Rams to face Skiers in finals
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PALISADE ” Get ready for Aspen vs. Roaring Fork, Part Three.
This time the Skiers and Rams will meet in the Class 3A District 2 boys basketball final today at 5:30 p.m. at Palisade High School.
“We’re so psyched,” Roaring Fork senior Matthias Weissl said. “That’s all we’ve been talking about the last couple weeks, playing Aspen again.”
If today’s meeting is anything like the team’s two regular-season matchups ” both won by Aspen (18-2) in game’s decided by a combined six points ” then fans making the trip to Palisade should be in for a treat.
And both survived semifinal games on Thursday to get there.
Though they never fully shook the Cowboys (13-7) until the end, Roaring Fork (16-4) scored a comfortable 46-38 win over Gunnison.
Paced by Torrey Udall with 17 points and Weissl with 13, the second-seeded Rams kept the third-seeded Cowboys at arm’s distance most of the night, taking a 9-2 lead after a quarter and 18-11 lead at halftime.
Behind its 3-point prowess, Gunnison hung around in the second half, pulling to within six early in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys fired at a 7-for-21 clip for the game.
“You know, we played about as hard as we can,” Gunnison head coach Jake Stone said. “As always, we were undersized. We just played hard. Our outside shooting kept us in the game.”
Three of the Cowboys’ 3-pointers came from Cameron Nicholl, who finished with a team-high 10 points. Josh Finney and Kolby Pringle drained two 3s apiece and each finished with eight points.
Roaring Fork knows it’ll need a better effort to get past top-seeded Aspen.
“Tonight, we missed a lot of open layups,” Weissl said. “We can’t keep winning if we can’t make those shots.”
Skiers cruise past Coal Ridge
Behind 17 points from Cory Parker and 11 from Brian Westerlind, Aspen topped Coal Ridge 63-43 and earned a meeting with Roaring Fork in the district finals.
The Skiers came storming out of the gates at Palisade High School, taking a 39-19 halftime lead and, save a speed bump or two, never really looked back.
Alex Klein paced the Titans (13-7) with 14 points. Eric Schmitz chipped in with 11 for Coal Ridge, which moves on to face Gunnison in today’s third-place game.
Aspen’s win sets up the much-heralded showdown with Roaring Fork, something the fans and Skiers are looking forward to.
“This is a fan’s dream and a coach’s nightmare,” said Aspen coach Steve Ketchum, whose team has a 2-0 edge on the Rams in 2007-08. “We have to go up against one of the best defensive coaches in the state (Roaring Fork’s Roger Walters). They have a couple superstars and a bunch of great role players. We have to play hard and hope the kids make good decisions.”
Even though the Skiers did take down Roaring Fork twice in the regular season, they won’t be letting any false hope creep in against the team that, before this season, had won four straight 3A Western Slope League titles.
“It’s a huge rivalry,” Ketchum said. “They’ve been the kings of the mountain for four, five years now. The first two games we played them, we felt like we got up on the mountain with them. Now we’re standing up there together. Now we’ll see if we can get that knockout punch.”
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