Roaring Fork surges past rival Glenwood
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado – And the best-of-three series goes to … the Rams.
Erasing a 15-point deficit late with a free throw-filled rally, Roaring Fork’s boys basketball team topped neighboring rival Glenwood Springs for the second time in three 2011-12 meetings.
Regularly coming up with big buckets – from the aforementioned foul line or elsewhere – and turnovers down the stretch, the Rams roared back to secure a 71-68 win in Carbondale.
And it was a win Roaring Fork enjoyed immensely.
“I know Rifle’s been Glenwood’s rival lately, but growing up in Carbondale, it was always Roaring Fork and Glenwood,” said Rams coach Larry Williams, a Roaring Fork graduate. “So it always means a lot. A lot of these kids’ parents went to school here and grew up playing Glenwood.”
And those parents were treated to an entertaining finish.
When Mike McGraw slashed to the bucket and converted a layup off a pass from teammate Robert Reynolds with 1 minute, 30 seconds left in the third quarter, the Demons took a 55-40 lead over their Roaring Fork School District Re-1 mates.
From that point forward, the game belonged to the host Rams.
Roaring Fork closed the third quarter with six straight points. A runner by Dakotah Grett, a steal and layup by Thomas Cerise and a pair of foul shots from Brandon Cruz comprised the run, which the Rams extended to eight straight points with a layup by Trenton Reeds 23 seconds into the fourth.
Glenwood’s Randy Burbidge answered with a long 2-pointer to push it to 57-48, but Roaring Fork delighted a raucous home crowd by scoring nine of the game’s next 11 points to pull within two at 59-57 with 5:04 left.
A short jumper by McGraw made it 61-57, but three free throws by Grett and a bucket in the paint from big man Trae Moxley delivered the Rams a 62-61 lead with 2:37 remaining.
The Demons wrestled the lead back on a pair of Burbidge free throws. Then came a drive through the lane and layup by Sam Carpenter to give Roaring Fork a 64-63 edge.
The lead was short-lived, though, as Grant Fegan rattled home a 3-pointer to put Glenwood back on top, 66-64, with 1:49 to go.
But the Rams were far from done.
Moxley muscled his way to another bucket in the paint to tie it at 66 with 1:32 left.
After a Glenwood turnover with roughly 50 seconds to go, Reeds sunk a free throw to put Roaring Fork up one with 39.2 seconds remaining.
Moments later, the Demons’ Pete Ray missed a contested layup. After getting tipped around in the paint, the rebound trickled out to Grett, who was immediately fouled. With 22.9 seconds left, the junior hit both his free throws to stretch the Rams’ lead to 69-66.
Burbidge cut that lead down to one with a layup on Glenwood’s ensuing possession, but Grett hit two more free throws with 7.4 seconds remaining to make it 71-68.
A long 3-pointer at the buzzer by Kellin Casey missed its mark, bringing the non-league affair to a dramatic close.
Grett and his teammates knew they had a comeback in them.
“We just had to keep playing,” he said. “We just kept confident. We didn’t want to drop our heads. We kept chipping away and then it got close and we said, ‘Let’s get it.'”
Grett was lethal at the foul line in the fourth quarter, hitting at an 11-of-12 clip from the stripe. He was 14-of-16 on free throws for the game, finishing with 20 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds.
As a team, Roaring Fork went 13-for-16 at the line in the fourth quarter.
Moxley, all 6-foot-5 of him, led the Rams (9-5) with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Carpenter finished with eight points, Reeds seven and Clay Gross six.
“We had contributions from everybody,” Williams said. “It was definitely a team effort.”
McGraw led the Demons (9-9) with 22 points. Casey, who scored 11 points in the first quarter, finished with 20 points and Burbidge put 17 on the board. Burbidge and Reynolds finished with seven rebounds apiece.
“I honestly think the guys tried to do too much down the stretch,” Glenwood coach Cory Hitchcock said. “I kept telling them to be patient. We’d been scoring out of our offense. … We got out of what we do best – executing the offense and finishing. We had some mental lapses down the stretch, some silly turnovers.”
The Demons will attempt to right the ship when Palisade visits for a 4A Western Slope League game Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Roaring Fork plays at Hotchkiss for a 3A WSL meeting the same night and at the same time.
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