Lady Rams looking for health, experience
Roaring Fork girls basketball coach Chris Hall experienced some growing pains last season with a young team that had its ups and downs in the always competitive 3A Western Slope League. This year, with a junior-dominated squad, Hall is hoping his team is ready to slug it out with the best the conference has to offer.
“We’re excited about the upcoming season,” stated Hall, who begins his second campaign guiding the Carbondale ladies. “We’ll have a much better basketball product this year.”
There was no need for formal introductions when practice started in mid-November, as most of the Lady Rams have been playing together since they were in seventh grade, an experience advantage that their coach sees as a big plus heading into Friday’s season opener against Rifle in the Brenda Patch Tournament.
“We have a good nucleus. They know each other and have a good chemistry together,” said Hall.
A big key for the Rams this season will be the health of their tall girl, post player Lyndsay Hansen. Hall pointed to the fact that Hansen, due to injuries, has played in only 13 games during her first two seasons on the Roaring Fork varsity. The coach has his fingers crossed that good health will be the rule, rather than the exception for his talented post player.
“I’m looking forward to having her on the court for a full season,” said Hall.
Roaring Fork’s opponents may not share that same sentiment.
Once the cobwebs from last year’s six-win season have been dusted away and the Rams get some victories — and much needed confidence — look for the girls of Roaring Fork to be as good as anyone in the WSL.
On the boys’ side of things, Coach Larry Williams guided his charges to a third place finish in last year’s league race and a runner-up spot in the district tournament. Williams, beginning his eighth season guiding the boys program, feels that once this year’s group gets some game experience under their belt, they could make some noise in the Western Slope League.
“This is a hard working group of kids who have been a pleasure to coach thus far,” said Williams. “I’m looking forward to another season.”
If last year’s team is any indicator for the present, the Rams will be very quick and pesky on the defensive end, and equally as fluent on the fast break to the offensive end of the court.
Returning All-Conference guard Aldo Pinela will lead a solid group of upperclassmen and a promising contingent of younger players in what the Rams hope will be a season that runs into March and the state playoffs.
The Roaring Fork boys will open the new season this Friday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. against Eagle Valley in the Brenda Patch Tourney.
Roaring Fork girls varsity:
Head coach: Chris Hall, 2nd season.
Last year: 6-13 overall, 3-8 3A Western Slope League. No postseason.
Key returners: Lyndsay Hansen, Jr., P; Ashley Hall, Jr., G; Cindy Salinas, Jr., F; Lily Ramos, Jr., G; Katie Weimer, Jr., G; Alexa Fiscus, Jr., F; Joselinne Medrano, Sr., F.
Others to watch: Jasmine Lopez, Jr., G; Val Loechter, Sr., G.
Outlook: Coach Hall is having his Lady Rams pay special attention to taking care of the basketball and defensive rebounding in preseason drills. Hall says his team has a good nucleus, “and they play well together.” The consensus among league coaches is that Moffat County is the team to beat, and Hall concurs with that. The second-year coach in Carbondale also looks to perennial contender Olathe to be right in the mix, along with Coal Ridge and Grand Valley. Hall is not giving ground to anyone though, as he expects his team to be competitive each night during the conference schedule. The Rams open the season this Friday, December 4, against a strong Rifle team in the Brenda Patch Tournament at Roaring Fork High School.
Roaring Fork boys varsity:
Head coach: Larry Williams, 8th season.
Last year: 15-8 overall, 10-4 3A Western Slope League. Lost to Denver School of Science and Technology in regional playoffs.
Key returners: Aldo Pinela, Jr., G; Jassiel Petatan, Jr., G; Gustavo Oliva, Sr., G; Sergio Vega, Sr., F.
Others to watch: Hayden Bernot, Jr., P; Conrado Dolores, Sr., F.
Outlook: For Coach Larry Williams and his Rams, the early season mixture for success will be just getting on the court and getting in game experience. The usual necessities of rebounding, playing good defense, and making the proper decisions with the ball will also be big factors if Roaring Fork is to repeat the stellar season of 2014-2015. Replacing graduated point guard Ben Carpenter could be a tall order for Williams, but he feels junior Jassiel Petatan will fit the bill quite nicely. Another junior, Aldo Pinela returns from an All-WSL campaign last year to lead a solid stable of guards in Carbondale. Williams believes Grand Valley, Coal Ridge, and Moffat County could be the teams that everyone will be chasing for league honors, but he’s quick to point out that everyone in the league will be improved this season.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.