Rams sweep Skiers on Senior Night in Carbondale
Paying tribute to seniors Justin Thompson and Irving Anchondo, the Roaring Fork boys sealed up another successful season at home with a 61-47 victory against the Aspen Skiers on Saturday in Carbondale.
It was Thompson who started out hot, scoring the Rams’ first seven points of the game. Aspen kept things close, though, as they would take a 15-14 lead on two inside baskets by Nick Willson near the end of the first quarter.
A 6-0 run to start the second quarter, fueled by a 3-pointer and a layup from junior guard Oscar Miranda and a basket by junior Joe Salinas, helped point Roaring Fork in the right direction with a 23-15 lead.
Guard Ronald Clemente had nice assists on all of those scoring plays as the Rams held a 32-26 lead at halftime.
Salinas, who finished the contest with 17 rebounds, got a basket to start the third, as did Thompson.
Sam Kahn answered for Aspen with a 3-pointer, but Thompson came back with a spin move and the basket as Roaring Fork stayed steady with a 45-35 lead entering the fourth.
Anchondo hit a 3-pointer and Miranda scored on a back-door layup off of an assist from Salinas to help put the game on ice for the Rams.
Happiness was spelled out across the faces of Thompson and Anchondo on the Senior Night win, but their thoughts had already turned to what’s at stake in next week’s district tourney.
“We need to just worry about each game in a row now,” Thompson said. “It all starts on Tuesday.”
“To win districts would mean more than anything we have done to this point. We’ve worked hard to get here,” Anchondo said.
Head Coach Larry Williams echoed the sentiments of his two senior leaders.
“It’s been a great season,” Williams said. “But what we work for is the district tournament.”
As usual, the Rams featured scoring contributions from many players as Thompson dropped in 20 points, with Salinas matching his rebound total with 17 points. Miranda had 10 points and Clemente hit for 8 points.
Roaring Fork (17-2, 8-1 WSL) finishes the regular season as the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament, which begins on Monday evening at home sites.
ROARING FORK 42, ASPEN 10
The Roaring Fork girls’ basketball team honored their lone senior, Megan Nieslanik, prior to Saturday afternoon’s home game against the Aspen Skiers, then jumped out quickly to leads of 10-0 at the end of the first quarter and 23-4 at halftime, to put things on cruise control to post a 42-10 Western Slope Conference win.
The big contributors for the Rams in the first half were a pair of juniors as guard Logan Erickson swished home four 3-pointers, while forward Kendall Bernot scored four baskets from a variety of spots on the court as Roaring Fork distanced themselves from the visitors early on.
Aspen, a one-win team on the season, playing a group that is made up primarily of freshmen and sophomores, got its first basket from Lexi Ferlisi with 4:46 to go until intermission to get the Skiers on the scoreboard.
The Rams’ active zone defense was able to limit Aspen’s looks at the basket, and Roaring Fork was equally as active on the boards to minimize Skier attempts on the offensive end.
Junior post Gabriela Santana got going in the third quarter for the Rams, scoring two inside baskets as Nieslanik hit a couple free throws, and Bernot scored again in the paint before the starters gave way to the bench players to finish the lopsided contest.
With 52.7 seconds left to play, Nieslanik came off the court for the last time with a smile and received a standing ovation from the Roaring Fork bench.
“It felt like my birthday for a second,” Nieslanik said. “Everyone was cheering and it felt weird that it was my last game at home. I still can’t believe it.”
With the regular season now in the books, Roaring Fork Head Coach Jade Bath will now look to next week’s district tournament.
“Coming off of last night [a narrow 30-27 loss at league-leading Cedaredge], we’ve proven to ourselves that we can play with anyone in the league,” Bath said.
Erickson led Roaring Fork (11-8, 4-5 WSL) scoring with 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Bernot had a solid game with 10 points.
Santana and Nieslanik put up 8 and 6 points, respectively.