Rams split with Panthers in 3A WSL tilt
The Roaring Fork girls hung close throughout most of the game on Saturday afternoon in Carbondale, before a fourth-quarter run by the visiting Delta Panthers (13-4, 6-1 WSL) spelled the difference in a hard-fought 56-48 loss for the Rams in a nonconference battle between two teams who figure to be primed for success when the 3A district tournament opens in two weeks.
After one quarter of play, the Rams were right in the thick of things with the Panthers, who have dropped only one Western Slope League game on the season. Getting baskets from Gabriela Santana, Emily Broadhurst, Kendall Bernot, and two baskets in the lane from sophomore Caroline Wisroth, Roaring Fork trailed only 13-12 after eight minutes had expired. Delta scored seven of their points from the free throw line during that span.
It was a tale of two scoring runs in the second quarter as the Rams went on a 9-0 burst after falling behind 17-12. Scrappy junior guard Logan Erickson hit a 3-pointer, Santana scored on two inside bank shots, and Broadhurst collected an errant Panther pass and raced in for a layup as the Rams were back in the game.
Delta responded in a hurry on initial baskets by Keely Porter and talented post player Sara Geddes to fuel a 7-0 Panther run that tied the game at 23 as the teams went to rest at intermission.
Geddes, Porter, and Aubrey Jones scored for Delta to put the visitors up 29-28 at the midway point of the third, but Erickson responded with two 3-pointers to keep Roaring Fork hot on the trail of the Panthers.
Getting key rebounds at opportune times, and using a relentless full-court press to get inside baskets, Delta was able to go up 47-40 with 4:09 to go in the contest as the Rams looked to be tiring a bit.
“Turnovers late definitely hurt us,” Roaring Fork Head Coach Jade Bath said. “But I was proud of how we bounced back after a tough game last night and played hard down the stretch.”
Geddes ended the game with 18 points for Delta, but Roaring Fork’s Santana, who garnered 15 points of her own, battled hard in the paint all night to help keep her team in contention.
“The tough competition really makes me work hard,” Santana said. “If I’m up against a good player, I know I need to try my best to stop her.”
Santana and Erickson led the Rams in scoring at 15 points each, with Broadhurst contributing 7 points.
The Rams (9-7, 3-4 WSL) will stay in the nonconference mode when they will make a trip up the interstate Tuesday to face Vail Christian.
ROARING FORK 60, DELTA 48
Without fail each year, veteran Roaring Fork coach Larry Williams manages to guide his Rams into the thick of conference and state playoff contention. This winter has been no exception to the rule as Roaring Fork (14-2, 5-1 WSL) defended their home court well, recording a 60-48 nonconference win against the Delta Panthers Saturday evening.
Racing out to a quick 22-12 lead on a perimeter jumper by junior guard Ronald Clemente, the Rams took a 36-29 halftime advantage behind the scoring contributions of senior guard Justin Thompson (15 points), junior post Joe Salinas (9 points), and junior guard Oscar Miranda (7 points). A 24-point first quarter helped the Rams establish their lead at the halfway mark of the game.
Delta came out strong in the third quarter as Logan Freed, who ended the game with 20 points to lead the Panthers, got a quick basket and guard Jaspar Carmichael hit a bucket inside to pull Delta to within 36-33 at the 5:22 mark of the quarter, forcing Williams to call a timeout to talk to his Rams.
Irving Anchondo and Mikel Mayo both hit 3-pointers for Roaring Fork to account for the Rams only scoring in the third period as the home team continued to hold on for a 42-37 lead entering the fourth quarter.
It was time for Miranda to come to the rescue for Roaring Fork, as he would score an inside basket following a free throw by Thompson.
Miranda, benefiting from the quick ball movement on the perimeter by the Rams, got open to hit a couple of 3-pointers. Thompson scored on a drive to the basket and Anchondo found himself wide open for a layup to give the Rams room to breathe at 55-44 with 1:32 left to play, and they would never look back.
Thompson and Miranda tied for scoring honors with 18 points each. Salinas had 9 points and Anchondo dropped in 7 points.
Roaring Fork will face the Vail Christian Saints on the road Tuesday evening in Vail in nonconference action.