Williams said. “We just have to be patient and play our game.”
Likewise, the Rams girls claimed the 61-45 victory over Cedaredge Friday night, and will host a district quarterfinal game as well next week.
The Rams girls finished fourth in the 3A WSL standings, and will play No. 5 Coal Ridge at 5:30 Feb. 28 in Carbondale.
Roaring Fork (11-8, 11-5) controlled Cedaredge from the opening tip Friday, opening a 36-22 halftime lead.
Seniors Megan Gianinetti, Georgia Ackerman and Shaeley Lough each scored in double figures, with 22, 11 and 10 respectively for the Rams.
“The girls played well tonight, and moved the ball in to the post, which is what we’ve been working on,” Roaring Fork coach Kirk Cheney said. “We’re playing good ball now.”
In other 3A WSL action Friday, Coal Ridge lost its final game of the regular season against league champion Moffat County, 61-47.
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Former Carbondale trustee Katrina Byars said she wants to bring a voice of environmental sustainability to the commission, and believes her opponent has served long enough.