Coal Ridge boys shining in Titanic start to ’07-08 year

Bringing it HomeJoelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Teams don’t form overnight. They take time to form, like the construction of a house or building. The foundation has to be laid and parts assembled piece by piece just right before it begins to take shape.

Well, that house is like the Coal Ridge boys basketball team, and it is complete and on the market.These guys are for real. On offense, defense, with their hustle and determination the Titans are flat out fun to watch.In a valley full of very talented hoops girls and boys squads (aka Roaring Fork, Glenwood, Grand Valley, Rifle and Basalt) there is a new addition to the mix.It was amazing to watch the crowd love their Titans on Friday night in a 74-41 thrashing of the Hotchkiss Bulldogs. With every steal – all 20 of them – every fast break, every 3-pointer, they were going nuts.The half-court trap the Titans apply with guys like Eric Schmitz, Andy Smedra, Skyler James and Braxton Jackson goes way beyond defense. It is harder to penetrate than a barbwire fence. Even 6-foot-5 center Alex Klein comes up with a few steals now and again. “We definitely have a very quick team and we are a threat on the steals and we can play with anybody I believe,” Klein said after the Hotchkiss victory.

The intensity the boys bring to the court is insane -they dive into bleachers, sacrificing it all for loose balls.Schmitz is a lights-out 3-point shooter, Smedra is a master passer, James can hurdle a small horse, and Klein is an opponent’s nightmare on the boards with his massive wing span.No wonder the Class 3A Titans are 4-1 having beaten 4A Battle Mountain, 2A Rangely and 2A Plateau Valley. Their only loss came to 4A’s No. 5-ranked team in the state – Steamboat Springs.After winter break is over, Coal Ridge will be bombarded by league games, including highly-anticipated matchups with Roaring Fork, who’s ranked No. 5 in state, and Aspen, who’s ranked No. 9.First the Titans will take on Cedaredge and Gunnison at home on Jan. 11 and 12, respectively, and the players are already looking forward to it.

“We have some home games, and we can play and show who we are,” Klein said.With the Titans finding their groove, and the Coal Ridge girls off to a great start at 4-2, basketball fans should be excited in Peach Valley.Basketball fans all over our area should be excited. On the girls side, Kendall Babler is tearing it up on the court leading Grand Valley to a perfect 7-0 going into break. The Selsor sisters are rocking and have helped Glenwood to a 6-2 start. Alissa Skinner, Megan McWilliams and Quincey Snyder are showing that Rifle can hang with anyone. Rebecca Roeber, Celeste Comings and Nikki Smeins have battled to a 3-3 record despite contests against a load of higher-class teams.For the boys, the defending state champ Cardinals (6-1) have stayed hot despite losing most of their starters. Roaring Fork (5-1) is dominating opponents with 6-foot-8 Torrey Udall and point man Matthias Weissl. Glenwood is coming alive as Florida transfer Donnie Jennert is jelling with Kevin Screen and Connor Riley. The Rust brothers are giving opponents fits for the Rifle Bears. Hopefully this break will go fast, so the teams can get back on the court as the up-coming league showdowns will be nothing but a non-stop thrill ride.

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