Rams have a three-peat | PostIndependent.com

Rams have a three-peat

PALISADE ” No matter how it was obtained, a three-peat is a three-peat.

Something that the Roaring Fork boys basketball team has earned with a 38-25 win over Basalt at Saturday’s Class 3A, District championship game.

The win moves the Rams on to this week’s Class 3A regionals. Most probably to take place in their gym.

Not a bad trade-off for the Rams, who had to grind their way through one of the ugliest games they’ve played in this season.

“It was sloppy in the first half, but it was a great way to exit,” said Rams senior Christian Tena, who finished with a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds.

“It’s a special feeling to win districts three years in a row,” he said. “We’re thankful and we’re blessed that we pulled it off.”

But in the same breath, defeating the upset-minded Longhorns for the fourth time this season “couldn’t be taken for granted.”

“It’s always a dogfight when we play Basalt,” Tena added. “They’re a good team and they’ve got the tools in the shed to play with anyone.”

Basalt proved Tena’s point by playing the Rams tight in the first quarter.

Roaring Fork withstood a late field goal from Darren Duroux to hold a slim 7-5 lead at the end of the period. A lead the Rams promptly lost after the break with Duncan McDaniel’s bucket tied the game at 7-all.

Roaring Fork responded by scoring the quarter’s eight points. The Rams, due to the run, never trailed. Rather than offense, the Rams focused their attention on the defensive end.

“After the first possession, we wanted to slow the pace down,” said Roaring Fork head coach Roger Walters. “And, we did a nice job of doing that.”

The Rams’ slowdown tactics held Basalt to a total of 15 points after three periods. Roaring Fork wasn’t much better, but they managed to score 12 points in the second and third quarters to pull away.

Naturally, Tena was in the middle of things. He scored 10 of the Rams’ 12 points in the third period. His last basket capped an 8-0 run, which put Roaring Fork up 31-10 at the buzzer.

“We were lucky to get out with the win,” Walters continued. “But it shows that a good team can win when they don’t play their best.”

And there’s no doubt that Roaring Fork’s a good team. In Walters’ three years as coach, the Rams have won three straight league and district titles. Now they are in a position to earn their third regional crown and third straight trip to the Class 3A state playoffs.

Regional tournament sites and opponents are scheduled to be released by the Colorado High School Activities Association this afternoon.

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