Rams boys come back to beat Steamboat, 50-44 | PostIndependent.com

Rams boys come back to beat Steamboat, 50-44

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson Roaring Fork's A.J. Joiner, right, goes up for a shot against Battle Mountain's Connor Drumm during Friday night's game in the Brenda Patch Memorial Tournament. The Rams lost, 46-42.

CARBONDALE – Senior Christian Tena keyed a Roaring Fork comeback with nine points and a pair of assists down the stretch, as the Rams defeated Steamboat Springs 50-44 to conclude the Brenda Patch Tournament Saturday.”We’re a well-coached team, and we knew it was time we needed to come together and start trusting each other,” Tena said after the win.Down 39-32 after the Sailors’ Michael Vandahl hit a three-pointer at the start of the fourth quarter, Tena and the Rams took charge of their own fate.Tena answered Vandahl’s shot with a basket underneath, and two minutes later drained one from outside to make it 39-36 Steamboat. After another defensive stop, Tena then fed the ball to Parker Nieslanik who drove the baseline for a reverse layup to pull within one.”(Christian) stepped up big time,” Roaring Fork coach Roger Walters said. “And he did it in a way that showed he trusts his teammates. He made the shots he needed to make, and he got the ball where it needed to be at the right times.”Tena gave the Rams their first lead since the first quarter when he saved the ball from going out of bounds, made a spin move to the paint and banked one home for the 40-39 lead.

Steamboat’s Mitch Bryden answered with a three-pointer with 1:45 on the clock to give the Sailors a 42-40 lead. But Tena answered right back with a layup that drew a foul and technical foul against Steamboat’s Tanner Stillwell.Roaring Fork’s A.J. Joiner hit the technical shots to give the lead back to the Rams, 44-42. Joiner and junior Kade Gianinetti were perfect from the free-throw line in the final minute to secure the win.”It’s good to get a win like this, especially after we had some work done to us last night,” Tena said of Friday’s loss to another 4A team, Battle Mountain, to open the tournament. “Playing against the big boys now will help us down the stretch.”Tena led all scorers on the night with 20 points, followed by Joiner with nine and Derek Parker with seven. Scott Peterson was the Sailor’s leading scorer with 12 points, while Vandahl had 11.Roaring Fork opened a 10-2 lead to start the game before Steamboat went on a 12-0 run to take a 14-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Rams knotted it back up, 21-21, at the half.Walters said his team’s play Saturday compared to Friday was “like night and day. The difference is we actually played tonight like we do in practice,” he said.In the other varsity boys game Saturday, D’Evelyn defeated Battle Mountain, 77-45.

The Roaring Fork boys resume play Thursday at the Steamboat Springs Shootout tournament against another 4A opponent in Northridge.

If Friday night’s win over Battle Mountain was an indication of the Roaring Fork girls basketball team’s strengths, then Saturday’s 63-30 loss to 4A powerhouse Longmont provided some lessons in what the team needs to work on.”We did so many things right tonight, but we just couldn’t finish,” Roaring Fork coach Kirk Cheney said, as the Rams concluded the two-day Brenda Patch Tournament with a 1-1 record.Longmont (2-1) opened a 17-8 first quarter lead on Shea Rasmussen’s three-pointer before the buzzer and never looked back. The Trojans’ Lindsey Moller led all scorers with 28 points.The Rams played much of the second half without senior Sarah Armstrong, who picked up her fourth foul with six minutes to play in the third quarter. She fouled out shortly after re-entering the game in the fourth.Armstrong and Whitney Campbell led Roaring Fork in scoring with six points each, while fellow senior Laura Wright added five.Free throws were also troublesome for the Rams, who shot only four-of-14 from the line.”I told the girls, this one we just leave here. It’s something to learn from,” Cheney said. “I think it enlightens the girls to what we need to work on.”The game also marked the return of Longmont coach Jay Darien to his alma mater. Darien was a 1980 Roaring Fork High graduate and a good friend of Cheney, also a RFHS alum.”This was our third night out in a row, and I’ve seen a dramatic improvement in our girls already,” Darien said. “I was nervous after I saw Roaring Fork last night (a 68-29 win over Battle Mountain). They do a lot of good things mentally, but we were able to beat them by getting physical.”In the other varsity girls game Saturday, Steamboat Springs defeated Battle Mountain, 29-25.Roaring Fork resumes play at the Steamboat Springs Shootout Tournament starting Thursday against Pueblo County.

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