Aspen beats Titans with second half surge
Post Independent Staff
PEACH VALLEY ” In the first quarter, the decibel levels in Coal Ridge’s gymnasium soared through the roof.
By the fourth quarter, you could hear a pin drop.
That’s because 27 points from Cory Parker and plenty of help from his Aspen boys basketball teammates had foiled the Titans’ bid for an upset of the Class 3A Western
Slope League’s top team.
Putting the game out of reach with a 15-1 run to start the third quarter, the Skiers kept their league record unblemished at 6-0 with a 51-34 win over Coal Ridge on Friday.
“The guys really came out of the locker room fired up,” said Aspen coach Steve Ketchum, whose Skiers led by just nine at the break (29-20). “We pressed hard. It wasn’t showing up in the first half, but in the second it started to work.”
Parker did the lion’s share of the work for Aspen, ranked No. 6 in Class 3A by RockyPreps, with standout teammates Michael Taylor and Brian Westerlind sitting a good chunk of the first half due to foul trouble.
The 6-foot-8 post player, whose game mimics that of a guard, complemented his game-high point total with seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks. He scored the Skiers’ first nine points to open the third.
“Cory had a great night,” Coal Ridge coach Mike Cox said. “We worked our butts off trying to get stops on him.”
Taylor, another lanky post, finished with eight points ” including three dunks that went a long way to energize his team ” and a couple of blocks for Aspen, which pushed its overall record to 10-2.
The Titans (6-3 overall, 3-2 in the 3A WSL) kept it tight in the early going, with a couple of big first-half 3-pointers from Eric Schmitz providing a thread from which to dangle.
In front of a revved-up home crowd dreaming upset, Coal Ridge trailed 15-9 after one quarter and, by attacking the basket, worked the Skiers into early foul trouble.
Aspen hit bonus foul totals at the 2-minute, 13-second mark in the opening frame and was in the double bonus less than 3 minutes into the second quarter.
The Titans, though, failed to take advantage, missing the front ends of two one-and-ones to start the second that sapped their momentum. They finished the game 12-of-22 at the free-throw line.
Schmitz led Coal Ridge with 12 points. Skyler James chipped in with seven and Alex
Klein hauled in five rebounds.
Without that second-half surge, Ketchum and the Skiers knew the game could have been much closer.
“Coal Ridge’s got some great ballhanders, shooters,” said the Aspen frontman. “Our kids just came out and played hard in the second half. There were a lot of turnovers there that changed the game.”
Coal Ridge returns to the floor today with a trip to Olathe, while Aspen plays host to Hotchkiss.
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