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Carbondale storms to PEG title, perfect season

Jim Noelker photoThe happy Carbondale Wolverines, including Sarah Armstrong (11) and Ashley Jensen (23), celebrate their tournament championship Saturday in front of the home fans.
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Like a perfect storm, the elements all joined forces to create a perfect season for the Carbondale Wolverines.

The Carbondale Middle School eighth-grade girls completed their historic, undefeated year Saturday with an avalanche-like 40-14 win over Glenwood Springs in the championship of the annual PEG League Tournament.

Using a full-court, pressing defense that confused opponents like a whiteout blizzard and an offense that moved like a tidal wave, the Wolverines finished the year 8-0, including a 48-23 win over Aspen in the PEG semifinals on Thursday.



“They certainly make my job easy,” said Carbondale Middle School coach Val Sillivan after the Wolverines’ dominating victory Saturday on their home court.

“These girls are totally coachable. They pay attention; they play well together; they don’t have a bunch of attitude,” Sillivan said.



“We stress fundamentals and we stress defense because defense wins games,” the soft-spoken CMS girls coach said.

“We had high expectations for these girls and they … met every challenge,” Sillivan said, amid postgame congratulations at the CMS gym.

Her Wolverines took the suspense out of the championship game early with a 10-0 run to start the game – a stretch that included three baskets from Laura Wright, three assists from Ashley Jensen, two steals by Whitney Campbell, another steal by Jensen and two free throws by the aforementioned Jensen.

Emily Hauptli of Glenwood Springs finally stopped the run when she hit a basket and foul shot with 1:39 to play in the first quarter.

But the Wolverines answered with five consecutive points, including a putback and a foul shot by Annie Leslie, to take a 15-3 lead entering the second quarter.

In the meantime, the Cougars of GSMS were as cold as the temperature in the chilly Carbondale Middle School gym Saturday morning.

Another Hauptli basket right before halftime gave the Cougars their fourth and fifth points of the half and they trailed 21-5.

A Wright basket off an assist from Catie Cheney started the second-half for the Wolverines, who also picked up a basket from Meg Olenick.

Carbondale opened the fourth quarter with a long 3-pointer from Amy Anderson.

Stephanie Gottschalck helped a late comeback by the Cougars, who also picked up two free throws from Hauptli and a final basket by Leana Lawson.

Wright led all scorers with 15 points for the Carbondale eighth-grade girls.

Jensen, who had 19 points in Thursday’s win over Aspen, added eight points in the championship game along with five assists.

Campbell finished with five for Carbondale and Sarah Armstrong added four.

Hauptli, who helped the Cougars to tournament wins over Riverside and Basalt, led Glenwood Springs with seven points. Andrea Vincent added two, along with Lawson and Gottschalck.

The Glenwood eighth-grade girls finished the season 5-4, with the second-place trophy from the PEG (Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield counties) tourney.

Basalt, second only to Carbondale during the regular season, finished third in the postseason tournament with a 31-22 win over upper valley rival Aspen on Saturday morning.

But Basalt had to rally in the second half after Aspen took a 14-13 halftime lead on a late steal and jumper by Carly Rosen.

Chandler Collins jump-started Basalt’s second-half rally with three consecutive baskets to open the third quarter.

Lauren Rinker added a basket and Jordan Ulibarri hit a field goal and a foul shot to push Basalt ahead.

But again Rosen pulled the Skiers back with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third period.

Basalt ruled a slow fourth quarter, 5-3, to end the 31-22 third-place game.

Aspen’s Rosen led all scorers with 12 points.

Carly Macgill added six for the Skiers.

Collins led Basalt with nine while Rinker added seven and Ulibarri five.

Brittany Guglielmo added four for Basalt, which ended the season 7-2.

Aspen’s eighth-graders finished the year with a 4-5 record.


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