Titans split with Rams in league showdown
In full swing of league action this late in the season, the Roaring Fork Rams traveled to New Castle on Tuesday to take on the host Coal Ridge Titans in a pivotal 3A Western Slope League matchup.
With local valley teams squaring off, spectators were awarded an entertaining night of basketball from both schools as the Rams and Titans split on the night. The Rams topped the Titans 43-36 in the girls game, while the Titans topped the Rams in the boys game, 53-41.
In the girls game, Roaring Fork and Coal Ridge each came into the game looking to get back in the win column following tough league losses on Saturday. However, only one could come out on top, and fortunately for Head Coach Jade Bath and the Rams, it was the girls in blue and yellow.
Right from the opening tip Roaring Fork asserted itself down low as senior forward Cindy Salinas scored two quick buckets in the paint before senior forward Katie Weimer knocked down a mid-range jumper to stake the Rams to a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Coal Ridge would get on the board at the free throw line as senior forward Alexys Holder sank both attempts from the charity strip before junior guard Santana Martinez picked the pocket of a Roaring Fork guard and raced in all alone for an easy layup to pull the Titans to within two, 6-4, early in the game.
Holder would then hit a jumper on Coal Ridge’s next possession to tie the game at 6-all before Weimer put the Rams back in front with a jumper of her own.
Following a jumper from Coal Ridge sophomore guard Kashley Morgan tied it back up at 8-all, Titans freshman forward Lyanna Nevarez sank two free throws right before the end of the quarter to give Coal Ridge a 10-8 lead after eight minutes of play.
In the second quarter of play, Roaring Fork held the Titans to just four points while scoring 13 of its own to take a 21-14 lead at the half as Salinas got another tough shot to fall in the paint while Weimer hit two jumpers of her own.
Sophomore forward Kendall Bernot hit a layup in traffic to stretch the Roaring Fork lead to 17-12 before Salinas hit a layup and senior guard Lily Ramos hit two free throws to send the two teams into the half.
Coming out of the locker rooms following halftime, Coal Ridge scored eight straight points to take a 22-21 lead as senior forward Jessica Feese and Holder hit layups, while junior guard Sam Dunn and Martinez hit jumpers to spark the home crowd after the break.
Following a quick Roaring Fork timeout, the Rams responded in a big way, going on a 6-0 run of their own to take a 27-22 lead as Salinas, Ramos and senior guard Ashley Hall all hit tough buckets in the paint.
With the Rams holding a slim five-point lead, Morgan hit two free throws for the Titans and junior guard Alyssa Wenzel hit a jumper to pull the Titans to within 28-26 at the end of the third quarter, putting them in striking distance for a comeback win over a league opponent.
As momentum seemed to be swinging towards Coal Ridge after a strong third quarter, Roaring Fork quickly responded in the final eight minutes of play, eventually going on to outscore the Titans 15-9 to pick up the seven-point win in league play.
In the final quarter, Ramos hit two straight layups to start the quarter before Hall and Feese traded three-pointers. Salinas would then hit a tough layup following Feese’s three before Ramos would finish off a great fast-break pass from senior guard Jazmin Lopez to stake the Rams to a 39-31 lead.
A three-pointer from Morgan would cap off the scoring for both teams, giving Roaring Fork the tough 43-36 win on the road.
For Roaring Fork (5-6, 1-1 3A WSL), Ramos and Salinas led the way with 12 points each, while Weimer and Hall added eight and five points, respectively.
For Coal Ridge (2-10, 0-3 3A WSL), Feese led the way with 11 points, while Morgan and Martinez added seven and four points each.
COAL RIDGE 63, ROARING FORK 51
In a fast-paced, entertaining game of basketball in all phases Tuesday, the Coal Ridge Titans boys basketball team emerged with a 12-point win over the visiting Roaring Fork Rams in a big 3A Western Slope League matchup in New Castle.
Right from the start the game featured the back-and-forth action that was expected between two highly skilled league opponents.
Roaring Fork junior forward Joe Salinas would get the scoring started in the first quarter with a tough layup in traffic before the Titans would respond with four straight points as senior forward Hunter Gerber — coming off of a 21-point outing against Cedaredge on Saturday that put him into the 1,000-point club — and junior guard Brandon Herrera hit tough buckets in the paint to give the Titans their first lead of the game.
A jumper from Rams senior forward Justin Thompson would briefly tie the game up again, but layups from sophomore center Kevin DiMarco and Gerber allowed the Titans to double up the Rams early.
Roaring Fork would battle back quickly though as senior guard Aldo Pinela hit a jumper and Salinas got to the rim again to tie the game at 8-all.
Following Salinas’ bucket the Rams would score just two points the rest of the quarter on a Thompson jumper as Coal Ridge went on a 12-2 run to take a 20-10 lead after one quarter of play.
Looking to stretch its lead in the second quarter, Coal Ridge stayed hot as Gerber scored eight points in the frame while DiMarco went to work in the paint, using his height to his advantage to score five points, allowing the Titans to pull away from the Rams for a 35-21 lead at the half.
“I think we were starting to force too many things offensively in the quarter, and our defensive rotation was horrible,” Roaring Fork Head Coach Larry Williams said. “We were letting them penetrate the lane, and then when we’d slide over to stop the penetration, they’d dump it off to the DiMarco kid, and we didn’t have our help-side defender sliding down to help. There was just too many errors offensively and not good fundamental defense, defensively.”
With a brief halftime break to make some adjustments at both ends of the floor, the Rams came out strong to start the third quarter before tapering off, scoring just six points in the quarter as Coal Ridge added 11 more to its ledger.
A driving layup from Herrera got the scoring started in the second half before Pinela split a pair of free throws at the line. Following Pinela’s trip to the line, Gerber then drilled a three-pointer from the wing to make it 40-22 Titans early in the third.
After Gerber’s three, Thompson would then split a pair of free throws after drawing a foul, but the Titans would respond with a quick 6-0 run as DiMarco scored twice in the paint while senior forward Eziel Ruiz added a tough driving layup to make it 46-23 Coal Ridge.
A floater in the lane from Thompson and a layup from senior guard Jassiel Petetan pulled the Rams within 46-27 heading into the final quarter of play.
In the fourth, Pinela would stay hot for the Rams, sandwiching a jumper and a layup around another DiMarco basket to make it 48-31 Titans. After sophomore guard Jan Hernandez hit two free throws for the Titans, Roaring Fork responded with a three-pointer from senior guard Lorenzo Andrade and a putback from Thompson in the paint to pull the Rams to within 16 points, but two layups from DiMarco ultimately would keep the Rams at bay.
“I thought Aldo did a pretty good job,” Williams said. “We stick him on their best player; he’s a senior and you want your seniors to step up in those situations. I thought he did a really nice job all night for us.”
Down the stretch, Coal Ridge would get a steal and a layup from Gerber and four free throws from Herrera before Andrade would sink three free throws to cap off the scoring for both teams, giving Coal Ridge the 63-51 win.
For Coal Ridge (8-5, 2-1 3A WSL), Gerber led the way with 19 points, while DiMarco added 17 points in the win.
“We knew coming into the season that (DiMarco) could do all these things,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Paul Harvey said. “But we were without him to start the year because he hurt his hand. It was tough playing without him because he’s the glue that holds us together. It’s tougher to press us with him on the floor because he can handle the ball, get it over the trap and can shoot it inside and out. Plus, his defense is getting better and better. We’ve been working with all of our posts, and Kevin is just improving by leaps and bounds. He’s a fun kid.”
For Roaring Fork (8-3, 1-1 3A WSL), Pinela led the way with 11 points, while Thompson added nine points in the loss.
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