Expectations sky high for Roaring Fork basketball this winter
Despite the graduation of the 3A Western Slope League’s Player of the Year in Justin Thompson, the Roaring Fork Rams’ boys basketball program should once again compete for a league championship under veteran head coach Larry Williams as the Rams see five key seniors return from last season’s 3A playoff team, while two young sophomores look to step into prominent roles for the Rams this winter in Carbondale. Seniors Joe Salinas and Ronald Clemente should form a potent 1-2 punch for the Rams under Williams, while seniors Aidan Sloan, Oscar Miranda and Mikel Mayo will provide valuable experience and versatility this winter for the Rams.
In girls basketball, head coach Jade Bath returns for her third season with a talented starting lineup that sees four of five starters return, as well as a strong bench led by a number of talented underclassmen. Roaring Fork has a chance to be one of the fastest teams in 3A as guards Logan Erickson and Emily Broadhurst can go coast-to-coast with the ball in a flash. However, the Rams can also slow it down and throw it inside to senior center Gaby Santana and junior forward Caroline Wisroth, who both dominated the boards for stretches last season.
This might be Bath’s most talented group she’s had, so a spot in the 3A state playoffs appears ahead, as well as a potential push for a league championship in Carbondale.
Head Coach: Larry Williams, 11th season
Last Season: 19-4 (8-1 3A Western Slope League) lost to Colorado Academy in the first round of the 3A state playoffs.
Key Returners: Joe Salinas, Sr.; Aidan Sloan, Sr.; Ronald Clemente, Sr.; Oscar Miranda, Sr.; Mikel Mayo, Sr.
Players to Watch: Graham Pietsch, So.; Tristan Maker, So.
Season Outlook: With five seniors returning, Roaring Fork might be the most experienced group in the 3A Western Slope League, which could give them an edge under Williams. However, the veteran head coach said it will come down to fundamentals and mental toughness this season for this group. “We have high hopes going into the season,” Williams said. “We just have to continue to work on the fundamentals and some mental toughness. I’m not sure what the kids might have learned from the playoff defeat, but the coaching staff is working on the toughness aspect, and we strengthened our non-league schedule quite a bit; It’s pretty brutal. I hope the kids learned when those opportunities come that they can’t take them for granted. We have to fight tooth and nail every night, and if we do that I believe we can be successful this season.”
Head Coach: Jade Bath, third season
Last Season: 11-10 (4-5 3A Western Slope League), lost to St. Mary’s in the first round of the state playoffs.
Key Returners: Gaby Santana, Sr.; Logan Erickson, Sr.; Emily Broadhurst, Jr.; Caroline Wisroth, Jr.; Kendall Bernot, Sr.
Players to Watch: Lily Nieslanik, So.; Letey Crownhart, So.; Maya Lindgren, So.
Season Outlook: Four starters return from last season’s 3A playoff team under Bath, giving the Rams a ton of experience this winter on the court in Carbondale. “Our experience is really going to help us,” Bath said. “We have to have the mindset of going into every game knowing it’s important; that will be big for us, especially after last season. The bar was set high, so it’s even higher this season. We want to make a run in regionals, and reach the district tournament. We control our own destiny this season, so we have to find a way to win those close games that we lost last season. That will go a long way for us this season if we can close out games much better.”