Hunter Gerber’s 29 points lifts Coal Ridge over Aspen |

Hunter Gerber’s 29 points lifts Coal Ridge over Aspen

ASPEN — The Coal Ridge High School boys basketball team tried a new-look lineup Tuesday night.

With leading scorer Greyson Keener out with a wrist injury, the Titans turned to a different roster for the Class 3A Western Slope League game at Aspen High School.

Sophomore Hunter Gerber answered with a career-high 29 points, and the Titans halted the Skiers’ winning streak with a 52-44 victory in the AHS gym.

“We were missing one of our scorers, so I knew I had to carry some of the load,” Gerber said after scoring 20 second-half points against the Skiers.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore opened the second half with a 3-pointer and, minutes later, added a basket and a foul shot for a conventional three-point play as the Titans extended a four-point halftime lead to nine points.

“You have to have confidence at the line,” Gerber said after he went 8-of-11 from the free-throw line, including four shots that came after two Aspen technical fouls in the fourth quarter.

“He’s very humble. He’s a joy to coach,” Coal Ridge coach Paul Harvey said, adding that the Titans needed their pressure defense to slow down the Skiers.

“We had to shuffle our lineup. We had guys in different spots,” Harvey said. “But basically, we said we have to get back on defense.”

The Titans’ defense produced 15 turnovers Tuesday night.

Brandon Herrera added seven points as the Titans improved to 7-4 in league play, 8-8 overall.

The Skiers, who were playing without senior Dominick Alcorta who was out with illness, trailed from the start but closed to take a 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter on a 10-foot buzzer-beater by Tristan Niskanen.

The Titans outscored the Skiers 12-6 in the second quarter to take a 19-15 halftime lead.

After falling behind by 13 points early in the fourth quarter, the Skiers put on a dramatic rally triggered by back-to-back 3-pointers from Shayne Ormond and Evan Patzoldt.

A Niskanen basket on the inside and a putback basket by Patzoldt pulled Aspen to within 41-39 with 2:59 to play in the game. But on the next possession Patzoldt was whistled for a foul and then the first of two technical fouls.

At the 1:28 mark, he was called for his second technical foul. Meanwhile, Gerber kept hitting free throws.

Brandon Herrera added a couple of foul shots, and the Coal Ridge boys won in the Aspen gym for only the second time under Harvey. The only other win in Aspen came in 2010.

Niskanen led the Skiers with 12 points. Patzoldt added nine as did Jack Rosenthal.

Ormond scored seven. Evan Geishart scored six for the Skiers, who moved to 4-6 in the Western Slope League and 8-7 overall.

The Skiers will be back at home Friday night to host Grand Valley. They will host Gunnison on Saturday afternoon in another conference game.

The Coal Ridge boys will play at Moffat County in Craig on Friday night.

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