Aspen Skiers snap Roaring Fork Rams’ 54-game winning streak
CARBONDALE – The streak is over.After 54 straight Class 3A Western Slope League victories, a mark put together over four years, the Roaring Fork boys basketball team finally fell.
In a game with nearly as much hype as the Super Bowl, this one didn’t disappoint as Aspen edged the Rams 61-57 in a nail-biter that went down to the end.”Roaring Fork is a great team, they have been king of the hill for a long, long time,” said Aspen head coach Steve Ketchum. “I think the monkey is off (Roaring Fork head coach) Roger Walters’ back because he doesn’t have to worry about the streak anymore. He can just relax and kick back now.”The game was close throughout, but things escalated with about five minutes remaining. Oscar Alvarado hit a 3 to pull the Rams within two of Aspen, then sunk a free throw on the next possession to make it 53-52 with four minutes left.The momentum seemed to be shifting toward Roaring Fork when, with 2:35 left, Torrey Udall drew a charge. Not only was it a turnover for Aspen, but it also fouled out Skier Michael Taylor and kept Udall, who had four fouls, in the game.The shift was short lived as Aspen post Cory Parker came up with a steal and scored three buckets on Aspen’s next three possessions. While Udall and Alvarado each hit field goals, the Rams still found themselves down 59-56 with 31 seconds left. Roaring Fork got the ball inside to Udall, who was fouled and converted one of two attempts from the charity stripe. Aspen got a fast break off the rebound on the second shot, hurried the ball down the court to Brian Westerlind, who banked in a layup and sealed Aspen’s upset.
“It is huge for our kids. The first five years I was at Aspen, we beat Roaring Fork three times a year. Then the last four years, everything has totally changed, and they beat us three times a year,” said Ketchum. “I don’t even feel like we are on that same hill (as Roaring Fork, which has won four WSL titles in a row) yet. We are just starting to climbing it. We are not on top yet. We’d have to beat them two more times and win our district championship to knock them off. They are still game, but it truly was a great day for Aspen.”Roaring Fork guard Matthias Weissl was brilliant in the loss for Roaring Fork. Weissl, and his Steve Nash-style, attacked the lane with fury, sometimes going to the basket, sometimes sinking jumpers and sometimes dishing. The highlight of his 23-point performance came in a one-minute stretch when he hit back-to-back 3s, being fouled on both, and converting four-point plays. “In front our home crowd it was sick,” Weissl said of the plays. “It was awesome.”It was part of his 11-point third quarter that left the Rams trailing Aspen 44-41 entering the final frame.Aspen was led by Parker, who finished the game with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow Skier Timmy Rittenhouse turned in 12 points, six of which came on clutch 3-pointers in the second half.While Weissl topped the Rams’ scoring, everyone on the team made big plays when they needed to. Whether it was one of Alvarado’s six rebounds, Alex Hernandez’s drives, Torrey Udall’s post moves, a layup from Daron Parker, a 3 from the Rams No. 2 big man Walker Abrahamovich or a steal from Ryan Weimer, all of the Rams did their best to preserve the streak.
“It was the most hyped game of the year,” Weissl said. “We just really wanted to beat Aspen, they are our biggest rival. But we are going to be better prepared next time, definitely.”On Friday night, Weissl scored enough points to beat Olathe all by himself. The senior scored 34 points as the Rams rolled to an easy 64-33 win at home. Udall added 15 points for the Rams, who held Olathe to 10 points in the first half.Next on Roaring Fork’s schedule is a road trip to Hotchkiss on Friday. The Rams will travel to Aspen on Feb. 19 looking for a rematch, and the teams could see each other in the district tournament Feb. 29 through March 1.”It is just who has the better game. I think we are at the same level and we can improve so much defensively,” Weissl said. “It is going to be a really good game at their house, and we’ll see who wins the game to go to the state championship.”Aspen will try to repeat.”We got two more great ones,” Ketchum said. “It’s going to be wild and go down to the last shot just like tonight.”
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