Rams wrap up perfect season
GSPI Sports Editor
CARBONDALE ” Roaring Fork beat its archrival Basalt to cap an undefeated season Friday night, but it seemed like just another day at the office for the Rams’ players and coaches.
There was no excessive celebration following the 55-42 Class 3A Western Slope League defeat of Basalt, just the normal meeting at center court and quick salute to the fans before trotting off to the locker room.
“It’s nothing less than we expected,” said Jake Boyle, one of four seniors honored prior to the game. “Every game we have to outwork (the other team). That’s all there is to it.”
“Rebound and play ‘D’, that’s all we need to do,” added Tommy Joiner.
And the players know there’s more work to do. Roaring Fork must win the upcoming district tournament to ensure home-court advantage in the regional rounds of the state tournament.
Point guard Aaron Markham paced the Demons Friday against Basalt in a typical workmanlike effort by the Rams. The sophomore posted a game-high 15 points, while also keeping the entire team active as the Class 3A assists leader distributed the ball to help six players get in the scoring column.
“Aaron has been in the zone all year and just a joy to come watch,” Roaring Fork head coach Roger Walters said. “I just hope he doesn’t wake up.”
After trailing for much of the first four minutes of the first quarter, the Rams took over in the second part of the frame before Markham nailed a jumper in the closing seconds for a 16-9 advantage at the end of the stanza.
The Rams extended their lead to 40-28 by the end of the half, forcing Basalt to try a new tack in the third quarter.
With Roaring Fork up 43-33 with more than 21⁄2 minutes remaining in the third the Rams were able to play for the last shot. Basalt didn’t come out to force the Rams to play offensively, and Roaring Fork players simply held the ball at the top of the key and watched the clock tick down.
The tactic worked ” to a point.
The Rams’ Dan Markoya scored at the buzzer off a nice out-of-bounds save from Christian Tena, but it was only the second field goal of the frame for Roaring Fork.
The Longhorns held Roaring Fork to one of its lowest quarters this season, but the delay tactic didn’t help Basalt cut into the lead. The Longhorns never got closer than 11 in the fourth quarter.
Along with Markham, Markoya finished in double figures with 14 points. Ben Pollock paced Basalt with 10 points.
Roaring Fork (14-0 WSL, 19-0 overall) has the top seed in the double-elimination district tournament and hosts Olathe (0-14, 0-19) Tuesday night. Basalt (5-9, 5-14) is the sixth seed and travels to No. 3 Aspen (9-5, 11-8) for its tournament opener Tuesday.
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