Rams ready for WSL battle
Last season the Roaring Fork and Basalt high school girls’ basketball teams met in the Class 3A Western Slope League district tournament championship game.
Second-year Roaring Fork coach Jacky Gaddis doesn’t expect it to be any different this year – although she hopes to take the district title from the Longhorns this season after last year’s defeat.
“Our first game of the season is against Basalt and our last game of the season is against Basalt,” Gaddis said. “I think it’s going to come down to Roaring Fork and Basalt, and I expect it to be that way for the next three or four years.”
With a year under her belt as the Rams’ head coach, as well as some solid returners, Roaring Fork should improve on its 14-7 (8-2 league) mark of a year ago.
“Last year I didn’t even know these kids names going into the Brenda Patch (Tournament),” Gaddis said. “This year the kids know what to expect from me and I know what to expect from them. We’re just so far ahead of the game this year.”
Junior Tarn Udall and seniors Jessi Rochel and Brie Bath all return this season and should give the Rams an inside presence comparable to any team in the conference.
Udall, an all-state honorable mention, averaged a double-double last season and finished atop the Class 3A RockyPreps rebound list with 262 in 21 games. Bath and Rochel chipped in 173 and 188 boards, respectively.
Udall posted 13.8 points per game and Bath was just short of the double-digit mark with a 9.8 average.
Sophomore Carly Velasquez, who Gaddis said could have started last year, is also expected to be a big contributor this season.
Ashley Jensen leads a talented freshman class and will likely see plenty of time at guard.
“The freshman class we have coming up in general is very good,” Gaddis said. “I actually have two freshmen on varsity and three sophomores. Tarn is the only junior, but I’ll take that one junior any day of the week.”
With many of the players already familiar with her system, Gaddis hopes to notch up the intensity a bit and run the floor more than last season.
“I think we’re going to be a lot more aggressive. That was one of our hindrances last year,” Gaddis said.
Roaring Fork opens its season at home Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Brenda Patch Tournament against Class 4A Glenwood Springs.
Roaring Fork boys
The Roaring Fork Rams boys’ basketball team that takes the court in the season opener Friday may be quite a bit different from the team that ends the season.
The names will be more or less the same, but head coach Mike Fahrenkrug hopes the basketball players will be much improved.
“Basically, we lost about everybody,” Fahrenkrug said. “The key players are going to be young kids.
“This is a great bunch of basketball players,” he added. “It’s one of the better bunches we’ve had. It will just take a while to get them playing at the varsity level and get them used to the action.”
Fahrenkrug lost six players to graduation off last year’s 10-12 (6-5 in conference) team. Two key seniors do return in Arnold Hernandez – probably the Rams’ best defensive player and quickest on the floor – and 6-foot-5 post Jon Lough. Hernandez, however, will miss the first five games due to a rules violation.
So, much of the onus falls to the younger players. While somewhat unproven on the court, there are some athletes in the group. Junior Dan Markoya and sophomore Aaron Markham both saw time at quarterback for the Rams in the fall and should be big parts of Roaring Fork basketball this winter.
Markoya will play in the two or three spot, while Markham is slated at the point.
“Basically, we’re going to be young, but we’ll be tough,” Fahrenkrug said. “It’s just going to take patience to allow us to grow a little bit. I think we’re going to sneak up on a lot of people.”
Roaring Fork plays Glenwood at 8 p.m. in the Brenda Patch Tournament Friday.
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